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Hot food is officially coming back on American Airlines this month

Feb. 09, 2022
4 min read
Hot food is officially coming back on American Airlines this month
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UPDATE (Feb. 16, 2022): Hot food is back on American — here’s what it was like on day 1

ORIGINAL POST: It’s finally time for hot meals to make a comeback across premium cabins on American Airlines.

The Fort Worth-based carrier confirmed to TPG on Wednesday that hot meals would officially start rolling out once again across its short-haul network beginning on Feb. 16.

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While the airline is flipping the switch on its ovens, it’ll take some time for every catering station and route to feature hot food. The airline hopes to have the rollout complete by the end of the month, it told TPG.

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Starting on Feb. 16, domestic first-class passengers, along with those flying to Canada and Puerto Rico, on flights longer than 1,500 miles can expect:

  • Warm mixed nuts
  • New cold and hot entrees for breakfast
  • Salad, appetizer and choice of hot entree for lunch and dinner
  • Sorbet or ice cream cup or fruit and cheese plate for dessert

By the end of the month, the new first-class meals will roll out to U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico routes between 900 and 1,499 miles long. Expect the entree to be lighter than what's served on the longer routes listed above.

For flights shorter than 900 miles, American will continue to serve flyers a choice of pre-packaged snacks from a basket.

Perhaps even more exciting than hot food returning is news that American is switching up its menu.

Several fan-favorites are making a comeback, such as charcuterie and short rib, while other dishes will be new for the carrier, including grain bowls and entree-size salads.

For now, meals will be served all on one tray to minimize touchpoints.

American shared some marketing images of the new meals, and they look great. Of course, we’ll reserve judgment until we sample the new menu items in the air.

Along with the new domestic first-class menu, the airline is also going to restart its pre-order meal option in April, which allows you to select your preferred meal choice between 30 days and 24 hours before your flight. This way, you’ll essentially be guaranteed to be served your first choice.

Furthermore, special meals, such as kosher, vegetarian and diabetic, will be returning to the airline’s menu beginning in May.

While American is now the last of the Big 3 U.S. carriers to announce the return of hot food to domestic first class, it’ll offer the most exhaustive list of options when they resume. Neither Delta nor United has confirmed when special meals will return to domestic first class.

American Airlines pandemic-era first-class service (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Interestingly, American’s move to bring back hot food is seemingly at odds with its recent decision to cut the second beverage service in coach on domestic flights greater than 1,500 miles.

The airline is modifying its inflight service procedures in coach at the urging of the flight attendant union APFA “to limit customer touchpoints.” Hopefully, for those seated in the back, the return of hot food will also mean that the second beverage service resumes.

Bringing back “real” first-class meals comes as American is playing catch up with Delta and United.

The former exclusively confirmed to TPG that hot meals would return to domestic first class beginning in March, but it didn’t have any additional details to share.

Meanwhile, United is way ahead of the pack. The airline already resumed serving hot food back in June 2021. United also recently expanded its popular pre-order option, so travelers can reserve their preferred entree well before their flight.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of American Airlines)
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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