In an email sent to AAdvantage members this afternoon, American Airlines has officially announced new meal service guidelines for First Class effective September 1, 2014. These changes were speculated previously, but have now been confirmed:
As previously thought, the American First Class meal service will change according to the distance of the flight, with some exceptions:
American describes the exception routes as some of their most “popular,” but in reality, it’s the routes they face the most competition on. Do you think Dallas to Salt Lake City is really one of their most popular routes? No. They continue to offer meal service, because SLC is a hub for Delta, and they want to stay competitive on the routing for those who visit Salt Lake City, or call it home.
American’s A321T transcontinental meal service will stay the same, and meal service to and from Hawaii will vary depending on the arrival/departure point.
I think the FlyerTalk forum on this explains the changes succinctly, so in the interest of trying to avoid reinventing the wheel, here is the copied posting from there:
Shared on Monday, August 4th, was a more detailed explanation of what the combined meal service would look like beginning September 1.
- No plated meals uner 1,000 miles or 2:45 mins, there are some exceptions like DFW-ORD, DFW-DTW, etc…
- Eagle will no longer serve a plated meal but will switch to snack boxes
- No warm mixed nuts under 1,000 miles or 2:45 mins
- Transcon redeyes except for AFS (American Flagship Service) will not get meals; instead, a snack basket will be handed out at the beginning and a continental breakfast box will be handed out prior to arrival
- Flights 1 to 2 hours that previously received mixed nuts, will now receive a basket of savory and sweet snacks for customers to choose.
- Flights 2 hours – 2 hours and 45 minutes that previously received traditional meal service, will now receive a Lite Bites basket, offering a variety of options appropriate to corresponding departure time that includes fresh fruit, breakfast cakes, tea sandwiches and sweet or savory snacks.
- Flights 2 hours and 45 minutes – 3 hours and 30 minutes will receive warm mixed nuts as a beverage accompaniment (during lunch and dinner hours), a salad, entrée, bread basket and warmed onboard cookie for dessert.
- Flights 3 hours and 30 minutes – 4 hours and 30 minutes will receive warm mixed nuts as a beverage accompaniment (during lunch and dinner hours), an appetizer, salad, entrée, bread basket and pre-plated cake.
- Flights 4 hours and 30 minutes and longer will receive warm mixed nuts as a beverage accompaniment (during lunch and dinner hours), an appetizer, salad, entrée, bread basket, choice of ice cream or fruit & cheese dessert and a snack basket service prior to arrival. Long haul, non-AFS red-eye flights receive a snack basket as primary service and a continental breakfast box pre-arrival.
Additionally on Oct. 1, American Eagle and US Airways Express flights will follow these same meal time frames with some variations to the service. Flights between approximately 176 and 999 miles (about 1 hour to 2 hours and 45 minutes) will receive our snack basket and meal flights will feature a chilled gourmet boxed meal. Some of our most popular regional flights between approximately 700 and 999 miles (about 2 hours and 2 hours and 45 minutes) will also receive a chilled gourmet boxed meal.
The US Airways meals webpage (link below) has been updated to reflect this information.
There was also a chart shown that displayed exceptions to the new 1,000mi threshold. The chart shows what the meal schedule would look like on flights that fell under 1,000mi and were exempted from the cutoff.
5am – 9pm: one-step breakfast
9:01am – 3pm: two-step lunch
3:01pm – 4pm: beverages with evening Lite Bites basket
4:01pm – 7:59pm: two-step dinner
8pm – 4:59am: beverages with evening Lite Bites basket
Here are the specific exceptions, by hub:
DFW: DTW, SLC, ORD
JFK: FLL, MCO, TPA
MIA: IAH, PAP
ORD: BOS, DCA, DEN, JFK, LGA, RDU, DFW
Flights above will still receive meal service, despite being under 1,000mi, based on the above meal schedule. Only flights between 3-4pm, as well as flights after 8pm, will not receive meal service on those exception flights.
In all, I’m not a fan of the changes, as one of the things I thought set American apart from the rest of the industry was their legacy First Class meal service. The warm nuts, hot fudge sundaes, and meals on shorter flights did in fact complete the experience, and is one of the reasons I moved from Delta to American (I know, I know…). I’ll miss the meal times they are cutting out, but to avoid being Negative Nancy, there are some improvements to the mix as well.
What do you think of the changes?
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