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Bon appétit: American's improving domestic first class meals

July 06, 2021
3 min read
Bon appétit: American's improving domestic first class meals
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Air travel is slowly returning to normal. Aside from growing passenger numbers, airlines are reopening their lounges and restoring pre-pandemic levels of in-flight service.

In April, American Airlines slowly began introducing new fresh offerings for domestic first-class passengers on cross-country flights. Soon, it will expand these offerings to most domestic flights and improve its selection on longer flights.

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American Airlines has confirmed that as of next week, July 14, it will be expanding its “Fresh Bites” offering for first-class passengers to domestic flights over 900 miles. These cold meal boxes include items like yogurt and breakfast sandwiches in the morning and sandwiches and salads for lunch and dinner. There's always a protein option and a vegetarian option. Plus, there are usually some sweet and savory accompaniments, such as fruit salads and cheese and crackers.

An AA spokeswoman told TPG, “The Fresh Bites offerings are part of the larger strategy to carefully return service to domestic first class passengers, in a way that helps care for the well-being of customers and flight attendants.”

Previously, these meal boxes were only available on flights over 2,200 miles. First class passengers on shorter flights got lighter snacks like yogurt parfaits and sandwiches with no accompaniments.

Then, on flights over 1,500 miles, first class passengers will receive more substantial "Fresh Bites" boxes. Think bigger entrees and additional accompaniments.

Related: American Airlines’ CEO talks bringing back buy-on-board service, including alcohol

First class "snack" on American Airlines. (Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

First and business class passengers on premium transcontinental flights (New York-JFK to/from Los Angeles and San Francisco), long haul Hawaii flights (to/from Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago), and long-haul international flights will continue to receive hot meals.

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Breakfast is offered on flights departing between 5:00 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., while lunch/dinner is offered from 9:46 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Aside from flights from Anchorage (ANC) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Chicago (ORD), all other departures just receive packaged snacks. Also note that the offerings may be different for American Eagle flights.

Related: Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight

Bottom line

American Airlines' latest catering update is a big step up over what it's been serving over the last few months. That said, unlike United, it won't be bringing back hot meals on short and medium-haul domestic flights yet. Last month, the Chicago-based carrier restored hot meals on domestic routes over 1,500 miles and on hub-to-hub flights over 800 miles or two hours or longer.

As of now, there are no changes for those sitting in the back of the plane. The airline is offering full non-alcoholic beverage service on flights over 900 miles, but won't be bringing back onboard alcohol or food sales until at least mid-September.

Featured image by Image by Zach Griff/TPG.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees