I recently wrote about poor service in American’s international first class and about catering which hardly seems fitting for a product that’s supposed to be a cut above business class. The reports just keep coming in on American Airlines international first class.
Here the passenger stopped by the American’s Flagship First Dining at LAX and asked their server how he was doing. The man’s response was “this is my Friday night…at least it’s almost over.” American describes their Flagship lounges as an extension of the cabin, and that set the tone for the flight he was about to have.
American Airlines flight AA193 is Los Angeles – Hong Kong, blocked at 14 hours 39 minutes. On boarding the inflight entertainment system wasn’t working, and the first class cabin was told it probably wouldn’t get fixed. Fortunately a reset managed to fix things.
- The passenger’s “pre-ordered meal was not available because the menu was now different.”
- The flight attendant taking orders “was encouraging people to opt for a cheese plate then bed and not the full meal service. When he took my order he tried to skip over courses, presumably with the intention of not having to serve them.”
- The purser “brought out salad with the wrong dressing which he had to replace, brought out wrong side with main, never offered cheese (I would have passed, but still) then brought out the wrong dessert.”
- No beverages were offered during meal service, something I’ve noted in reports from other passengers as well.
- Apparently there were “no rolls just sliced white or dark bread. My salt shaker was also broken and the top had to be unscrewed to get salt out.”
- Midflight “there were no snacks or water or other beverages in the galley” in other words the self-service display hadn’t been set up. So the passenger went scrounging in business class. No drink service had been offered by crew. (“The people in the Row 2 middle have been drinking beverages they brought from LAX.”)
- Another passenger went foraging through other classes of service for snacks, and got up the nerve to say something to the pursuer who reportedly yelled at the passenger.
- Passengers were woken “5-6 hours before arrival” to see if they needed landing cards for Hong Kong.
- An hour and a half prior to landing the passenger wanted breakfast so they went to find a member of the crew. The purser was “slurping congee from the [first class] catering menu.” So about that breakfast,
As the [flight attendant] is walking out w[ith] my tray, she walks past my seat, the purser claps his hands and whistles at her and tells her she went too far. No jam or anything for the croissant (had to ask) and the “milk tea” is just hot water with a tea bag. …The breakfast was more shorthaul domestic [first class] than [transpacific three-class first class]. ..I asked for water it never came.
American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER First Class, Credit: American
The discounted first class “A fare” for Los Angeles – Hong Kong is nearly $9800 one way.
American’s seat isn’t close to competitive with Cathay Pacific’s who also offers international first class on the route. American’s food, beverages, and amenities don’t match what’s offered by other airlines to Asia in first class.
When American Airlines CEO Doug Parker famously said his airline would never lose money again, he also said it’s difficult to offer a better product than competitors, because competitors will match the product. As a result it’s the company’s culture and employees that will give them an advantage. It seems like he has work to do.