The Shocking Reason This American Airlines Flight Ran Out of First Class Snacks

I’m not sure I’ve ever been on an American Airlines flight where the first class snack basket was empty. Flight attendants on non-meal flights may not make a second pass with the snack basket, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone denied a second snack either if they asked.

Bill H. was on a recent American Airlines flight, though, where the flight attendant working first class told passengers that they had run out of snacks.

Was it a catering error, underprovising the aircraft? Was there one passenger cleaning out the snack basket and shoving everything into their backpack, like this British Airways customer did in the Galleries First Lounge at London Heathrow?

No. Bill discovered where all the snacks went.

Sometimes the pilot’s needs trump customer needs.

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. The photo shows a US Airways logo on the cart, are they still using those since the merger?

  2. Yeah, between Doug Parker’s transformation of American Airlines into US Airways in all but name, and Alex Cruz’ gutting of British Airways to become more like the rancid Vueling, it won’t be long until oneworld is a third rate global alliance…

  3. Was waiting for my flight from CLT-HTS last Friday, the incoming flight landed and we were still waiting to board 40 minutes later, they announced the flight crew had to “clear” the plane, it was the same crew that had just landed. As I am walking to the plane about 10 minutes later I see the pilot boarding with 3 bags of food.

  4. Sorry, as a legacy AA fa I can honestly say I have never sent a basket up to the cockpit. Or have I ever worked with an fa that has. It is NOT par for the course like Sammy stated.

  5. What’s next? In 2016, I experienced total hell on what was to be a First Class dinner flight from LAX-ORD on AA.
    Despite all the station management and supervisors, somehow they were paralyzed to react to the all day problem by the outsourced caterer, which had collapsed way earlier in the day.

    So, despite not leaving until 430pm, no pax were advised to get their meals before boarding. (Note-no concern of even giving chits for such purchases!) In fact, not even the liquor kits were topped off!

    A total joke, as I know this BS moment would never happen on Lufthansa! Frankly, it dilutes any support for the US3 in their woos battle with the ME3!

    What some of us truly miss is having the quality of high class, first class trains that would make such a difference. For those over 65, do you remember and savor what the Santa Fe “Super Chief” represented between LA-Chicago? For those younger, terribly sorry…

  6. I find it appalling that the cockpit crew had to rely on a crappy snack basket for that flight. Surely it is their right to be provisioned with a proper meal. Passengers on the other hand should expect next to nothing on a US domestic flight, and if they are hungry rather than bored/hungry, should bring on their own choice of food. Rule of thumb is always expect the worst, and you will rarely be disappointed.

  7. So Leff, is this what you are? The snack basket police? Wow–slow news day. How about using your platform to do something decent for the people of Texas.
    A new low…even for you. Petty, petty, petty…….

  8. I’m a flight attendant for American and on snack basket provisioned flights, we generally have at least 2 baskets worth of snacks that have been stashed in compartments “just in case” so I am calling BS on this post. Also, that snack basket in the flight deck was probably the remnants from an earlier flight. We typically offer the pilots the leftover snacks as they are behind a locked door the whole flight and don’t have ready access if they get hungry. Check your facts before letting the negativity flow….
    Makes me question your overall credibility!

  9. @Bobby N, flight attendants are responsible for cleaning aircraft at some stations, but pilots do not clean. So they usually step off to get food for themselves and the other flight attendants.

  10. Flight could have been double provisioned, with the basket in the cockpit being the leftovers from the inbound.

    Way too many what ifs and unknown here, shame on your Gary for posting this as fact.

  11. Sometimes the possible profit from a poorly written click bait article, which provides absolutely no proof of the author’s claim, trumps actual fact and journalistic integrity.

  12. I was at my Dr.s Office this afternoon (A leading renowned surgeon)
    We got on to the discussion of FF programs and airlines of quality performance
    Never knew he was a Concierge Key Member with American
    Like many others he has had it with Doug Parker ruining American Airlines
    Its brand and guest assurance compromised and their past award winning damaged FF program brought to new lows being called the bottom 2 in America by consultant studies
    He is leaving the airline as I have already done
    We both agreed we admired and appreciated American in years past and saddened by what has become the current state of AA
    While this topic is a bit humorous it also a bit sad that pilots are being fed potato chips rather than healthy fare for their well being and to some degree the very safety of the flying public
    Good memorable decades at American now it is what it is 🙁
    They don’t listen and don’t get it
    At least within the US.Alaska Jet Blue and Southwest do

  13. I’m certainly not “shocked” to see the snack basket in the flight deck, but does anyone even know how AA (and the other major US airlines) now handle crew meals? If you know anything about the way airlines operate, this isn’t a decision that Doug Parker (or any airline CEO) gets to make. It’s a matter negotiated in the union contract. I’m pretty sure that AA pilots get exactly the crew meals specified in their contract.

