American Airlines Is Rolling Out New First Class Meals

American Airlines is in the process of rolling out what’s being called a “complete refresh” of domestic first class meals. Many routes are already seeing new offerings, and it’s expected that these new meals will be served on all meal flights by February 14th – American’s Valentine’s Day gift to premium cabin flyers and those with status receiving upgrades.

Here’s the internal message American Airlines has shared with employees about the change to meals:

This change couldn’t come soon enough. I don’t want to see another Golden Chicken, and I certainly don’t want to see another short rib. Short ribs may ‘reheat well’ since they’re full of fat, but the ones being served on American Airlines for an interminable amount of time are not good.

An American Airlines spokesperson shared details on the new offerings. Here’s a photo of (3) meals:

  • Mediterranean Bowl
  • Chicken Breast with Mojo Sauce, Poblano Black Bean Rice, and Plantains
  • Penne Pasta with Plant Based “Meat” Ragu and Ricotta

And here’s another photo with (3) meals:

  • Edamame and Mandarin Orange Slaw Salad
  • Chicken Parmesan with Strozzapreti Pasta and Chunky Tomato Sauce
  • Vegetable Enchilada with Red Rice and Green Chili Sauce

American’s cycle is now to refresh domestic first class meals annually, which is the cadence they had slipped to prior to the pandemic. In earlier times they would rotate out entrees quarterly.

There is no change to the 900-mile distance or departure time that qualifies for a meal, and American hasn’t brought back meals to specific shorter ‘exception markets’ (like Chicago – DC) either.

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. I’m sure people will appreciate this who fly American (I quit them when the headed into the toilet years ago). But no airline food is good, I don’t care who it is. They try and make it to fancy. My long haul trip earlier this month I only ate two of the six meals round trip. I slept through one meal and the purser offered to heat up one for me. I told him I would pass. He smiled and said good choice, there’s a snack basket up front. And years later I’m still haunted by the Delta lukewarm Leek Wrap.

  2. Most excellent. I look forward to the return of fine dining with a good grindage pre-covid meal when jetting in first-class on American Airlines.

  3. I know I’m in the minority but I’ve had nothing but good experiences on AA domestic first class for the past year or more. Glad to see the refresh but on the whole the service has been solid and the on time performance near perfect.

  4. Agree; Its re heated entrees. Do they think there are in the running for a James Beard Award! Keep it Simple; you limited what will reheat and be edible. LOSE the plant-based offerings that less than 1% opt for and make that a dietary special meal. If you want airline food to ever improve, make them serve it at every airline executive board meeting and see how they like the slop they serve.

  5. I had the short ribs in pepper sauce and it was literally worse than beef jerky. However, other entrees have been awesome and overall, AA is the best food so far among my recent United and Delta flights. I get to try Delta again, scored a very cheap 1st one way from MSP to New Orleans for Mardi gras, only $350, so will try them again.

  6. I’ve had several good (not great) domestic first class meals over the past few years but looking forward to the refreshed menu. Question remains when will a BOB menu return for the main cabin (sandwiches and salads).

  7. Use to take the AA San-Dfw flight often, but since it falls under the. Mileage rules for a meal taking other airlines. Most often connecting flight anyway.

  8. Enough with the meatless bowls, hummus, chicken, and other so called healthy offerings. They only offer these because they are CHEAP! And they taste terrible. I would rather keep the low quality beef short ribs. And that dried out piece of cardboard they call dessert is a joke. US Air aka known as cheapo airways did away with the inflight made ice cream sundaes and hot cookies years ago. I hope they keep the pre-order available cheese and fruit plate. It is pretty hard to screw up good cheese and fruit and it will get you by if you do not have time to eat pre-flight or have a longer flight during the meal time. AA used to be a premium experience but it is Spirit or Southwest now.

  9. DWT
    I would take a Fridays or Chili’s burger over the hummus and grain bowls pictured any day. Friday’s or Chili’s would not serve such slop or they would go broke.

  10. I agree with Travis, Lean Cusine!
    None of those pics WOW’d me!
    I’m former NorthWest cabin crew, I remember doing ice cream sundaes service in First Class on flights to Hawaii and crab claws in Economy Class!

