Hot Meals Returning To American Airlines First Class

Hot Meals Returning To American Airlines First Class

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It’s finally happening — after cutting back service at the start of the pandemic, American Airlines will finally be bringing back hot meals in first class on more flights as of next week.

American improving meal service starting February 16

American Airlines will significantly be improving service in first class starting next week, including improved meal services, pre-departure drinks, and more.

Here’s what we can expect in terms of the timeline for improved meals being rolled out:

  • Starting February 16, 2022, hot meal service returns on flights of 3.5 hours or more, with a choice of a protein or vegetarian entree, paired with an appetizer, salad, and dessert
  • Later in February, customers traveling on flights that are 2.5-3.5 hours will be able to select from fresh, lighter meal offerings like smoked salmon, fruit & cheese, and entree salads
  • This spring, American will introduce “an even more elevated” meal service for customers traveling on longer domestic flights, though exact details haven’t yet been revealed

There are some other first class service updates beyond that, including about pre-departure drinks, special meals, and the ability to pre-order meals:

  • As of February 16, 2022, pre-departure beverages will be returning to first class
  • As of April 2022, it’ll once again be possible to pre-order meals in domestic first class
  • As of May 2022, it’ll be possible to request special meals, with options including Asian, vegetarian, diabetic, Hindu, Kosher, gluten intolerant, Muslim, and vegan

Here’s how the new dining options are described:

It’s not just about the destination. It’s how you indulge along the way. Starting Feb. 16, relax and unwind with the new American Airlines domestic first class dining menu that will rollout throughout the month. The dining experience will feature classic customer favorites like mixed nuts, charcuterie, and short rib in addition to new healthy food choices like grain bowls, heart-healthy entrée salads. Meals will be served on one tray followed by dessert service.

Below are a few pictures of the hot meals that American will soon be serving on flights of over 3.5 hours.

American Airlines first class tortellini
American Airlines first class short rib
American Airlines first class short rib

Meanwhile below are some pictures of the meals we can soon expect on flights of 2.5-3.5 hours.

American Airlines first class entree salad
American Airlines first class grain bowl
American Airlines first class smoked salmon
American Airlines first class charcuterie plate

Bye bye turkey pastrami sandwich?

It’s great that American Airlines will bring back more substantial meals in first class. For the past couple of years, American has only been serving hot meals in first class on transcon flights and longer, so it’s nice to see more substantial meals being introduced on shorter flights.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thrilled to see that we’ll get to enjoy something other than the current revolting options, including the “turkey pastrami” sandwich and the “pimento cheese” sandwich.

American Airlines first class turkey sandwich
American Airlines first class cheese sandwich

While this is no doubt an improvement, manage your expectations. The meals are highly unlikely to look anything like they do in the media images. American’s hot meals were only borderline edible pre-pandemic, and I can’t imagine they’ll be much better now either.

Personally I’m more excited about the healthier options, including grain bowls and entree salads.

Bottom line

American Airlines will finally be improving its first class service, as the airline will bring back pre-departure drinks and hot meals on flights of over 3.5 hours as of February 16, 2022. Later in February we can expect improved meals on flights of 2.5-3.5 hours.

I wouldn’t expect a whole lot here, but if this marks the end of the turkey pastrami sandwich, I sure am a happy camper.

To compare American to other airlines, United brought back hot meals in the summer of 2021, and Alaska brought back hot meals shortly thereafter. Delta recently announced it would bring back hot meals on more flights as well, but that’ll only start as of March 1, 2022, so American is beating Delta to the punch.

What do you make of American bringing back hot meals in first class?

Conversations (32)
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  1. Just saying Guest

    This article has no truth to it and it should be retracted. First class no longer has pre flight drinks, no longer has silverware, no longer has hot food, no longer has pillows, blankets, you have to ask yourself why first class anymore except for extra room in seat that is actual normal size. Just saying

    1. Fabian Guest

      This is really a downgrade bc it appears hot meals will only be served on flights 3.5 hours or longer and before it was flights 2.5 hours or longer. So now a typical 3 hour flight will be stuck between “lighter” meals options that are usually cold. Per the norm, this is a downgrade masquerading as something great.

  2. Terry Guest

    This is completely false I am sitting on a first class flight from philly to kc and the only thing good is the seat. You get a snack and a drink.

  3. Mike Tang Guest

    Can the author or someone else please cite the source for this information so that passengers can print it out and hand out copies to the flight attendants who still refuse to provide pre-departure beverages on flights meeting the requirements?

    1. Just saying Guest

      You are right it is inaccurate

    2. Alisha Guest

      100% they are not providing the pre-departure beverage. Just had two international flights with nothing offered prior to departure. They stated they were not able to provide pre-departure beverages.

  4. Jorge Paez Guest

    So now they will heat up the spaghetti O's from the can.....

  5. Joy Guest

    I am delighted American is offering something decent to it's highest paying customers. We now have something to look forward to going coast to coast.

