On April 1 American reintroduced linens in domestic first class for short and medium haul flights. That’s been reported elsewhere.
The good news is that American isn’t done making changes to their meal service, and addressing the areas that have gotten significant customer feedback (like the cookies…).
I think we have three things coming together:
- Strong airline financial performance in light of lower fuel costs
- Competitive pressure (e.g. United improving its meal service, with a report from the frontlines.)
- American responding to customer and flight attendant feedback
Fortunately, there are several changes coming to American’s domestic first class inflight catering effective May 1.
They appear to be improving things that customers have been least fond of, like the sandwiches included in the snack basket.
The Return of Entrée Salads!
Meal flights between 2 hours 45 minutes (1000 miles) and 4.5 hours get a new lunch option: entrée salad, which were popular on American up through last August.
American Airlines Shrimp Salad (2011),
courtesy One Mile at a Time
There will be four different types of salad in the rotation, served in casserole dish, with three different proteins served in a small bowl on the side. The options will be chicken, shrimp, and beef.
This gives a healthier option at lunch, and gives passengers a choice to have just the salad if they prefer.
Real Plated Snacks Instead of Shrink Wrapped Sandwiches
The ‘PM Lite Bites’ will no longer be the basket of sandwiches, cookies, bananas and the like.
Instead we get a light snack presented on china with proper napkin and flatware, something that reminds me of what American used to offer prior to last September.
- Flights between 2 and 2.5 hours (700 – 899 miles) get warm nuts and these new plated snacks instead of nuts and the snack basket
- Flights between 2.5 hours and 2 hours 45 minutes (900 – 999 miles) and shorter ‘exception markets’ get warm nuts and these new plated snacks instead of nuts and the snack basket between 1:31pm and 4:00pm [in other words, outside of the window where these flights get meals].
- Flights between 2 and 4.5 hours (700 miles – 2199 miles) get warm nuts and cookies after 8pm instead of snack baskets. They still get meals during existing meal times.
- Flights over 4.5 hours (2200+ miles) after 8pm including redeyes get warmed nuts and these new snacks (instead of the basket) and continue to get the pre-arrival continental box.
No meals are being cut with these changes.
New Snack Examples:
- Fruit & cheese (eg grapes + cheese slices, crackers)
- Spinach dip + pita
- Charcuterie plate (salami, mozzarella ball, olives, pita)
- Hummus + pita
- Spinach + hummus
These will generally be served along with a garnish.
The only piece of this change that isn’t an unequivocal positive – though will nonetheless be favored by many flyers — is the replacement of the snack basket with American’s chocolate chip cookie and nuts (but not the new plated snacks) on flights after 8pm that are shorter than 4.5 hours, for instance your late Dallas – Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles flights.
I’m told there should be more improvements coming, that the May changes won’t be it. Are you happy to see entree salads coming back, and the PM lite bites basket of packaged snacks replaced with plated snacks?