American Introduces New First Class Meals On Cross Country Flights

American Airlines has been testing protein boxes in domestic first class as meals which replace their serving the old coach buy on board options front. The airline tells me that next week this expands to non-premium flights over 2200 miles.

In other words premium transcon flights like New York JFK – Los Angeles and San Francisco continue to get hot meals, along with some Miami – Los Angeles and the planned New York JFK – Orange County flights.

What’s new is that non-premium transcon flights longer than Charlotte – Los Angeles will get ‘Fresh Bites’ instead of the old coach buy on board wrapped sandwiches.

Starting April 14, we’ll expand the Fresh Bites test to domestic First Class customers traveling on flights over 2200 miles (~4.5 hours or more). Earlier this year we introduced the new Fresh Bites meal concepts on a trial basis beginning with First Class domestic flights departing from CLT.

Fresh Bites includes items such as fresh fruit, yogurt and breakfast sandwiches in the morning and sandwiches, salads and fresh appetizers for lunch and dinner. The offerings being tested are heartier options than the fresh snacks customers currently receive, but also incorporate customer favorites such as fruit and cheese.

American has been working hand in hand with the APFA and a team of experts from the Travel Health Advisory Panel for guidance and feedback throughout the planning process. Flight attendant and customer feedback has also played a critical role in ensuring the careful return of new fresh offerings.

american airlines protein box
OM Box, Credit: JoeyE

Morning Box, Credit: Silly19

The Fresh Bites ‘expanded test’ will be offered on routes like:

  • Charlotte – Seattle
  • Charlotte – San Francisco
  • Boston – Phoenix
  • Washington National – Los Angeles
  • Miami – San Francisco
  • Miami – Seattle
  • Philadelphia – Los Angeles
  • Phoenix and Dallas – Anchorage
  • West Coast – Hawaii

Another way to read “working hand in hand with flight attendants” is to understand that many flight attendants have been against serving food, or offering other inflight service again.

Nonetheless, American Airlines has done more to feed passengers during the pandemic than Delta has.

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. Spot on calling out the flight attendants. This is security theater and cost cuts plain and simple.

    Match what JetBlue does on similar flights – this is not a competitive offering.

  2. Perhaps they can teach their joint venture and one world partners BA how to improve their Beyond Abysmal and Below Average catering and how to count the number of customers / meals so that they match?

  3. AA FAs always do the announcement that they are there for your safety.
    AS FAs say they were there for your safety and comfort. It has proven true that their service is usually higher. AA has some great FAs, but many try and do the bare minimum.

  4. Last week I flew Delta and got the cheese and cracker box/meal in first. There actually was a good amount of food in there for a flight from MSP to PHX. My GF enjoyed it.

    Yeah the FAs aren’t any different than hotels or many other companies that got lazy during the virus with service/benefit cutbacks and have no interest doing that work again. Maybe they should get a 10-20% pay cut to go with the less work?

  5. @Gary – When you say “There’s little risk of transmission from touching a meal that someone else touched.” – the question is bit more complicated than you suggest.

    Were it just a matter of communal surfaces touched by multiple people, you’d be spot on. However – in the case of serving meal (or more specifically, collecting used service items) – things that have been in the mouth of a passenger (silverware, glass rims, etc) represent a significantly higher risk.

  6. This looks way better the previous hot meals. I prefer something fresh and light verses the gravy soaked steaks or overly cheesy pasta. This will also make service faster and clean up easier, save money overall. AA has had superior service on their flights compared to DL and in fact the FA have been the best of the group the past year.

  7. So the fact that the “lazy” flight attendants have to collect items that have been in your mouth slips by? What flight attendants have been doing and continually fighting for is limited exposure to passengers eating/drinking in the cabin maskless. Those serving customers who are maskless are more at risk than a flight attendant wearing a mask to the customer. Unlike wait staff in a restaurant, flight attendants can’t escape six feet away from people eating and drinking shoulder to shoulder. Certainly in coach. Facts matter.

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