American Airlines Cutting First Class Meals For Shorter Flights

It always seemed a bit silly and extravagant to me that first class travelers received full meals, even on short flights. But when you pay so much to sit in that VIP section, you have to get something better than just more legroom and nicer flight attendants. Alas, now that American and US Airways have merged, it’s time for the couple to start getting rid of stuff they don’t think they’ll need for the future together — and that includes food for all top-dollar passengers on short flights.

Starting Sept. 1, first class passengers on flights shorter than 700 miles will receive “a light snack such as a fig bar, cookies or pretzels.”

We can already sense your mouths watering. Stop it; it’s not polite to drool.

Flights between 700 and 999 miles get a slight upgrade, with a “heartier selection of snacks such as sandwiches and fresh fruit.”

Thank heaven you paid a king’s ransom for those seats.

Interestingly, the airline is keeping its three-course meal offerings intact for certain mid-distance flights. For example, traveling from Chicago O’Hare to Logan International in Boston will score you the deluxe meal you expect. So the new American is fine with ticking off some high-price travelers but not on every route.

If you want something resembling the old school first class experience, you’ve got to travel at least 1,000 miles. That gets you “warmed mixed nuts, followed by a three-course meal including a warm cookie for dessert.”

While we don’t expect most people to feel sorry for anyone who can afford to fly first class, it’s interesting to see an airline chiseling away at the few remaining vestiges of luxury air travel, all the while demanding fees from coach travelers who expect anything resembling civility and comfort during their flying experience.

[via BusinessWeek]