American Airlines Launches New Domestic First Class Dinner Service. Prepare to Go Hungry.

American Airlines introduced new domestic dinner entrees in November. What they’ve been doing is swapping out menus roughly every year.

Now they’ve revamped their menus again and are rolling out new meals July 10 (lunches appear unchanged at this time). They’re planning to replace unpopular items on a rolling basis. I hope they have several new options in the queue, because none of the items they’re serving sounds the least bit appealing.

  • Cycle one: Grilled chicken breast with lemon artichoke risotto or Italian ribbon pasta
  • Cycle two: Beef short rib with hatch chili mac or falafel plate
  • Cycle three: Grilled chicken with twice baked potato or Three bean chili with polenta cake
  • Cycle four: Beef short rib with cauliflower parmesan mash or Southwest pasta.

Grilled Chicken Breast with Lemon Artichoke Risotto; Short Rib with Hatch Chili Mac and Cheese; Grilled Chicken with Twice Baked Potato; Falafel Plate; and Three Bean Chili appear in the existing rotation.

Short rib is celebrated inside American because it reheats well, it’s also cheaper than serving steak. I think I’m forever ruined for American Airlines short rib by the September 2014 – July 2015 US Airways mystery meat dishes.

I genuinely cannot understand serving chili on a plane, though. It’s bad enough this is a pre-flight option at American’s Washington National hub.

In addition the Zoe’s Charcuterie Plate and the Fruit & Cheese plate remain pre-order options as well as special meals.

If you don’t pre-order your meal (only an option if you’re confirmed in first at least 24 hours in advance of the flight, and if you switch flights due to weather or a mechanical you lose your choice) meals orders are supposed to be taken front to back on Eastbound and Southbound flights, and back to front on Westbound and Northbound flights.

Meals come with a side salad (Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinaigrette bulk packed). Flights 1299 miles or longer get an appetizer:

  • Cycle one: Chicken entree receives smoked salmon and an ‘everything bagel-seasoned’ potato salad while the pasta receives manchego cheese, asparagus, spicy olives, and piquillo pepper strips
  • Cycle two: Beef dish receives old bay seasoned shrimp with horseradish slaw and parsley while the falafel gets burrata, spicy olives, and shredded tomatoes
  • Cycle three: Chicken dish gets prosciutto with shredded tomato, cherry tomato, and arugula while the chili gets a Mexican street corn salad with cotija cheese
  • Cycle four: The beef dish gets peppadew peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese, salami, and machego cheese while the vegetarian dish gets burrata with sauteed red and gold peppers and mache

On the whole the appetizers sound more appealing than the entrees.

Dessert is a warmed chocolate chip or snickerdoodle cookie on flights up to 1298 miles; a pre-made ice cream bowl (flight attendant adds gaufrette cookie) on flights up to 2199 miles; or made to order sundae (with hot fudge, butterscotch, berries, whipped cream, pecans as options) or a fruit and cheese plate on flights 2200 miles and up. The pre-made ice cream bowl has caramel cone ice cream for cycles one and two, strawberry for three, and mint chip for four.

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. Is LCC also reducing the portion sizes? Or were you saying “prepare to go hungry” because none of the they’re serving sounds appealing?

  2. Short Rib is a low quality piece of meat which in no way substitutes for the previously ubiquitous Filet steak. PASS.

  3. @ Gary — Fine with me. I’ll be on an airline that gets me where I am going on time — Delta. The AA mechanics can have my dog food.

  4. Curious when they’ll serve something universally and perennially appealing. Like pizza. Or Chick-Fil-A.

    I kid.

  5. I’m mostly concerned that the beef short rib and the chicken breast are indiscernible in the picture. All vegetarian options look partially-digested. Do something more inventive with chicken than grilling a breast.

  6. I’ll never understand why anyone would eat the crap they place in front of you. I always refuse any “prepared” food on an airplane.

  7. Beans and chili on planes. This is a recipe for disaster. They should definitely not be leaning towards these types of food or spicy food in general.

  8. I learned it as a child: “Beans beans the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot.” I have never understood why airlines serve beans on the plane for the obvious reason.

    Talking about methane, according to the DOT:
    –Lighters in carry-on luggage: Up to one lighter either in your bag or in your pocket

  9. Just curious when a Harvard professor will conduct the research and write the article in the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW on: ”
    Stealing Defeat From The Jaws of Victory-How American Led The US3 To Prevent Any Competitive Inroads By Swinging Their Clout In Government Instead Of Investing InThe Customer Experience
    (No Fiscal Rationale For Serving Prison-Style Meals To Complement The Downgrading of The Physical Comfort Of Seats)

    Let’s not forget how Gary Leff had correctly pointed out the pathetic loser management style of AA’s Parker and his gang from USAIR that gave a bonus to the mechanics before achieving any contract renewal!

    If AA had a real Board of Directors with an expertise to provide meaningful stewardship, the deficiencies in AA’s management would never be tolerated in an environment demanding accountability and proper oversight.

    Looking at those menus gives new definition to the term “unforced error.”

  10. “I genuinely cannot understand serving chili on a plane, though”

    Part of the biofuels initiative no doubt.

  11. I don’t like fish or seafood and like beef cooked well done so short rib is good for me. The offputting things are cauliflower and shrimp appetizer

  12. I only fly one airline. It would REALLY help to see each of these rotations side-by-side with Delta & United. That would be a helpful comparison.

  13. I like beef short ribs, I find them generally tastier than the filet. My favorite lunch was dill poached salmon served cold on a salad. And I like chili, not sure what the objection is. Food tastes are so subjective.

  14. It said appetizer is shrimp with the spare ribs, can they change that out. I dont eat seafood?

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