American Airlines Replaces First Class Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Loving the cookie coverage. I try to cut out added sugars from my diet, but I make no apologies about my exception for chocolate chip cookies.

  2. The fact that it’s too sweet is probably good, considering the altitude effect on ones taste buds…

  3. One of the briefly better dessert ideas by USairways management when they took over AA was to serve an actual dessert on longer flights in First Class especially when the ice cream sundae wasn’t warranted. Cheesecakes, lemon meringue tarts,Key Lime pie, etc. Later discontinued in favor of just cookies as a cost cutting move on mainline flights,but still available on American Eagle flights with first class meals. And those dessert cakes, etc seem to still get high marks. But with current management, it’s all about cost cutting and diminishing the first class experience on everything that’s not a “premium transcon”

  4. I never even ate the cookies but the smell of them baking was a nice touch that made the flight seem a little less like riding on a bus.

  5. The smell of fresh American Airlines chocolate chip cookies helped to reduce the putrid stench of feces and vomit in the vicinity of the aircraft lavatories and was one of the last benefits worth paying more for their first class product.

  6. We had a nice experience several months ago coming back from Disney. My wife is EXP and we were sitting in coach. Midway during the flight, the FA came back to our seats and offered us the hot cookies! What a treat and really going out of her way (and she was a former USAir FA to boot).

    I have seen a few more surprise and delight moments the past few flights, “A change in the Air”? I hope so.

  7. Gary- I agree with you that it’s time to retire the cookie. While the smell was pleasant, the product fell short 80% of the time, in my experience. Most often they fell apart or were so greasy they turned the napkins underneath almost transparent. I’ve seen flight attendants stuffing the cooled (uneaten) cookies into sandwich bags, and taking them off the aircraft for later consumption. Being in the restaurant business, I’m aware that there are hundreds of high quality desserts they could select if they wanted to and most would not require heating. But there are probably none that are as inexpensive. Just about anything would be an improvement at this point IMO but if they would pay attention to the base meal quality first, I’d happily ignore the cookie.

  8. One more “service enhancement” reason that Dougie has to go…. his bean counters are probably saving a nickel a cookie and oodles of reduced FA staffing time with this one.

  9. Really? All the issues with flying these days—even so-called “first class”— and you’re peeved about COOKIES ?!

  10. As former multiyear ExPlat, I’m content to not fly AA anymore, unless I’m burning my remaining miles. I’m 1K on United the past two years and it has been a better experience. Tells you how far AA has fallen.

  11. Gary couldn’t let a day pass without finding a way to bash AA. Frankly all of you are better off not eating cookies and other useless calories. After retirement (and a cardiac care procedure) I am pretty much vegan during the day and Mediterranean Diet at night plus working out. In best shape of last 30 years

  12. So with you on the service change. Legacy AA flight attendants were almost always attentive about offering after-dinner coffee and/or cordials, milk with the cookies, etc. These days, I find the FAs offer the initial beverage, and it’s begging them after that for a glass of wine with your meal or something after dinner.

  13. Domestic first class isn’t an “indulgence” and hasn’t been for years. On AA or any US carrier.

    It’s a better seat with room to work and be comfortable. That’s all it is.

    Virgin America set up first class as an indulgence. That product failed.

  14. When the next generation looks back on articles like this, they will despise us. Astounding how out of touch you are with reality.

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