Last week American Airlines shared with its pilots that they’re testing what they call ‘tapas’ in domestic first class. That’s of interest to the airline’s pilots because their crew meals are “a reflection of what’s happening in first class.”
This test of new meals is happening on about 40 flights a day departing from Charlotte. It began January 13 and runs through March 9, 2021.
And, a spokesperson for American shares with me that there are two versions of this new meal, a “fresh new protein box and vegetarian box meal concepts.” Here’s what the ‘protein box’ looks like:
As part of American’s Clean Commitment, this trial menu was created with limited touchpoints top of mind, so customers will notice each fresh meal concept will be served in a one-step delivery to help care for the wellbeing of customers and flight attendants.
Meal service for domestic flights was significantly scaled back in March to reduce touchpoints between customers and flight attendants. While we don’t have immediate plans to return to full in-cabin food service on most flights, we are using small tests like this to make sure we have the best options available for our customers and team members when we’re ready.
The airline shares that as they “continue to evaluate service levels and offerings, a small number of eligible flights may be included in future trials as we evolve and refine the menu.” This doesn’t strike me as a meal, but it looks fresh which is a real plus and compares favorably to Delta’s current soft product.
I’m not sure that presenting everything in plastic does more than suggest cleanliness (since you unwrap/unpackage yourself). The packages were put together by a person, so I don’t know that this really reduces touchpoints. However Covid-19 really is spread through aerosols in poorly ventilated indoor environments, far more than by placing a hot meal in a galley oven.
When I first heard about the test I took it to be along the lines of then- Senior Vice President of Inflight Jill Surdek telling American employees in August that we wouldn’t see a return of first class meals as they used to be, instead to expect “something that still has a premium feel but is different and more modern.” What do you think?