US Airways and American Airlines are starting to align policies as Doug Parker’s teams takes over the new American Airlines and focuses on increasing revenue and destroying what is left of what use to be good. With only four major airlines left in the United States (Delta, United, American, Southwest), and only three with a global footprint, the airlines are at the helm to make flying as miserable as possible and charge more than ever before.
Yesterday, the same day that the AP reported that average roundtrip airfare in the United States is up $14 over last year to $509 per round trip and airfare prices outpaced inflation at 2.9% to 2.1% respectively, Doug #Parked frequent fliers and domestic first class travelers by announcing the airline was scaling back meal service in first class through North America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
The new meal policy which goes into effect September first mimic the former policy at US Airways than American’s and are more limiting than United and Delta meal time policies.
United serves meals on flights longer than 900 miles, and Delta serves meals on flights longer than 800 miles, making American the most restrictive legacy carrier when it comes to feeding passengers in the forward cabin. Meanwhile, airlines such as Alaska and Virgin serve meals even on short flights such as the 679 mile flight between San Francisco and Seattle!
American has said that they will continue to serve meals on select routes that are less than 999 miles. These include routes that the airline competes with other legacy carriers on between their hubs and the competitors hubs, or certain business markets/focus cities, however flights between American’ hubs such as Dallas and Phoenix will be losing meal service.
The following cities will retain meal service:
How does this affect you? The follow map shows a 999 mile ring around each airport, notice that if flying to Premerger American hubs Chicago and Dallas that a 999 mile radius includes the majority of the country, meaning most of America will go hungry when seated in the forward cabin. Sure airplane food is not that great, but it is a great perk of being upgraded and just another frequent flyer benefit that airline mergers are eroding.
999 mile radius around each of AA/US Hubs which will be the no meal service zones
Furthermore, this is a huge change for American airline first class fliers and elites as meals will now be served only on flights longer than 999 miles or 2 hours and 45 minutes. The former standard required a light meal service on all flights longer than 2 hours ~730miles and a full meal service on flights longer than 3 hours. Below is an excerpt from the previous meal standards at American Airlines
The former AA meal schedule service protocol
Still not convinced that this is a major change? Check out this map that compares the old vs new meal time radii. The inner blue circles repersent the Premerger AA hubs 2 hour meal time radius, whereas the outer red circle represents the new 999 mile radius. Notice there is a huge part of the country loosing meal service.
Old no meal radius vs new
I am clearly disappointed in Doug Parker’s and team decision to cut meal times, further erode first class offerings, and slowly turn AA into a replica of US(less) Airways. What are your thoughts? Do you care that meals are being reduced on flights or the forward cabin? Do you think other legacy carriers may follow? How will this affect your decision when booking tickets?