Photo (cc) by Kent Wang
Airline food has long been an easy target for comedians’ jokes and travelers’ ire. But American Airlines is hoping to change that, one first-class meal at a time.
The airline launched a new food and beverage program for its first- and business-class travelers on July 1, Airways News reports. With dishes like lobster mac and cheese, wagyu meatloaf with sriracha ketchup, and steamed sea bass with ginger cilantro pesto rice, the meals are part of American’s $2 billion investment in improving the passenger experience.
The catering updates come on the heels of American’s extended merger with US Airways, which led to a number of premium passenger complaints about American’s deteriorating meal service, Skift reports. It said:
Unhappy fliers took to social media in droves, posting pictures of poorly catered meals and working themselves into a frothing mob. After the airline changed their on board cookie there was nearly a riot.
Russ Brown, director of American Airline’s dining and retail, told Airways News that the focus is on seasonally inspired modern cuisine. “When travelers see a sample of our larger menu, they’ll see bright, simple and fresh food with no heavy sauces,” he said. “It raises the bar on food.”
American Airlines is also offering new foods on the ground, in the carrier’s Flagship Clubs.
“Not only will customers see items including crudités, soups and yogurt, but hummus and cereals are being introduced,” said Nick Richard, director of American’s premium services and customer experience strategy. “We’ll also have things like composed cold salads and brownie bites. We’ve already started introducing some items, and more will come out in the fall.”
American’s premium travelers will also be offered new vintages of wine, which will be swapped quarterly.
According to Skift, United Airlines has also implemented a number of catering changes over the past year, including updating its premium menu with fresher ingredients and more selection, offering food on more routes and overhauling its international cuisine.
While these new food and drink offerings sound delicious, they’ll be enjoyed by the airlines’ premium travelers only. As for the rest of us, I guess we’ll continue to get by on pretzels, soda and soggy $10 sandwich packs.
As Skift observed, “Once premium upgrades are finalized, hopefully the airlines can work on improving the experience of the 99 percent.”
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