American Airlines used to serve the most wonderful baked on board cookies. The whole domestic first class cabin would fill with the smell of fresh baked goodness. It was that smell, even more than the taste, which made the flight feel like home.
After US Airways management took over, and then implemented US Airways catering standards (while meeting in the middle the distance of flights that got meals) in September 2014, baked on board cookies were eliminated. They explained that since legacy US Airways aircraft had just one oven up front, it was tough for flight attendants to heat both meals and cookies at the same time. There was much discussion of adding ovens to those US Airways planes but that never happened.
The airline insisted that its new ‘heat on board’ cookies were more expensive – as pre-baked products naturally are – but they just weren’t very good. The airline quickly replaced its new cookie with another new cookie. I, for one, stopped eating the cookies. The current version has been on board for a little over two years.
Now American Airlines has introduced another new heat on board chocolate chip cookie. The new cookie actually debuted September 11, but it was a soft cutover meaning that they deplete existing stock of old cookies before using the new Best Maid brand cookies.
American’s catering mantra this year became ‘simplicity’. So no surprise they’re eliminating the choice of flavors, too, just like they did when US Airways catering took over. There’ll be no more snickerdoodle. They say it’s because “[c]ustomers love the chip, so we are transitioning to this flavor exclusively in order to provide more of what they love.”
The airline mailed me a box with two of the cookies inside.
I went ahead and opened the plastic packaging and heated the cookies at 275 degrees for 10 minutes. My wife and I each ate one.
I found the cookie to be a little less gooey than the last cookie which is actually a good thing. It didn’t disintegrate picking it up. That said I didn’t love the consistency, and it was too sweet for my taste. I’d prefer it to be paired with something to give it better balance. Ultimately it’s a chocolate chip cookie, and it was fine.
A single chocolate chip cookie is a pretty inexpensive way to provision dessert. First class is supposed to be an indulgence. The cookies used to be freshly baked, and flight attendants used to regularly offer them with a glass of milk or a fresh cup of coffee. I couldn’t tell you how many years it’s been since an American flight attendant proactively suggested something extra to me like that (even though American’s coffee hasn’t been very good, dating back long before the merger).
Without the extra service standard or the fresh baking, I think it’s just time to retire the cookie – but that would require creativity and investment in a replacement.