Two premium services updates from a Q&A session with American Airlines employees on Thursday: the airline has no plans to return meal service up front to the way it was before the pandemic, instead working on “meaningful changes.” There are, however, 3 Admirals Clubs that will re-open in the next month.
- Last summer then-inflight service head Jill Surdek, who made the decision to eliminate inflight meals in the first place, explained that the airline wouldn’t ever bring back the old first class meals and instead would offer something that still “has a premium feel but is different and more modern.”
Current head of inflight Brady Byrnes doubled down on meals not returning to how they used to be, offering that American doesn’t “want to do what we always have done. We want to take this opportunity to make meaningful changes.”
When American Airlines executives talk about changing meals, and making them more ‘modern’ they never use words like better, higher quality, or more enjoyable.
- Meals aren’t the only premium service that’s been cut back. American Airlines continues to charge full price for its Admirals Clubs yet only 60% of clubs are currently open. Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor reports that another one in Phoenix will open in the next month along with the lounges in Atlanta and the D15 lounge in Miami.
American Airlines has higher costs than competitors, and more debt. In order to just match the performance of other airlines they need to earn a revenue premium. And that means offering a better product. I’m not sure that they’ve internalized this yet.