  11. @Bob … +1 . Also , I would take an Amy’s frozen enchilada at the supermarket for $6 , and purchase my own wine or champagne , over any airline meal .

  12. Jesus, these look terrible and flavorless. The short ribs were usually always edible to at least good.

    This is penny pinching at the finest. 0 beef, going for the cheapest proteins and loading more vegetarian options.

  13. @M simons – the SAN-DFW flight does offer meal service and does not fall under the mileage rules. Not sure how you’re mistaken on this??

  14. I had the new chicken with rice, plantains and green stuff about 2 weeks ago from PHX-ORD. It was not great but maybe a tiny bit better than feared. The chicken was much smaller than pictured and the last bite was rubbery. The green sauce actually had a bit of kick to it. The rice was edible but much worse than rice should ever be, flavorless and dry. The plantains were not edible and were almost like dried plantain chips. I was happy to have it but it was not that good. Just ok.

  15. I’m perhaps speaking “out of line,” as I almost never fly in front…but I always bring my own choice of snacks and food aboard with me for a flight. Depending on the length of the flight, that may be more or less food, but I get what I want, enjoy what I eat, and rather pity those who pay big $$$ and get “free” crap food.

  16. I got excited till I saw the photos
    Its awful crap and I would refuse it if offered
    The photos make it look disgusting
    Dried out chicken with some undesirable sauce(subjective) to give it moisture
    American’s culinary deciders wouldn’t know what premium is even if it hit them in the face
    Tell them to travel abroad on their partners for a clue

  17. Horrible selections. Why can’t they just go back to plain offerings like a small steak or chicken breast, potato and a vegetable and maybe a pasta dish. How many people eat plantains or edamame or plant based ragu – not me. When we fly we don’t necessarily want “healthy” food.

  18. @JHoff is spot on. All inflight meals should be served at executive board meetings rather than restaurant catering. I have a friend that runs multiple nursing homes, and implemented a rule that administrators need to eat one meal a day at the facility. It’s amazing how quickly the meals improved for the residents.

  19. Good on AA for cutting back actual meat. Plant-based meat is better for animal and environmental welfare.

  20. These all look terrible. Like others have said, I’ve found the short rib to be very good. Especially for something low carb. These new offerings are nothing but carb loaded junk food. Plant based meat. Gross. Guess there’s always the diabetic meal that’s supposed to be low carb.

  21. I’ll pass on the Mediterranean Bowl and the Edamame salad. If be OK with the rest of them. Living on the west coast I see lots of breakfast flights. I pray they are thinking those too. Just to have more than two choices would be a giant step forward.

  22. Notice that these pretty pictures were taken with help of a food stylist…don’t expect yours to look like that when served. And when it comes to taste, curb your enthusiasm and keep your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed.

  23. E
    I appreciate airlines serving food…’s nice it is offered. If nothing was offered then complaints would roll in. Just enjoy it and be reasonable.

  24. We fly American quite often when we fly overseas! I’m honestly kinda sad to see that flagship first being taken away.(as noted in another article). Side note, the lounge in MIA is amazing and we go quite often! Secondly, I’m glad that they’re offering better meals in first class . For us, Delta has always had better meals. I’m also glad that they’re stepping up with more vegetarian style options. My teenage boys always fly with us in first class and they honestly never eat the food because they say it’s disgusting. Hopefully, this will change their minds!

  25. AA: how can we save money without looking like we saved money?

    Offer a plant-based fake meat entree (that kinda / maybe looks like meat) but never tell customers that it’s really oatmeal-like gruel with fake color dyes and special chemical additives for ‘flavor’

  26. Just had the enchiladas on a HNL-PHX flight, they were super good! I’m not vegetarian but was pleasantly surprised.


  28. American is my airline of choice due to living in PHL but they have completely lost their way. The service is consistently inconsistent and if you have a PHL based flight crew you are out of luck. They just don’t give a damn about company policy or service delivery.

  29. I flew AA from BUR to DFW this past weekend first class and was only offered plain instant oatmeal a banana and grapes for my breakfast. Gross, I mean you cant even offer a bagel or something? I wont be wasting my money on first class again, Id rather have the cookies in the main cabin

  30. I am flying first class tomorrow. At least American is trying. I don’t expect the best. Of course they don’t complete to foreign airlines

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