  6. Brandon Guest

    A welcome development for sure. During the pandemic I've routed well out of the way to fly on AA's Flagship routes for trips to the East Coast, as there's nothing worse than arriving at 11:45 pm hungry.

    I must say that the transcon flagship service has been very good lately - glassware and the PDB have been back for awhile, along with genuinely good food and wine choices. Add in the Flagship lounges and FF...

    A welcome development for sure. During the pandemic I've routed well out of the way to fly on AA's Flagship routes for trips to the East Coast, as there's nothing worse than arriving at 11:45 pm hungry.

    I must say that the transcon flagship service has been very good lately - glassware and the PDB have been back for awhile, along with genuinely good food and wine choices. Add in the Flagship lounges and FF dining, and I've not had any complaints flying F or J on American in quite a long time.

  7. Cosmo Guest

    I'm surprised it's cheaper to have a whole subset of meals just for the 2.5h-3.5h category.

    But more importantly, it's fucked that special meals aren't avaialble at the same time as normal meals, as someone with a food allergy.

  8. John Guest

    Let's be really honest here -- who is actually eating "short ribs" on American Airlines? Beyond disgusting. Just because it's free doesn't mean you have to scarf it down.

  9. DC Guest

    Pre-COVID, I seem to recall it was hot meals on flights longer than 2.5 hours (it was essentially any flight longer than ~800 miles from memory). It covered all of the flights I took ex DFW to Southern California and South Florida.

    So by only bringing hot meals back for flights longer than 3.5 hours, it still feels like a downgrade.

  10. omaat28422 New Member

    What about business class? (DFW to HNL)

  11. Steven E Guest

    I would defy anyone able to show what the “real” meal looks like when plonked down in front of you - and a pre-departure drink in a plastic cup - Definitely NOT first class

  12. Luke Guest

    Wish they’d bring back hot meals in first from DCA to ORD which I think used to be a special exception for this biz route

  13. Vasco Guest

    But will you be allowed to eat them without having a flight attendant threatening you with arrest for not putting your mask back on between bites?

  14. Willem Guest

    Granted it was on SFO - JFK, twice last month I had phenomenal meals in AA business class. As a new AS elite member, I'm still (maybe foolishly) excited about these returning offerings as the upgrades continue to roll in...

  15. Brodie Member

    Transcon meals have been rather decent the past couple of months. I'm more optimistic about the food improvements than I am about the pre-departure beverage service execution.

  16. Jerry Diamond

    The big benefit to LUS flyers after the merger was they got meals on shorter flights as 3.5 was the US Airways minimum for meals. It looks like we're back to that.

  17. jak Member

    Looks like American has finally started to throw in the towel on trying to leverage the pandemic to drastically "change the norm" when the other carriers decided not to play ball. Wish other companies would do the same (looking at you Disney).

    1. Alonzo Diamond

      Doesn't look to be stopping Disney much as they just reported record breaking earnings lol. Quickly approaching 1 billion lifetime visitors.

  18. Reno Joe Guest

    Hot food has been back in both international and transcon Flagship First for a while now -- several months.

  19. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

    Better than UA’s offerings, that’s for sure!

  20. uldguy Diamond

    Yay! The charcuterie plate is coming back. That’s my favorite AA domestic meal.

  21. Mark Andrew Guest

    Anything that tracks with a return to normalcy, whether in the air or on the ground, should be welcome by all. So many businesses have gotten away with "COVID" as an excuse to reduce service that it's good to see the pendulum swinging in the other direction. Let's hope the flight attendant unions don't throw a fit over this.

  22. RetiredATLATC Gold

    Unrelated question.

    Coming off DOH-PHL in J, with a first class onward on AA to ATL, do I have lounge access before my flight to ATL?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ RetiredATLATC -- You sure do!

    2. RetiredATLATC Guest

      Thank you @Ben

  23. Chris Guest

    Lower expectations: good food doesn’t move

  24. Greg Guest

    Good start now time to reverse the fewer touch points downgrades of Flagship Biz and First. If staffing not health is the issue then staff up.

    1. Jtc Guest

      Nice To see AA trying to improve first class service. The pre flight beverage seems useless to me
      It was nice. Last flight from CLT to DFW, FA denied me a 3rd beverage saying new rules only allows two beverages?

    2. Richard Guest

      Never heard of that “rule.” Your FA made that up. I still haven’t gotten a preflight beverage. However, glasses and real plates and silverware along with meals are back for American flights, but not American Eagle flights.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Vasco Guest

But will you be allowed to eat them without having a flight attendant threatening you with arrest for not putting your mask back on between bites?

2
Alonzo Diamond

Doesn't look to be stopping Disney much as they just reported record breaking earnings lol. Quickly approaching 1 billion lifetime visitors.

1
uldguy Diamond

Yay! The charcuterie plate is coming back. That’s my favorite AA domestic meal.

1
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