3 Notable Experiences Flying American Airlines on Monday

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American’s food service in its clubs has really been boosted, and perceptions of their club experience should be upgraded as a result. Onboard I got a predeparture beverage, and that’s actually notable. And I tried a special meal at breakfast for the first time, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be the passport to a great inflight meal the way it is at lunch and dinner.

Avocado Toast in the Admirals Club

I’ve made fun of American’s attempt to be hipster but the addition of Avocado Toast to many of their clubs in the mornings is great. It’s tasty, and a substantive complimentary food option.

Sure someone must have invested heavily in avocado futures given the afternoon made to order guacamole they serve. But with this in addition to testing even more new food options in Phoenix, Houston, and Chicago they’re serving food at least on part with Delta (maybe better) and definitely better than United in its clubs.

This is from the C concourse club at Dallas Fort-Worth.

And this underscores just how good a deal the premium American Airlines Citibank card is. Not only does this $450 card come with Admirals Club membership, but authorized users have no annual fee and those users can access American’s lounges too and they get to bring in two guests each. (You can add up to 10 authorized users.)

I use the card for the 10,000 elite qualifying miles I earn each year after spending $40,000 on the card. And the card more than ‘pays for itself’ in the first year with the initial bonus.

Predeparture Beverages — From a Legacy American Crew

I tweet my frustrations with travel, so it’s only fair I call it when American gets one right.

American Airlines believes the two things that drive customer satisfaction scores are predeparture beverages and addressing customers by name.

However it’s a rarity when legacy American Airlines flight crews offer drinks prior to pushback. And with the airline’s focus on exact on time departures it’s become culturally acceptable to shrink on everything else, combined with the airline’s unwillingness to upset employees by asking them to work there’s little they’ve been willing to do to actually push for predeparture service.

So it’s notable and a tribute to the crews that do it anyway knowing that there’s no reward to them for doing so, and no consequence if they don’t.

Trying a Special Meal for Breakfast

American’s kosher meals are really good. At least for lunch and dinner I’ve yet to have a bad special meal yet. So I’m pretty much always pre-ordering special meals whenever I’m confirmed in domestic first class at least 24 hours prior to departure.

A couple of weeks ago I was supposed to take the morning Austin – Philadelphia flight and finally try a kosher meal for breakfast. I wound up flying through DFW instead and in coach, so I didn’t have the change.

On a morning Dallas – Washington National flight though I was finally able to try breakfast. Breakfast is the meal US airlines do the worst job with generally I think, and that’s truly saying something, so I had hopes that ordering a special meal would be better.

Unfortunately the kosher meal at breakfast turned out to be… eggs, fruit, and pastries. The flight attendant brought out my wrapped tray, told me I’d need to unwrap it, and then he’d bring out the entree.

He forgot. I waited all the way through the end of pretty much everyone’s service when I finally asked for the entree and they brought it right out.

Now I do have to say that the eggs looked a bit better than the ones on my seat opponent’s tray (he hadn’t pre-ordered). And the fruit was riper than I’m used to on American at breakfast, although it’s been packaged in shrink wrap for awhile and the juices from the different fruits mixed in the bottom of the tray so my pineapple tasted a bit like grapefruit. Still, the overall quality was marginally better than if I hadn’t pre-ordered I thought.

Unfortunately it looks like – from this sample size of one – that pre-ordering the kosher meal at least for breakfast isn’t a ticket to a much better meal the way it seems to be in the afternoon.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Are you sure you got a complete kosher meal I’ve never seen one with the entrées or separately

  2. No avocado toast for me. My last two early morning flights from DFW have been out of Terminal D (International) but flying Domestic. They will not allow you to access the Admirals Club in Terminal D, even if you are a member, unless flying international. It is too inconvenient to run over to Terminal B or C when you only have an hour before your flight. The 7 AM DFW-SFO leaves from D almost every morning and my wife has the same issue weekly. As paid Admirals Club members I feel we are getting short-changed.

  3. Crews are not allowed to open a Kosher meal without the permission of the passenger. that’s why it was still wrapped when you received it. sometimes there’s a reason for strange things that happen. If you’d like you meal unwrapped you could ask the Flight Attendant if they would do that for you.

  4. The Admirals Club in D at DFW is closed for a major makeover. That’s why they provide temporary alternate limited access.

  5. Gary, for the past several months I have noticed much more frequent PDBs on AA. It’s been a big improvement.

  6. Fresh fruit and pastry with expiration date in Jan 2019? Stuffed with kosher chemicals?
    I’ve only tried kosher meal (lunch) on Malaysia Airlines or Cathay once many years ago, quite tasty but came with one year long expiry – never again, thank you.

  7. Gary – Kashrut laws prohibit the FA from unwrapping your food. If the FA does, it is no longer Kosher. While you may not care, someone who is keeping Kosher certainly would. Your post makes it sound like the FA is not doing their job, which is not the case in this situation. You may want to edit to clarify that point.

  8. @TheJetsFan – I wasn’t complaining and I’m well aware they’re not supposed to unwrap it. I was simply sharing that they forgot to bring me the entree 🙂

  9. Or, Gary, you could not eat the avocado toast then afford to buy a house.

    At least that’s what I was told by a baby boomer.

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