    Several years ago, I remember sitting in the first class cabin of a domestic Continental flight and the captain showed me what CO had catered for his meal. I’m not sure why he wanted to show me his meal, other than to have somebody (anybody) to complain to. It did look truly pathetic; a very lean sandwich and not much else. I was kind of under the impression that flight crews mostly got per diems and not catered meals these days. But it’s not something I’m familiar with. It’s possible that this crew missed a chance to get something to eat at the terminal and was hungry. In that case, grabbing the first class snack basket seems like a logical thing to do. Obviously, depriving the passengers of a snack isn’t a good idea.

  14. Pilots have their contracts that state they are to be allotted food. If there was a miscater where there was no crew meal loaded, then well guess what. Wouldn’t you want the people controlling your aircraft not to suffer from things like low blood sugar or other problems stemming from hunger? Or do we complain about everything these days.

  15. I remember a report where this happened on United and the flight attendants were caught eating them right in the front galley.

  16. Wait…. rather than worry about snack, cockpit door open and someone freely taking pictures. Isn’t it more concerning?

  17. I love all these posts by people who have no clue and just have to put their spin on it.
    The cockpit door is open, so this was taken on the ground either during boarding or after landing.
    I see the basket full , so presumably the pilots haven’t gorged themselves with everything in the basket.
    now consider this option: while the plane was boarding or deplaning .. the FA put the basket up there so the boys can pick something before the flight starts.
    mind you , the pilots might not have the greedy mindset of those Platinum travelers who want the whole basket to themselves , they might just actually only pick ONE item and pass the basket back..
    likewise if this is while deplaning , maybe the FA let them have something LEFTOVER to munch on before the next leg..I suppose you don’t know that we do have trips where we can’t take the luxury of getting off the plane for a meal between flights..or as a frequent traveler you don’t care that the cabin crew doesn’t GET anything to eat unless the flight is over 12 hours long. during a 15 hour workday…
    people, you need to think, before you go assuming you are being deprived …

  18. Rail Provocateur, I did take the Super Chief as a child, and can remember it quite well. The thing is, it mainly makes me think of international first class on BA, LH, AF and the like and their lounges. I tend to think today is the golden age of travel. Just not in domestic or economy flying.

    Incidentally, I also think Acela first class is better than any domestic US airline first class.

  19. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone denied a second snack either if they asked.

    Happened to me on a recent AA flight, actually. I asked for a second snack on the initial pass, sitting in the third of four F rows with plenty left in the snack basket. The flight attendant says “no, don’t be greedy, other people haven’t had any yet.” After the FA completed the snack service and returned to ask for drink refills, I asked again for a second snack. The FA snapped: “I already told you ‘no.'” Ridiculous service in any context, worse in F.

    I included this anecdote in a recent letter to Doug Parker explaining why AA policies and service, including the poor quality of domestic F, have led me to shift my business to WN.

  20. never flown first class or even business class, so forgive me if I am not bothered by this. I simply cannot afford it and to be able to save for retirement, nor do I have business I cannot charge it off to and I am not a member of congress, I am just am average federal worker who is underpaid and over criticized and scrutinized over every penny I spend when I have to go on a business trip, by those who are paid twice as much and do 1/2 as much . I am a life member of the cattle car section, I learned 40 yrs ago on my first flight to put snacks in my pocket or carry on. But i guess the Army and my long distance backpacking taught to be prepared and how to go days without food, so I do not feel sorry for someone flying class who has to go a couple of hours drawing off all of their excessive reserve energy cells. Actually it is funny, because there is no mention of the economy class people not having snacks, maybe the FA’s would have offered the FC pax some of the economy class snacks if it would not have offended them.

  21. @sam.

    I get what you are saying and it is valid…….however AA has made a promise to the customer to provide a snack or a meal in First Class. The complaint is I didn’t get a feature that I was entitled to receive as part of my purchase.

    …… for people pouring over your receipts on your travel as a Federal employee, you can blame your co-workers for that. They have let you down.

  22. @Lisa @Lori
    Of course most FAs wouldn’t do this kind of thing. But I’m sure you’d admit it DOES happen on occasion.

    I’m curious what either of you would do if you witnessed an FA who did that. Would you report it? Would you talk with the FA? Or would you simply overlook it because it’s not “your” problem…or that AA deserves it because of the way it’s treated its employees? Serious question — not implying anything.

  23. “Can’t wait for MINT to steal AA first class service from LAS to JFK”

    Agreed. My platinum status was reduced to nothing much this year, and JetBlue recently offered a status match. So there I go … where the snack baskets never run out

  24. Ok, I work in the industry. Usually in the BC cabin on domestic you will receive two baskets. That basket looks like it was a left over from a previous flight. That happens often on flights with shelf stable snack crews will leave leftovers in a galley compartment. As a courtesy we offer leftovers to the pilots. Usually they don’t get a meal on these short hauls. Don’t know why passenger wasn’t reoffend a snack unless the snack he requested was already eaten. But when these baskets are offered is on flight with short flying time and off hours.

  25. They can have the snack basket. I would be more concerned if they were pilfering the Glenlivet.

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