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Meals changes US & AA announced - international and domestic [Discussion]

Meals changes US & AA announced - international and domestic [Discussion]

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Meals changes US & AA announced - international and domestic
[Discussion]


This thread discusses changes to the combined carrier's meal policy. On Friday, 14 Nov 2014, the following e-mail was sent to AAdvantage frequent flyers:


this after an apparent record of the percentage of complaints received in response to earlier announcements (80% of complaints were about the meal cutbacks),

On Monday, August 4th, 2014, American and US Airways both announced their plans for the final aligned meal service effective September 1st, 2014 for both carriers. This Wiki will touch upon in detail the new meal windows, parameters, and what to expect moving forward.

MEAL WINDOWS:

Up to 699 miles (under 2 hours):
Enjoy a light snack such as a fig bar, cookies or pretzels.

700-999 miles (2 – 2:45 hours)
A heartier selection of snacks such as sandwiches and fresh fruit is served on most flights (Lite Bites), with exceptions (see below).

1,000 – 1,298 miles (2:45 – 3:30 hours)*
Enjoy warmed mixed nuts, followed by a three-course meal including a warm cookie for dessert.

1,299+ miles (over 3:30 hours)*
Enjoy an appetizer paired with your entrée followed by cake for dessert. On flights over 2,200 miles and over 4:30 hours, you'll also receive a choice of dessert – specialty ice cream or a fruit and cheese plate. Redeye flights in the category of 2,200 miles and above will have a snack basket to begin, then will receive an arrival continental breakfast box. (This does not apply to A321 transcons, listed below.)

*There is no meal service on flights that depart after 8:00pm, only beverages and a snack basket. There is also no meal service on flights that depart before 5:00am.

CERTAIN MARKETS:

A321 Transcontinental Service (JFK-LAX/SFO):

  • Refreshing fruit or cucumber-infused water or sparkling wine
  • Warm mixed nuts followed by a three-course meal, with a choice of our signature customized sundae or seasonal fruit and cheese
  • A snack served shortly before arrival

Note: This focuses specifically on A321 transcontinental service (JFK-LAX/SFO), although some members has clarified that LAX-MIA will continue to receive the same level of service. This still remains to be seen.

Hawaiian Flights:

Between Hawaii and DFW/ORD:

  • Full meal with Hawaiian rolls plus two other bread options
  • Choice of a customized sundae or a fruit and cheese plate
  • Bottle of water
  • Selection of snacks prior to arrival

Between Hawaii and LAX/PHX:

  • Full meal with Hawaiian rolls plus two other bread options
  • Pre-made sundae
  • Selection of snacks prior to arrival

EXCEPTION MARKETS:

Exception flights will fall between approximately 600-999 miles. Those flights will receive the same level of service as the published 1000-1299 miles parameters.

  • Between DFW and: DTW, ORD, SLC, MEX (Effective 16-Oct-2014)
  • Between FLL and: PAP
  • Between JFK and: FLL*, MCO, TPA*
  • Between MIA and: IAH, PAP, CAP, DCA (Effective 16-Oct-2014), IAD (Effective 16-Oct-2014)
  • Between MSP and: CLT, PHL
  • Between ORD and: BOS, DCA, DEN, JFK, LGA, RDU, AUS (Effective 16-Oct-2014)
*Flights between JFK and TPA/FLL do not currently operate.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

It was reported from an internal source (but not formally announced) that American Eagle would be discontinuing plated meals and, instead, will offer snack boxes and/or chilled meal boxes on meal flights.

Based on the picture on the websites representing meal service, it is confirmed that American will use US Airways plates, bowls, and other servingware moving forward. Additionally, it has been speculated that tray linens will also be eliminated in lieu of the current US Airways paper tray liner. An AA Twitter representative, however, confirmed that buttonhole napkins would be here to stay.

Additionally on October 1st, American Eagle and US Airways Express flights will follow these same meal time frames with some variations to the service. Flights between approximately 176 and 999 miles will receive snack baskets, and meal flights will feature a chilled gourmet boxed meal. Some popular regional flights between approximately 700 and 999 miles will also receive a chilled gourmet boxed meal.

All information above has been gathered and/or copied from the AA website.

