American Airlines IMPROVES First Class Meal Standards!

American Airlines previously announced new First Class meal standards, effectively brining American Airline’s service standards down, and US Airways service standards up

I wrote a few weeks ago about speculation that the First Class meal experience would in fact be improving, and that the “exception markets” American had named were broader than originally announced. It turns out, some of this is now true.

I’m really passionate about food standards on airlines. Yes, I know much of the food is inedible and not as good on the ground. However, dining in the sky is an experience, and sometimes it’s necessary based upon tight schedules, delays and other mishaps.

Gary, from View from the Wing, announced this weekend new and improved standards going into affect soon, all based upon the feedback flyers have been giving to the airline.

According to the post on Facebook in an AAdvantage specific group, 70% of the complaints American received in the month of September were based upon the new meal standards. This isn’t surprising. At the recent Frequent Traveler University Advanced in Chicago, I had the chance to speak with an American Airlines Customer Service Supervisor who reiterated this fact, and admitted that most of the complaints he receives on a daily basis were because of the Sept 1. service standards. It looks like American was bombarded with complaints, and they’ve heard flyers loud and clear.

Now, to be forward, the new changes announced don’t bring American back to their old ways. Instead they improve upon the new standards.

Let’s take a look.

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Additional “exception markets” added.

  • Chicago to Austin
  • Washington Reagan/Washington Dulles to Miami
  • Dallas to Mexico City

I’m really happy about this change, as a DC flyer. I recently flew to Miami several times from the DC area and was not impressed with the new snack basket. From my home base in DC, this means that flights connecting through Chicago, Dallas and now Miami, during meal times, will be served meals. This is a huge win for Washington DC based flyers who connect through American’s hub cities.

Flights longer than 2 hours will feature a warmed nut mix.

This was a signature American item, and I am unsure why they ever took it away. Finally, it’s back.

Improved snack basket sandwiches.

On flights that receive the light-bites snack basket, new sandwiches will be offered. I was never a fan of the chicken curry or japapeno cream cheese offerings, so this is a great new addition. The current sandwiches were so small and skimpy you had to eat like 10 of them just to be somewhat close to a meal.

Sundaes added on dinner flights 3:30 hours or longer.

Again, another American standard that was taken away for a reason I can’t say why. So, now on dinner service flights of 3 hours and 30 minutes or more, you can load up on your favorite calorie-hoarding ice cream and topping. 🙂

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I’m really excited about these changes, and am proud to see American listening to it’s customers feedback. I hope they realize that they are the airline everyone is watching, now that the other legacy carriers have devalued their programs, and that anything they do negative to the customer will be taken more harshly than before.

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Here’s the statement from American Airlines, as Gary reported on View from the Wing:

We will be adjusting meal tray service to flights of about 2:30 hours; we will also maintain tray service on exception markets as previously announced and add additional markets to include ORD-AUS; DCA/IAD-MIA and DFW-MEX.

On flights of about 2:00 to 2:30 hours, we will offer warmed mixed nuts in addition to a redesigned snack basket containing only a choice of higher quality sandwiches, Milano cookies and bananas. On early morning flights, the basket will be adjusted to include breakfast-type breads, fig bars, apples and bananas.

Another important change will be the reinstatement of ice-cream dessert service on dinner flights of about 3:30 hours or more. This was a signature element of American’s service and we are bringing it back to match the prior standard.

We are working to implement these changes as soon as we can. We expect to add tray service to the additional exception markets beginning October 16. All other changes will occur in phases beginning November 1.

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