American Airlines suspended meal service on most flights in mid-March, retaining first class meals only on flights over 2200 miles (basically 4.5 hours). This was primarily cost cutting and it’s a decision the airline’s CEO didn’t even know about.
In what seemed like gradual good news, American recently introduced a fruit and cheese on flights in first class over 900 miles. However the latest change is that aside from premium cross country flights (New York – Los Angeles, San Francisco) and longer Hawaii flights (like Dallas – Honolulu) domestic flights over 2200 miles will no longer receive meal service and the same applies to close-in international flights, too. Long haul international premium cabins will still receive meals.
Flights like Philadelphia – Los Angeles and Seattle – Miami on American Airlines will no longer have meals in first class. An American Airlines spokesperson confirms,
There will be a small amount of flights, some Domestic and short-haul international flights over 2200 miles, that will receive the fruit & cheese plate in place of tray meal service. These flights will also have a follow on snack basket service before landing.
A strong inflight experience is even more important than ever. So few concessions are open in airports. Airlines are going to have to compete for business, with fewer passengers than there have been in recent years.
Times are tough for airlines. Upgrades are prevalent because business travelers aren’t flying. There are routes where they’re the only non-stop offering and meals aren’t likely to be the reason customers select the airline, but on routes like Washington National – Los Angeles American Airlines they have to compete.
American Airlines should consider following Spirit’s lead and renaming their domestic product the Big Front Seat.