Fortunately, you weren’t missing much anyway….
Airlines are caught in an unenviable position, faced with brutal daily losses, while also enduring an uphill battle to win customers back. At some point, it wouldn’t be wrong for customers itching to get back to the skies to think that airlines would launch a charm offensive, bringing back all the things which seemed to have gone missing over the last few years, but not at American.
After billions in US Government bailouts, American has chosen to go the other way, raising baggage fees and slashing away and further reducing, or even removing meal service on flights, even in first class. As other airlines bolster their food and beverage offerings, it’s hard to understand the logic.
American is removing food almost entirely, even on flights up to five hours long on routes deemed “non” premium. Premium routes like New York to Los Angeles are spared, but shockingly, some international, and even the longest domestic routes such as Los Angeles Hawaii are not.
These flights, some of which are circa 5 hours and can command hefty price tags, particularly in first class, will only receive a cheese and fruit tray. The “bang” for your buck, never had less “bang”. The new mandates mean that domestic, and a few international flights from 900 miles to over 2,200 miles will receive this simplified and much reduced service, with the exception of connecting New York with Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
For smaller hub cities like Philadelphia, or Miami virtually all West Coast flights will operate with this simple stick of cheese and some grapes service, as per View From The Wing. Yes, in “first class”, customers can expect a single cheese and fruit tray, which will likely due little justice to cheese, or fruit, and beverages upon request.
Complimentary Upgrades Causing Cuts?
I’ve never been much for eating on planes, and largely do self cater where possible. But that doesn’t mean this is right, fair, or good. Many airlines are flying into these uncertain and uneasy times by bringing as much normalcy and comfort to the flying experience as possible. Short term losses may lead to long term customers, and getting those who do fly to enjoy the experience could be considered more important than ever.
For US Airlines, they face a greater challenge than many around the world, because more seats up front go to those who didn’t pay for them than anywhere else. US airlines are among the few in the world which offer comp’d upgrades to elite frequent flyers, and with planes flying empty, even the lowest tier travelers are finding seats in first class.
For European and Asian airlines, most of which don’t offer complimentary upgrades even on short flights, it’s easier to keep premium service going up front, because most enjoying it paid a premium for the experience. Is that the customers fault? No. Does it justify American’s new service cuts? No.
The question becomes how an airline like American will ever entice people to pay for these upgraded seats ever again, while offering so little.