American scales back inflight catering as part of ongoing coronavirus response

May 1, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

If you must travel domestically on American Airlines in the coming weeks, you might want to pack a lunch.

(Also, consider postponing your trip if it’s not related to essential work.)

Starting Friday (May 1), AA will implement a significant reduction in its inflight food and beverage service in an effort to reduce the risk of onboard COVID-19 transmission.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news.

On flights of less than 900 miles — typically less than 2.5 hours, according to the airline — the carrier will serve water, canned beverages and juice by request.

On flights between 900 and 2,200 miles, which American said are typically shorter than 4.5 hours, customers will be offered snack bags, including a bottle of water as they board. However, there will be no snacks or food for purchase during the flight. Snacks will only be distributed on mainline flights, so American Eagle passengers will need to bring their own provisions. Meals won’t be available in first class, either. Water, canned beverages and juice will be provided to economy passengers on request. Alcohol will be available only in first class, also by request.

Related: American Eagle fleet adjustments will mean fewer cramped regional jets.

American also is even scaling back on its longest flights, those over 2,000 miles. This includes transcons, flights between the mainland and Hawaii and on the few international long-haul flights American is still flying. Snacks and food for purchase will still not be available in the main cabin. Non-alcoholic beverages will be served as usual, as will snacks like Biscoff cookies or pretzels. Complimentary meals will be provided to economy passengers on international long-haul flights. Alcohol will also be available, by request, on flights with meal service.  

In first and business class on the longer flights, alcohol will be served, as will meals. But service will be pared back to a single tray, rather than a multi-course meal.

Related: American Airlines’ Boeing 767s, 757s among 80 planes that won’t fly again after the pandemic.

The changes come as airlines continue to field test best practices for inflight service and protocols during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, most major U.S. carriers announced that they would soon require passengers to wear masks while onboard. American has also recently modified its boarding procedures, closed a number of Admirals Clubs, and temporarily ended checked pet service.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.