Links:
AA Meal Service
US Meal Service

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

This section is purely vestigial, primarily concentrating on historical announcements prior to August 4th, showing a path from separate carrier policies to a combined policy.

On February 15, 2014, there was an internal announcement shared here, outlining changes to US Airways' meal policy, as well as a few minor changes on the AA side. The changes would occur in two phases: April and September.

April:
US Airways
The meal windows on US Airways has transitioned from the previous 3 1/2 hours and above window as of April 1st; now, they are serving meals on flights that are 2 hours and 45 minutes, and above (specified as 1,000 nautical miles in the announcement). Light snacks on flights under 2:45 hours has been added, featuring breakfast pastries and fresh fruit for morning flights, as well as finger sandwiches on later flights (known as Lite Bites). New meal window tiers has been added to standardize US Airways meal service:

  • Less than an hour: Nut mix
  • 1 - 2 hours: Snack basket
  • 2 - 2:45 hours: Snack basket plus pastries/finger sandwiches (Lite Bites)
  • 2:45 hours - 3 1/2 hours: Meal service, no appetizer
  • 3 1/2 hours - 4 1/2 hours: Full meal, including an appetizer
  • 4 1/2 hours and above: Full meal service, accompanied by the snack basket

American
An expedited service for shorter, eastbound transatlantic flights (JFK-LHR/MAN/DUB) became the only choice in premium cabins. It was also announced that all eastbound transatlantic flights would receive a more streamlined service, but no visible differences has yet to be reported by FT members.

Over the course of this year (but all mentioned changes will discontinue on September 1st, with the exception of A321 transcons receiving three choices, as well as snack & brunch service for redeyes) a few notable improvements were made to transcontinental meal service, such as sorbets being offered as a breakfast/brunch dessert, supper service (an abbreviated dinner service without an appetizer and sundaes) that replaced snack service on redeyes, and three menu choices of entrees being offered instead of the previous two menu choices.

There were also a few cutbacks in the spring: on Flagship Transcontinental service (JFK-LAX/SFO; MIA-LAX), wherein marinated anti-pasto was discontinued in 3-class First Class lunch/dinner service; and in International First Class, where the wine-tasting course, grey placemats, and grey water glasses were eliminated in May.

Historical Weekly Updates (shared from an internal source):
6/14

  • Emphasis on being a leader, not a follower, according to Doug Parker.
  • Catering and cabin equipment review in progress.
  • FA involvement team to be created.
  • US/IB codeshare has started these past few days.
  • Three cycles of the revision for the joint certificate have been approved by the FAA. FAs now have inflight manual revisions.
  • MIA and JFK catering issues are still being addressed.
  • Visual presentation of the beef in the sandwich on the second meal service from Europe to the United States is being reviewed by F&B and catering in Europe.

6/21
  • Leadership conference focused on restoring AA to greatness.

Reply to negative feedback via website form: (3.5 hr flight RNO-ORD)

Thank you for contacting American. We know that meal options are important to our customers, and we appreciate the opportunity to address your comments about the changes we have made to our First Class meal program.

There are no plans to discontinue the signature services that have set American Airlines apart over the years. In fact, we are investing millions in our product. This includes the existing premium transcontinental service on select markets, and the offering of certain elements that customers have come to appreciate over time such as warm mixed nuts on all meal flights, cookies and premium desserts on longer flights.

Our new Domestic First Class service footprint provides opportunities to not only streamline service but also to enhance the quality of current food components: new salads and entrees. Product offerings are be aligned with the length of flight. For example, appetizers have been added on certain flights, and a new snack basket concept has been introduced on shorter flights. New meal tray elements to modernize presentation have been introduced, including new china and a stemless wine glass.

A component of these changes is to make consistent between American and US Airways the length of flight where a full meal service is offered. Effective September 1, traditional meal service is offered in First Class on flights operated by American that are 2:45 or longer. While this has removed the traditional meal service from some markets served by American, the changes implemented at US Airways earlier this year added meals to many US Airways markets that traditionally have not offered a full meal service.

On flights from 2 hours to 2:45 in length we offer our customers a "Lite Bites" basket with a variety of food options including tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, breakfast breads and sweet and savory snacks. We will, of course, continue to offer complimentary beverages and snacks for our First Class customers on all of our flights, including beer, spirits and our award-winning wine selection.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 2:14 pm
  #1  
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Meals changes US & AA announced - international and domestic [Discussion]

USAirways announces their influence on AA's meal policy.

