According to a recent report, American Airlines will be making seven key inflight catering cutbacks for the purpose of cost-saving and efficiency. Many of the changes outlined in an internal memo will likely go unnoticed by most flyers, but some of the moves could mean a slightly less elegant dining experience for passengers in premium and economy class cabins.
For the world’s largest airline, even small cost savings can quickly add up when it is repeated and multiplied by thousands of flights each year. This appears to be the driving factor in American Airlines’ decision to make some seemingly inconsequential changes to its inflight catering program.
It has been nearly 30 years since an American Airlines executive first made his mark by removing an unpopular olive garnish from the salads served on flights. According to legend, the minor change to the inflight menu saved the company $40,000 that very first year.
Now, according to internal communications obtained by the Boarding Area’s Gary Leff, the airline is once again making small tweaks to its menu in the hope of realizing big savings. The report outlines seven upcoming changes to meal service. Some of the alterations will be almost immediately noticeable while other changes will likely be almost imperceptible.
Notably, the airline will change the domestic first-class beef filet for short rib. Perhaps ironically, American is attempting to trim the fat from the catering budget by serving a fattier cut of meat. In an unintended homage to the $40,000 olive, the carrier will remove garnishes from most salads, mezze platters and entrees. First class passengers on Hong Kong flights will soon have a choice of two rather than three appetizers with the elimination of the foie gras option. On long-haul flights, economy class flyers will no longer be offered a breakfast tray as a second meal, but will instead be served a “breakfast bag” containing yogurt, granola and a breakfast bar.
Other cost-cutting moves will take place behind the scenes. International first class cabins will now be stocked with 16 rather than 24 champagne glasses. Bread will be delivered to the airline pre-bagged.
“Previously breads were bagged by the catering kitchen,” the airline told employees regarding the seemingly slight change of standard operating procedure. “Pre-bagged bread will provide a budget savings.”
The carrier will even cut back on wasted paper. The airline told crew members and catering staff that the size of tray liners will be shrinking and even included color photographs to hammer the idea home.
In the memo, the company matter-of-factly told workers that the Atlas tray liners will have a small margin of additional uncovered space around the edges when used on AA Standard trays.
[Image Source: American Airlines]