American Airlines Expands Meal Preordering for Premium Cabin Passengers


American Airlines turkey club sandwich
Image via American Airlines

American Airlines has extended its preordered meal service to the premium cabin on regional American Eagle flights, with the service now available to passengers on nearly 1,900 daily flights – more flights than any US carrier, it says.

American Airlines is the only airline in the United States to offer a meal preordering service for premium cabin passengers on both mainline and regional flights of 900 miles or more.

“Ordering meals in advance is important to our customers, and we’re excited to bring this option to more flights,” said Raphael Girardoni, the airline’s managing director of Food and Beverage Services. “The culinary experience is an important part of travel that we will continue to invest in.”

Starting in March, customers in premium cabins on American Eagle flights can preorder from a menu that includes a charcuterie plate, a Tex-Mex salad with adobo chicken, a Mediterranean turkey club sandwich, a hot smoked salmon cold plate with seasoned potato salad, and a curried chicken salad on croissant. Also, beginning March 11, Flagship First and Flagship Business passengers can preorder a chicken Cobb salad entrée on flights from the US to Europe and South America, and a charcuterie plate on the return trip to the US.

American Airlines has been improving its in-flight food offerings through various partnerships: James Beard Foundation chefs have created exclusive menus for select Flagship First and Flagship Business international and transcontinental flights, and Zoës Kitchen (a partnership which was first announced at APEX EXPO in 2018), has created items for its buy-on-board menu. Earlier this month, the buy-on-board menu was once again refreshed based on feedback from flight attendants. This “helped inspire new menu items such as the chicken lentil salad shaker jar, chickpea Waldorf salad wrap and hummus box and raspberry chipotle turkey sandwich as well as new breakfast and snack items,” the airline stated in a press release.

American Airlines’ move to extend its preordered meal service steps up the competition for in-flight catering among the big three domestic US carriers. Delta Air Lines expanded its own first class Delta One meal preorder program last February to include both domestic and international Delta mainline flights and United Airlines offers a meal preordering service on select flights.

Data gathered from preordered meals can help airlines better evaluate their food and beverage (F&B) selection, inform decisions on future menu items, and avoid food waste by making sure passengers are offered meals they desire.

Besides keeping passengers fed, making food available for purchase or preorder to main-cabin passengers can also be a recipe for profitability. US airlines could close the $16.7 billion à-la-carte ancillary gap with their counterparts from other regions by matching the F&B push of European and Asian carriers. Both traditional and low-cost airlines in Europe and Asia offer tasty and fresh menu items for sale, even on shorter flights, with warm food items generally served on flights longer than 2.5 hours.