One of the first real tangible changes that we will see
will occur on April 1 on the legacy US Airways side
of the operation. On that date, we will begin the alignment of meal services based on flight time. USAirways will transition from the
current footprint of 3.5 hours for meal services in domestic first class and add meals to flights of 1000 nautical miles or greater that translates to a
flight time of approximately 2:45 minutes in duration. This change will
add 126 daily flights where meal services are offered versus the current footprint, bringing the total of US Airways flights offering meal service
to 442. We will also introduce an enhanced
snack basket to include fresh components such as breakfast pastries and fresh fruit on early morning departures
and small finger sandwiches and fresh fruit on later departures.

On the American side of the operation, domestic meal
services will remain as they are today until September. At that time, we will align the look and feel of First Class services at both carriers, including
tray elements, food components, and meal windows.

For the international operation at American, on April 1
a new expedited meal service will be introduced on
JFK to London/Manchester and Dublin as the only option available. This simpler shorter service was designed to align our offerings with our partner, British Airways. Additionally, on April 1, we will introduce a new streamlined meal presentation in business class on all eastbound markets to Europe.
Details will follow in a separate and more comprehensive communication.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Cloud1Heavy View Post
For the international operation at American, on April 1
a new expedited meal service will be introduced on
JFK to London/Manchester and Dublin as the only option available. This simpler shorter service was designed to align our offerings with our partner, British Airways. Additionally, on April 1, we will introduce a new streamlined meal presentation in business class on all eastbound markets to Europe.
Details will follow in a separate and more comprehensive communication.
Expedited, shorter, and streamlined could be either positive or negative. I'm curious about the details as they unfold.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 2:25 pm
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Probably trying to give pax on overnights more uninterrupted sleep time.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 2:29 pm
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This is my concern:

At that time, we will align the look and feel of First Class services at both carriers, including tray elements, food components, and meal windows.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 2:38 pm
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I thought US Airways was planning to move to the current AA window of meal service by April, which means timing and length thresholds that equal AA's? A 1,000-mile threshold seems a bit too high, not equalling that of AA's current 600-ish (and is higher than UA and DL's current 800-900ish).

That said, it could be transitional - slowly transitioning US service windows to that of AA's. September is plenty of time away, which gives us a window to give feedback and make sure the new AA will mostly retain it's meal windows and service standards. This also gives crew an opportunity to give feedback and for AA to determine if they feel it is worthy to offer meal service on shorter flight windows after September (paid F revenue, etc). After all, they both are still separate carriers and have their own budgets.

The pemissit in me says this is a subtle effort to downgrade the future new AA's service by not immediately changing the windows.

Time shall tell, indeed.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
I thought US Airways was planning to move to the current AA window of meal service by April, which means timing and length thresholds that equal AA's? A 1,000-mile threshold seems a bit too high, not equalling that of AA's current 600-ish (and is higher than UA and DL's current 800-900ish).

That said, it could be transitional - slowly transitioning US service windows to that of AA's. September is plenty of time away...
It could be a matter of the catering suppliers on the US side. The US stations which currently do not have catered meals in F, might be double-catered out of the hubs in the interim period until September, when a better system can be implemented with the suppliers. However, I don't see the current AA meal flight-length remaining longterm. Aside from key business markets, I think 800-900 miles will be the minimum.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Cloud1Heavy View Post
For the international operation at American, on April 1
a new expedited meal service will be introduced on
JFK to London/Manchester and Dublin as the only option available. This simpler shorter service was designed to align our offerings with our partner, British Airways. Additionally, on April 1, we will introduce a new streamlined meal presentation in business class on all eastbound markets to Europe.
Details will follow in a separate and more comprehensive communication.
The reason BA has "expedited" meal service on their eastbound TATL flights is that they offer a full meal pre-flight in the lounge, so passengers can eat dinner before boarding. The Admirals Club does not offer this service, and I suspect still won't. So, no decent meal for passengers flying AA, and even more incentive to fly on BA metal.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
I thought US Airways was planning to move to the current AA window of meal service by April, which means timing and length thresholds that equal AA's? A 1,000-mile threshold seems a bit too high, not equalling that of AA's current 600-ish (and is higher than UA and DL's current 800-900ish).
It says 1000 NAUTICAL miles, which is 1150 miles. Way too high.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:12 pm
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Why do you think the current AA meal flight-length will not stay beyond September? If AA offers meals on short hops like they do now, they would attract more business/paid F revenue, and as they have been retaining meal service on short hops for a long time now, I'd have to say their current system is successful. So, why change that?

