Actually, the food on American Airlines’ first and business class has always been good (which is no surprise since the airline’s consulting chefs include the likes of Sam Choy and Cindy Hutson), and these front-of-the-cabin meals have always been free. What’s changed is the opportunity for elite flyers to get precisely what they want. Well, usually.
Reserve an Entrée in First Class
That’s the theory behind American’s new Reserve a Meal program which allows first and business class travelers to pre-reserve an entree up to 30 days in advance of travel. In other words, if you want the grilled barbecue chicken salad garnished with bleu cheese and spiced pecans instead of the artichoke mezzaluna pasta, you’ll get it. Or you’re more likely to get it, as the airlines are forever pointing out, there are no absolute guarantees.
Available on Select New York Routes
Service is limited for now to flights between New York/LaGuardia and Dallas and New York/JFK and Los Angeles. Orders can be changed up to 24 hours in advance but presumably the sooner you put in your request, the better. If flyers like this, look for this on more routes in the future.
US Airways International Economy: $20 for Gourmet Meal
This is the latest airline adventure into gourmet dining. Last month, US Airways coach customers flying between the U.S. and a few international destinations got the chance to dine like first class passengers with a meal upgrade for $19.99. Sample upgrade menu: Chilled citrus-marinated chicken skewers on Mediterranean orzo topped with mango chutney, served with lavosh crackers, classic shrimp cocktail, marinated grilled vegetables and crème brûlée cheesecake with fresh berries, which also includes a free glass of wine. Or they can settle for the freebie: Chicken breast with Thyme honey sauce with complimentary soft drink.
No Free Meals in U.S. Economy
As for domestic coach passengers, little has changed on the food front in recent years – there are no meals, although you can purchase an airline snack (or bring your own from home).