American Airlines Is Facing a Cheeseburger Shortage

The American Airlines cheeseburger joined the domestic first class lunch rotation in mid-November 2018.

American Airlines plans to drop the cheeseburger from lunch service in mid-November, however they have already run out of beef patties and aren’t buying more. Instead of a choice between salad and a cheeseburger, customers are being given a choice between salad and vegetarian pasta. Customers who may have pre-ordered cheeseburgers are getting a surprise – no meat option at all.

Here’s the memo being shared with crewmembers on affected flights:

DOM FC LUN CY 1 Entrée Substitution

October 4, 2019

Departure City:

Dear Flight Attendant:

On your flight today, the Cheeseburger is being replaced with a Hot Vegetarian Entrée – Italian Ribbon Pasta with Tomato Ragu.

In addition, the hamburger toppings, condiments and chips are replaced with a side salad, salad dressing, sweety drops (Peruvian sweet peppers) as a garnish and on Mid Haul and Long Haul flights will also receive a broccoli salad appetizer

This substitution is due to early depletion of the burger inventory in readiness for New Entrees starting in November as part of the Domestic First Class Menu Refresh.

This substitution will continue through the October menu cycle, Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019.

On Wednesday, Nov 13, NEW menu items will start being introduced and will continue to be phased in every two months through May 2020.

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, 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. It’s not about the cheeseburger Jason. It’s about the overall pattern of AA’s continual slide lower and lower by the month. Credit to Gary for flagging this long before I realized it. I’m a 4 million miles lifetime platinum flier who has tried his best to stay loyal to an airline I have went out of my way to be connected to even I got push back from my business who had negotiated better rates from competitors. Now something goes wrong in just about every area of AA on every flight I take. Thank God for the great pilots and mechanics that keep us from the ultimate horror. It pains me to write this but I am obligated to assist my fellow fliers as so many like a Gary have helped me over the years.

  2. American Airlines could instantly solve their cheeseburger shortage issue by visiting the airport McDonald’s and purchasing 16 cheeseburger Happy Meals for first class dining. McDonald’s food would be a welcome menu improvement and flight attendants could ask, “do you want fries with that.”

  3. What good news! It offers temporary respite from the climate-damaging consumption of beef. I look forward to a complete ban ( or failing that, a mega tax on beef consumers, including airline meals). It’s coming.

  4. Hey, beef is more expensive than pasta.

    @Ken A. Love the McDonald’s Happy Meal idea but that $3 per pax would bust the catering budget.

  5. Funny, the discontent from the entitled few. So if the Cburger inventory went into November, being served instead of the new feature, they would be smacked down as well.
    The hypocrisy is as blatant as that banter coming from the Trump evangelicals

  6. @Jose. You are correct. A first class $1,000 airfare may have less than three dollars remaining for catering. Those executive bonuses seem to suck out the remaining profit. Fortunately, McDonald’s does offer a dollar menu which has a choice of a Sausage Burrito, McChicken or a cheeseburger.

  7. So the cheeseburger went over well, so let’s drop it. Makes excellent business sense. Or is like the Popeye’s chicken sandwich marketing ploy?

  8. Typical incompetence and indifference that are American Airline’s hallmark. Pasta? that is literally the cheapest food you can offer besides white rice. The salad is probably more expensive.

  9. I don’t buy airline tickets for food, but still is impressive how terrible AA has decided to be at mainline domestic catering.

  10. Another reason that validates moving over to Delta, as such inconsistency and poor inventory control only exacerbates the problems at American.

  11. I would be so disappointed. Pasta substituted for meat? Really? Even switching to chicken is closer.

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