London Heathrow is the most premium air market in the world. International first class is a step beyond business class, the most premium commercial airline product in the world.
American Airlines is the only U.S. airline that still offers international first class. Delta and United have business as their top product.
I’ve written recently about how expensive international first class can be. For instance here’s a sample on the Los Angeles – London Heathrow route pricing at more than $16,500 roundtrip.
American’s service doesn’t really compete well in that cabin. But what about the meals?
American isn’t known for its inflight cuisine. I find their first class meals to be very business class. However I’m still shocked at what they’re offering as second meal service departing London Heathrow: a chorizo hot dog.
Credit: American Airlines
Here’s detail on the two second meal choices for London Heathrow Westbound flights in first class where the hot dog is offered (‘cycle 1’), and how the service is provided:
Air New Zealand was well known for hot dogs in business class lounges, it’s a certain comfort food and kitsch. But that’s one option of many on the ground, for business class passengers. This is international first class, not a ballpark.
Air New Zealand Lounge Hot Dogs, Sydney
I asked American Airlines about the decision to serve a hot dog in international first class, and spokesperson Susannah Wesley-Ahlschwede shared,
This has been flying onboard since 2017 and is popular with our First Class customers, consistently receiving high marks. This was designed by one of our former celebrity Chefs, Mark Seargeant, created around the time BubbleDogs in LHR was a craze.
When United Airlines replace steak with a gourmet cheeseburger at lunch on domestic cross country flights a couple of decades ago, that was controversial. It was a pretty good cheeseburger. And it was domestic. How far have we fallen that American Airlines considers a hot dog to be a meal in international first class rather than the top off to a good Costco run?
And if it’s “consistently receiving high marks” that seems the ultimate example of what George W. Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
I often can’t figure out whether American Airlines is trying. On the one hand they serve food that may be fine in business class as Flagship First.
At the same time they are trialing using two jet bridges to board their Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at Hong Kong, with the L1 door just for crew and first class. Do they want first class to be exclusive and special, or a ballpark experience? It seems to me they need to decide.