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During the time of of high oil prices and bankruptcies that forced many US airlines to trim budgets and amenities, economy passengers found themselves without meals, even on some of the longest transcontinental domestic flights. That’s beginning to change, however — Delta’s been serving complimentary meals to economy passengers on several transcontinental routes since March 1.

Today, American Airlines shared that it’ll also begin serving meals to passengers in economy on its Airbus A321T aircraft, which are used on domestic transcontinental flights between New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).

Beginning May 1, you’ll be offered a continental breakfast or a boxed meal with a sandwich wrap, kettle chips and dessert depending on the time of your flight. There will also be a vegetarian option as well as a fruit and cheese plate. It won’t be a hot meal, but it signals that AA is serious about competing with its rivals on these routes, even though Delta will be offering meals on many more flights.

Image courtesy of American Airlines.

The A321T aircraft (the T stands for transcontinental) is ideal for your cross-country trips. Up front, it has lie-flat seats in both first and business class, on par with what you’d experience on an international flight. In coach — or Main Cabin, according to American — each seat features seat-back entertainment as well as power outlet access and Wi-Fi.

AA’s additions are certainly welcome, and economy passengers on the carrier’s longest domestic routes will surely be pleased to have a complimentary meal when the new service begins May 1. But, with Delta offering meals on several more transcontinental routes, it seems like American is already playing from behind.

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