Also, the more I think about it, the more I speculate that they will end up aligning to AA's current thresholds. If they were serious about reducing meal service on AA, they would have also changed the AA-side thresholds in April for more harmonization. September is far away, and it would make more sense to set customers' expectations properly by aligning both sides' windows in April, if changing the US side by then.

Originally Posted by Fanjet View Post
It could be a matter of the catering suppliers on the US side. The US stations which currently do not have catered meals in F, might be double-catered out of the hubs in the interim period until September, when a better system can be implemented with the suppliers. However, I don't see the current AA meal flight-length remaining longterm. Aside from key business markets, I think 800-900 miles will be the minimum.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by SJC AA View Post
The reason BA has "expedited" meal service on their eastbound TATL flights is that they offer a full meal pre-flight in the lounge, so passengers can eat dinner before boarding. The Admirals Club does not offer this service, and I suspect still won't. So, no decent meal for passengers flying AA, and even more incentive to fly on BA metal.
I do see the F/J service being downgraded to a one-tray presentation. Of course, pre-flight dining is highly unlikely to be offered at JFK (on the AA side).

As far as "new streamlined meal presentation in business class on all eastbound markets," I do expect a downgrade as to what CO customers experienced after UA "redesigned" BusinessFirst.

Last edited by Cloud1Heavy; Feb 15, 14 at 4:25 pm Reason: CO-UA
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:25 pm
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Meals changes US & AA announced - international and domestic

Source?
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Why do you think the current AA meal flight-length will not stay beyond September? If AA offers meals on short hops like they do now, they would attract more business/paid F revenue, and as they have been retaining meal service on short hops for a long time now, I'd have to say their current system is successful. So, why change that?
Where would those paying F passengers flock to? Both DL and UA have the higher distance threasholds. At least the enhanced snack offerings are a slightly better product than what DL has, and UA doesn't have at all. BTW, how much short-haul paid F is there on AA anyway?
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Old Feb 16, 14, 2:07 am
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I have seldom read a more negative bunch of scaremongering posts as on this page. How can an improvement in catering on US flights to bring them up to AA standards (which is pretty high for a US domestic airline) be interpreted as the start of a reduction of such catering overall? As for the eastbound flights to the UK/Ireland, particularly in business, is more a factor of the limited time on such routes and the desire of most in that cabin to get a good night's sleep than to eat and drink, particularly as more of those flights have lay flat beds (both AA and US metal). Yes, BA does have preflight dining, but it's certainly not the same as its F dining at most lounges. As for an incentive to fly BA, fine if you're actually paying for J, but most here are likely using eVIPs to sit in that cabin so there's no incentive to move to BA...and AA's 773s offer a much nicer J experience than BA's cramped pods.
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Old Feb 16, 14, 4:58 am
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"On the American side of the operation, domestic meal
services will remain as they are today until September."

This, to me, makes it clear that in September AA will change meal services and windows. So much for the promise that US would offer AA services, and not the other way around.

Of course, we can dream of the New American expanding meals to all domestic F flights (which BA manages to do in Club Europe, on all flights), adding a snack as a beverage accompaniment in the Main Cabin, etc., etc., etc.

Last edited by Cloud1Heavy; Feb 16, 14 at 5:03 am Reason: US
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Old Feb 16, 14, 7:14 am
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I agree, it sounds like they just split the difference for min time for meal between US (3.5hr) and AA (2hr) to end up at 2.75hr. US flyers see an improvement and AA flyers take a hit. And in typical corporate spin, they mention how many US flights will gain meals and leave out how many AA flights will lose meals which must be a MUCH higher number given the larger footprint and all the midcons from ORD/DFW that will fall between 2-2.75hrs.

If this is true, I'd have to say this is an ominous sign that AA is going to cut services towards US standards while not getting there completely. I guess you can read that as good or bad depending on how optimistic you've been.
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