Bon appétit: American’s improving domestic first class meals

Jul 6, 2021

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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

American Airlines breakfast
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.

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 photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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