American Airlines has food back on board in domestic first class. Thank goodness they’ve gotten themselves past their belief during the pandemic that they wouldn’t need to bring real meals back.
Before the pandemic one of the American Airlines breakfasts on regional jets was a smoked salmon plate. American’s regional jets don’t have ovens in the galleys so it was a perfect meal to serve cold. I always thought that it was a better choice than an egg dish with sausage on mainline.
In the fall I had a smoked salmon plate on my Los Angeles – Honolulu flight. I was thrilled at the choice, but there was no tomato and I was given a miniature bagel. I’ve often criticized American Airlines for failing to pay attention to the details (which, by the way, is how they got themselves into trouble with their Oasis domestic configurations, they didn’t even build a cabin mockup before rolling it out).
So I was genuinely surprised and delighted – and have to give American real kudos – for getting it right on a recent Austin – New York JFK flight. The choices were a vegetarian omelet (the hot item) or the smoked salmon plate. I went with the salmon plate and it was vastly improved.
There was a bagel, cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, sliced hardboiled egg, and chopped red onion – in addition to a copious amount of salmon. This was accompanied by a bowl of fruit. I’d have been happy with this meal on a premium transcon flight out of New York or Los Angeles!
To be sure, there’s always room for improvement. It wasn’t a really gourmet lox platter.
- It wasn’t the best New York bagel. Out of Austin, as this flight was, their caterer really should source from Rosen’s Bagels. And few bagels would stand up to a flight attendant over-heating it in the galley oven. Still, I give them credit, they’ve figured out what a bagel is!
- A plate for the bagel would have been nice. A flight attendant brought out the lox platter, sans bagel or cream cheese. I asked whether it came with this? And he mentioned it was still “heating in the oven.” The the bread basket came around and I selected a bagel. Of course there was nowhere to put it, or than… on top of the lox, or directly onto the tray. A plate for the bagel – indeed, just a bread plate! – would have been nice. The crewmember laid it down on top of the lox. Presentation matters.
- It wasn’t the highest quality salmon. I simply do not expect American Airlines to be purchasing smoked salmon at over $40 a pound, and again credit because they’ve figured out what smoked salmon is!
Still, I really hope this sticks around. It should be a regular option on breakfast flights. U.S. airlines do a very poor job at breakfast overall. The eggs never come out any good, and the sausage is generally not something I can look at let alone eat. And a cup of yogurt doesn’t cut it. This was a really lovely option and I appreciate that American improved upon the last iteration I tried (on a longer flight!) four months back.