American Airlines Has Started Figuring Out How to Do Breakfast

I don’t think American’s domestic meal service is very good. In fact that’s an understatement. I don’t think United’s is very good, but American’s is worse.

One area where US airlines are consistently bad across the board is breakfast. For instance, I just can’t bring myself to eat this on American:

A simple way to think about better breakfast is to think brunch. That opens up a whole new world of possibility beyond reheated scrambled eggs or omelettes, granola or oatmeal.

The funny thing is that American actually does do better on its regional jets of all things. They serve cold meals, no reheated eggs or mystery sandwiches.

How about a bagel and lox, with a cinnamon roll and fruit?

I do have some constructive suggestions even for the bagel and lox. I grew up in New York, after all.

  • The bagel should be bigger.
  • And a couple of slices of tomato would help. You can’t have everything, personally I’d even trade the capers for the tomato if I must.
  • The onions should be raw, not drowned in some kind of lemon or vinegar.
  • And if I were reaching for the stars the bagels would be fresh. A fresh bagel doesn’t need to be toasted, this bagel could have used toasting (note: not overheating in an oven)

But it’s a big improvement, no onboard oven required. Why not offer this mainline?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. American is clueless with catering quality onboard
    They may have a decent future catering to hospitals ,disaster areas or feeding the homeless but not the traveling public in premium cabins
    Being I rarely fly them I suppose it doesn’t matter

  2. eating salmon/lox/nova on an AM flight before a business function is not particularly appealing. Does anyone have any idea why airlines serve so much smoked salmon?

  3. Bagels, like muffins, have grown to more-than-normal size. Respectfully disagree with you about “bigger” bagels too many carbs if larger.

  4. Don’t think there is any way to heat or toast the bagel on an AA regional jet – which is where if I understand your post correctly is where you were served the meal pictured – there’s no ovens.

  5. This is so easy if airlines and the FAs were willing to put a little thought and effort as they do at SQ. The best course would (as you allude to) start with the cold plate, and provide the FAs with Costco-type 6-packs of fresh bagels of various flavors (raisin, plain, onion, sesame would be a good start). Pass out the plates and then bring the bagels down the aisle as they now do with bread service. Eliminate the duplicative cinnamon roll and add yogurt (again diff. flavor choices) to the cold plate. Add hard boiled eggs (cold). So simple and yet apparently beyond the brainpower of airline management.

  6. Your title is misleading. American knows very well how to make breakfast, so there was nothing to “figure out” about it, other than rolling back another death-by-a-thousand-cost-cuts brain dead idea.

  7. Growing up in New York you probably know the proper way to slice smoked salmon: thin enough that you could lay a slice on the front page of the New York Times and still read the articles.

  8. Hi Gary,

    So may raw onions would raise a stink. Dousing them in lemon and / or vinegar helps keep control the smell to a certain degree.

  9. Gary

    When I lived in NYC, (over 23 years ago) I would stop by my local Bagel shop, buy a dozen mixed bagels with a tub of cream cheese (or 2) and hand to flight attendant when boarding (First Class) and I would advise

    bring me my Sesame and the rest are for you and crew

    Always got great service and MOST attendants appreciated

    Not sure this would work in today’s (security ) environment but those bagel were Great

    Sadly, I do not fly much anymore and rarely in the front

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