American Airlines was the first US airline to let first class passengers pre-select their meals, having rolled it out in fall 2012.
That’s not ‘book the cook’ make your choice from an extensive menu and they’ll have it on board for you. Rather you choose your meal from what would otherwise be on board and that’s supposed to ensure it’s available to you (they don’t run out of your first choice before getting to your row).
American also now offers a fruit and cheese plate in addition to the usual two choices, and that’s available by pre-order only. I like this option because I frequently don’t want either of the two entree choices that American offers. It’s intended for folks not really hungry enough for a meal, in practice it’s a good option for when the two choices are just bad.
Now American has rolled out pre-orders to coach on a test basis.
I’m flying Dallas – Seattle and back next month. My outbound upgrade is confirmed (with a Business ExtrAA certificate). I’ll try the short rib because it’s one of American’s new meal choices and I’m really hoping it’s better than the short rib they served September 2014 through July 2015.
My return flight is still in coach. Hopefully my upgrade will clear. However I was surprised to see a meal choice for my coach flight, too.
The flight is long enough for buy on board meals and not just snacks. And this option lets me pre-order. It’ll be nice that they won’t run out of sandwiches before making it to my row. Of course as an Executive Platinum member a food item and drink are complimentary, so it makes sense to reserve something.
Complimentary Drink and Snack Item on Shorter Phoenix – Austin Flight
I’ll be interested to see how many people pre-plan to buy a sandwich on board. I imagine many people realizing they’ll be hungry will buy something in the terminal, and coach buy on board is more a spur of the moment decision (settling) than anything else. The usage data here would be fascinating to see.
Coach pre-order is being trialed on three routes:
- Dallas Fort-Worth – LaGuardia
- Dallas Fort-Worth – Philadelphia
- Dallas Fort-Worth – Seattle
You’ll be able to pre-select up to 24 hours prior to departure. And you don’t pre-pay. There’s no downside to pre-selecting, though I hope not too many people abandon their choices since American will have boarded them. If they load too much food that goes unsold the test may not be extended I’d imagine, or they’ll require pre-payment (though that would involve IT, so I’d guess they would sooner abandon the trial than make that investment).