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The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 3:42 pm
by ClassicLover
For all the pictures that go with this report, please click here.

One thing that always irritates me when flying in the USA on shorter domestic flights in first class is the snack basket. You don't get actual food, you get a basket of pre-packaged snacks to choose from. This is usually on flights up to around two and a half hours in duration, which is quite long. On American Airlines, flights up to 900 miles in first class get the snack basket passed around. Alas, Denver to LA is 862 miles, just missing out on real meals.

When flying business class on the European airlines, you always get a decent meal, most often plated, though sometimes not (KLM serves theirs in a box). Either way, what you get is far nicer than something like a tiny packet of crisps.

AA1164 – Denver to Los Angeles (DEN-LAX)
31 January 2022
Airbus A319 – N746UW
Seat: First Class 1A
Departure: 16:33 Arrival: 18:10


Boarding was on time and as I was in Group 1, I was quickly on board and settled into my seat. The first class cabin – business class everywhere else around the world – consists of two rows of four seats.

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Once everyone was seated, the crew did the safety demonstration. After a quick enough taxi, it was a rolling take-off for us and we headed into the sky. Drinks orders were taken once in the air and I opted for a Mimosa and a water. I find the sparkling wine on AA to be rotgut on its own, but it’s quite drinkable with juice in, so that is my go to.

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The crew came around with the snack basket, serving people from the back to the front. She was emphatic for everyone to, “take as much as you want, there’s plenty more”, and also said something indicating she wouldn’t be passing the basket around all the time. Fair enough!

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In the basket are crisps (there are about three in the packet), trail mix, almonds, corn, and brownie brittle. On a previous flight I took two of everything from the basket and have since tried them all. Everything is very tasty, so no complaints there. Up front just by the cockpit door is a little room and inside there you will find the bathroom. There will be no bath there however, but you will find everything else useful.

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Flying along to LA, I was offered and accepted another Mimosa and found the service from the flight attendant very good. Eventually we descended and landed on time. I hotfooted it off to Terminal B for my connecting flight to London, my first time doing that walk.

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Look, the snack basket in domestic first class on American Airlines has been around for ages. Since all the airlines stateside seem to do it, it will be around for a long time. No use me bitching about it, but I do, as it cost me around US$250 for the flight. By comparison, this is what I had the next day on British Airways on a 280 mile flight.

Hell, if you really want to have a good cry, here’s the gorgeousness Swiss served on a 771 mile flight in 2020. Both of these flights are shorter than the AA flight here and nary a snack basket in sight. “But the seat!” I hear you cry. Seat schmeat. Give me great food any day of the week. Since I knew what I was getting into, the flight in American’s domestic first class with no food was fine.

What do you think of the snack basket and this experience? Have you had similar? Thank you for reading, remember, to see all the pictures, click here, and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 6:33 pm
by zrs70
There are pluses and minuses with the European versus North American versions. Here in the United States, we get a bigger seat with more legroom. In Europe they get a meal and club access.

I would hardly call it insulting. But is the room for improvement? Of course!

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 7:48 pm
by IFlyVeryLittle
This will probably get me banned or disappeared, but griping about the free snacks (then taking two of everything), the quality of the bubbly and then playing the "Europe does it Better'' card whilst traveling in first class for $250 on a US airline isn't the best look, if I'm being honest.

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:00 am
by ClassicLover
zrs70 wrote:
I would hardly call it insulting. But is the room for improvement? Of course!


There's always room for improvement, that's for sure.

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
This will probably get me banned or disappeared, but griping about the free snacks (then taking two of everything), the quality of the bubbly and then playing the "Europe does it Better'' card whilst traveling in first class for $250 on a US airline isn't the best look, if I'm being honest.


I don't see why you would be banned for being honest.

Just to be clear, the two of everything was not on this flight, it was on a JFK-LAX several days before which had a full meal service and where the basket was there for anyone to self-service from in addition to the meal. That's where I helped myself to two of everything as I wanted to sample it all, which is totally fine.

On this flight, I had precisely one packet of crisps which had about three chips inside. As the only food available on a flight of over two hours, it is not good enough. Have you tried the bubbly offered in domestic first class on AA? It's awful on its own. Europe does do it better when it comes to inflight catering domestically in a premium class, and $250 is a lot of money to spend on a flight to get a packet of crisps.

You're welcome to your opinion of course, and thanks for taking the time to give your feedback!

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 12:32 am
by FLYFIRSTCLASS
When you are flying American Airlines, you are definitely flying the bottom of the barrel. AA ranks worse than F9 and NK, so there ya go. AA is really struggling financially, may not be here in a few years.

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 6:31 am
by usxguy
I'll take a wider seat with more legroom than Europe's tight seat pitch and blocked middle although some airlines place a tray table there... I've truely been impressed with intra-Europe Biz class, however I prefer my legroom and wider seat than a classy meal on a flight, to be honest. I've been shocked to see Swiss feed us on FRA-ZRH and even ZRH-GVA!

But at least in America, you board from a gate -> jetway -> airplane and don't waste time on an airport transit bus. Nothing like boarding an hour early to be in a bus, drive 20 minutes to your plane, and then sit there for another 20 since the crew wasn't ready to board.

If we're still comparing US and Europe, ya'll also win on the wine! <3 <3 <3

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 3:19 am
by F9Animal
Sigh... Yeah, the service levels on almost all the airlines are kind of meh anymore in first class, especially flights that are 2 to 3 hours.

Re: The American Airlines snack basket is insulting as "inflight catering" for first class on Denver to LA.

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2022 8:37 am
by ClassicLover
FLYFIRSTCLASS wrote:
When you are flying American Airlines, you are definitely flying the bottom of the barrel. AA ranks worse than F9 and NK, so there ya go. AA is really struggling financially, may not be here in a few years.


I wouldn't say that. I think American Airlines are quite good on their long-haul flights and the transcontinental services. I wouldn't say they are bottom of the barrel at all.

usxguy wrote:
I'll take a wider seat with more legroom than Europe's tight seat pitch and blocked middle although some airlines place a tray table there... I've truely been impressed with intra-Europe Biz class, however I prefer my legroom and wider seat than a classy meal on a flight, to be honest. I've been shocked to see Swiss feed us on FRA-ZRH and even ZRH-GVA!

But at least in America, you board from a gate -> jetway -> airplane and don't waste time on an airport transit bus. Nothing like boarding an hour early to be in a bus, drive 20 minutes to your plane, and then sit there for another 20 since the crew wasn't ready to board.

If we're still comparing US and Europe, ya'll also win on the wine! <3 <3 <3


Nothing wrong with the wider seat, I certainly quite like it myself. If I was asked to choose, all else being equal, of course I'd take that. However since the choice is big seat, no food or standard seat with middle seat free and a great meal, I prefer the latter.

Far prefer boarding from a jetway as well. I can't stand airport buses - right with you on that!

F9Animal wrote:
Sigh... Yeah, the service levels on almost all the airlines are kind of meh anymore in first class, especially flights that are 2 to 3 hours.


Such a shame!!