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Airline Food in First Class --

  • j

Next weekend I get to fly First Class on American Airlines from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Wondered if anyone out there has tips for me to make the most of it -- food and drink-wise --

Chicken or fish? Or should I request one of their special dietary meals -- usually in Coach those meals end up being better than the usual.

Is it worth saving room for dessert? I am usually on the wrong side of the curtain in coach and catch the wonderful wafts of chocolate chip cookies warming in First Class. Are they as good as they smell?

Do they do anything exceptionally/surprisingly well?

Thanks.

J.

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  1. It depends on when you are flying. I work for the competition, but this is from AA's web site:

    "Complimentary food service is offered in First Class on all flights system-wide that have flying times over two hours and that operate within traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner times. Generally, a snack service will be provided on flights greater than two and a half hours that fall outside of a traditional meal time."

    Check out their web site. Most major airlines have links to inflight services including entertainment, meals, etc. AA's web site includes North American and Caribbean service. There's a link to special meals, also.

    www.aa.com > travel information > during your flight > dining > North America and Caribbean Meal Service

    Special meals are better in the back because they are special made closer to flight time, but this is not necessarily so in the front.

    Just as a note, North American domestic first class meal service is nice, but it's not what you would get on a Transatlantic or Transpacific flight, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

    And you should be able to make your selection now, before you check in.

    Have a great flight!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Loren3

      British Airways - business class is laways as if I'm in US Airways 1st class - BA's service is always the finest!

    2. My first class experience (limited, and it's been on Continental) is that they'll give you a choice of two meals BUT they will have prepared half and half, so if by the time the flight attendant gets to you and all of one of the meals has been spoken for, you get the other choice. One time the choice was between a heated lasagne and a seafood salad. I was in the third row of a three-row first class and everyone ahead of us of course took the lasagne so we were stuck with the seafood salad. And it was vile. If you can request in advance, I'd recommend it.

      The cookies are comparable to Mrs. Fields.

      1. <<Do they do anything exceptionally/surprisingly well?>>

        No. Your meal will be more palatable than what they serve in coach (assuming there's meal service in coach--not a safe assumption these days). But it's still airplane food. Whatever you eat will have been pre-cooked and reheated. So rather than looking for chicken, fish, etc, look for a preparation method that lends itself to tasty leftovers.

        At least you'll have linens, a plate, and real glassware. Better wine is available than the Sutter Home splits you can buy in the back, but don't expect a premier cru. And the cookies, while made from a commercial dough batter, are still pretty good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alanbarnes

          meals in coach?? just about totally extinct. cant remember the last time i was offered other than soda and MAYBE pretzels or an overpriced 7 dollar sandwich.

        2. Food is definitely better than coach, but still nothing to get excited about,especially AA domestic relatively short hops like Chicago to LA. I'm sure all the airlines are the same.

          I don't recall ever having a choice between between chicken and fish. Usually beef and something else - chicken, pasta or fish- or pasta and something else.

          If you can select now, as Loren3 suggests, do it - they invariably run out of one or the other choice , as jim1126 experienced. I find the cookies exceedingly sweet,but H loves them. Can't remember which flights (dinner? transatlantic? or ??) on which they serve heated nuts to start, but they're probably the best thing about the food. Also don't remember on which flights(probably dinner), but AA does sundaes as you like them for dessert, generally only available with one flavor ice cream. IIRC, if you order a special meal, you get the same one you would get in coach.

          What they do really well is keeping your glass filled, no matter what you're drinking.

          1. Manage your expectations, the food on all domestic carriers is basic airplane crap. Most times jfood skips the food all together, it just isn;t worth the time or the energy. To give you an idea of the quality, next time in the grocer, go to the freezer section and look at the pictures. Then think what's inside. Same sorta analysis.

            That being said, the airlines do make GREAT chocolate chip cookies. It's basicallythe only edible choice.

            Sorry for the bad news but on a ORD-LAX run, jfood would probably have a pizza at Wolfgang's before boarding and maybe sneak a hot dog on board. It's only a few hours.

            6 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              Well, thanks for tempering my expectations. But with the bigger seats, cloth napkins and free flowing wine, it should still be worth the 15,000 miles, right?

              Sometimes it's about more than just food.

              At least that's what I hear... :)

              1. re: JLF

                Oh yes! And the nuts are quite good.

                1. re: JLF

                  On AA they redid their coach cabin a few years ago (remember the slogan more legroom throughout) and converted to mostly high density seat pitch (now less legroom everywhere). So the added room in First is worth it alone. If you are looking for free booze, then you have an added benefit. Likewise the chance of a screaming baby or difficult seatmate is also reduced.

                  BTW - jfood giggles at mentioning the cloth napkin, never really thought about that. And AA has the napkin with the little hole in it so you can place your top button in the hole and the napkin does a nice job as a "table cloth" for your shirt/blouse.

                  Just lean back and enjoy the flight and the weather in LA will be oodles better than you've had in Chi-town recently.

                  Safe flight.

                  1. re: jfood

                    The reason for doing this is that most people just wouldn't pay for the extra legroom.

                  1. re: jfood

                    I agree 100%....I fly v. often on UA in First/Bussines from SFO-ORD or SFO-pick an airport on the east coast and back and food is just edible. And yest I usually buy a WP pizza or sushi take out before boarding because quality is that much better. On international flights on United the food gets better but not by much....