American Airlines Will Prioritize High Revenue Flights For “The Right Plastic Cups”

I was shocked to be given a choice of hot meals flying United Airlines this past Sunday, San Juan to Houston, while American Airlines still offers shrink-wrapped turkey sandwiches throughout most of their system. They’ve talked about meals returning, but haven’t given dates, and blame supply chain for an inability to deliver – though it’s never been clear that supply chain prevents the airline’s galley ovens from functioning.

Brady Byrnes, who is American’s Vice President of Inflight, explained at an internal meeting this week (a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing) that the carrier is prioritizing which flights get basic amenities.

What we’re trying to give you guys a better sense of what you’re gonna have, when and where. So you will start to see us prioritize high revenue flights, key markets, specific aircraft types, so you guys have a sense when you get on a 777-300 making up the destination of Frankfurt you know you’re gonna have a pillow and blanket, you know you’re gonna have the right plastic cup. It’s probably less important that you have the right plastic cup flying to Omaha. I always pick on Omaha because that’s where I’m from.

A lot of really talented people are out there trying to look under every stone to find every pillow and blanket that we can, as we continue to try to get the supply chain back on a sustainable path.

At American Airlines, high revenue flights in key markets will be prioritized to have “the right plastic cup.”

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. Does Brady Byrnes know about glass cups? You don’t have to throw them away and repurchase them after every flight.

    They work great I have many at home. No complaints.

  2. This is an issue across US airlines now- I’ve personally been given non branded plastic cups recently on AA, AS and WN, and have seen posts about DL too (not sure about UA).

    And it’s not just the airlines. Just today I went to Shake Shack and the location had run out of branded cardboard boxes for their burgers and they were being served in unbranded plastic containers.

  3. Drinking alcohol shouln’t be alloed on any flight. Some drunk passengers allegedly act out. And in turn, unruly passengers can wake others up that are sleeping.

  4. Good to know that American Airlines has prioritized replenishing plastic cups on their flights. I know the passengers will cherish the opportunity of playing aeronautical beer pong using these plastic cups during their flight to Omaha. Furthermore, as American Airlines has prioritized which flights will get basic amenities, as the American Way magazine is out of print, please prioritize an extra roll of toilet paper for the lavatories.

  5. Gee! I was under the impression that an airline’s main function is to provide transportation. But based on this diatribe, I apparently am wrong. An airline’s primary mission is to provide crystal stemware for wine.

  6. United has warm meals in domestic first, Hemispheres magazine is back and they are serving alcohol in economy. While Delta has been imploding and American deciding what to cut next, United has really stepped up their game.

    Walking into the UA Club at ORD B today, I saw Scott Kirby walking out. Wanted to hug him.

    Now if they will just get the Polaris clubs open and find someplace to put a new UA Club at EWR terminal C, things will really be looking up.

  7. @Radio. No, a discount airline’s main (sole) function is to provide transportation. But “premium” airlines that tell you they charge extra because of their “premium” service should provide said “premium” service.

    Or they should just shut up and be a discount airline — and charge discount airline prices. The same applies to hotels. I’m looking at you, Hilton.

  8. No food on airlines, I don’t care for the slop anyways. Just get me from point a to point b on time. Thank You !

  9. I’m not sure why he said plastic cups (probably just a fluke) as it’s well known that glassware is returning to flagship branded routs starting 11/10 with the rest of the domestic first class operation soon thereafter. For reference, I watched the same video clip and scratched my head for a second too. My take is that he was trying to imply is they have had some catering/supply mishaps where some flights were not boarded with pillows/blankets or other amenities that you would normally expect at this moment in a premium cabin. I experienced this recently on a flagship transcon MIA-LAX where none of the business class cabin received the Casper pillow/blanket set. Was a little disappointing but being a day flight I lived with it. Ultimately, AA is trying to fix this and other supply chain issues to get things humming along more consistently with better everything (meal service, glassware, etc).

  10. This is just another example of how AA is penny wise, pound foolish. Of course if you offer a subpar product at similar prices to competitors then customers will fly competitors. But somehow AA thinks that unless people start paying more for their inferior product that they should’t improve the product. Can’t believe I am saying this but I might actually go back to flying UA for their service and product. What a world.

  11. Boohoo, cry cry cry Gary. You mean a business did something to enhance their revenue? While coming out of a pandemic? Unheard of! Another naggy Gary Leff article about AA. Same soup, reheated.

  12. I sure hope he gets the right plastic cup on his flight to Omaha. Nice to see that American has its’ priorities straight with no getting distracted by annoyances like good service, clear communication, on board comfort, providing customers with value, and having a loyalty program that actually inspires loyalty.

  13. I was just on a 90 minute Air Canada flight in Business Class. Got a bit of smoked salmon and some orange cauliflower in a bed of arugula, with a potato salad on the side. It all came on crockery, with metal utensils, and my wine was served in glass.

    That Air Canada can do that on a short hop puts the lie to every US carrier wringing out every dime out of customer experience. Delta has been absolutely awful about it. Lucky to see a snack basket waved around one on a 4.5 hour flight last month.

    Bad year to switch loyalty to them. Made Platinum from scratch in five months, so I know wtf I’m talking about when I say they are lagging on service.

  14. Funny enough, that turkey sandwich that AA gives on the flight to SJU is actually not bad, and much much much better than the garbage / joke of a bistro box that Delta offers.

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