Each week, my Meal of the Week feature examines an airline meal from my travels over the years. This may be a meal from earlier in the week or it may be a meal served over a decade ago.
The big-three U.S. legacy airlines tend to mimic one another. If one cuts, the other two cut. If one adds, the other two add. But when it comes to first class meals on a select shorter flights, American Airlines continues to outshine United.
This week, I highlight the difference in meal service between American Airlines and United Airlines on a flight from Washington, DC to Chicago. It’s a 612-mile flight and takes about two hours.
Fly United in the front cabin and you’ll be offered items from the snack basket during you flight:
Fly American Airlines during meal hours and you’ll be offered a full meal. A good one, I might add. On my flight, I was offered a choice of Cobb salad or creamy tortellini pasta. Service began with a large ramekin of mixed nuts. The main course included the tasty tortellini, hot bread, and a side salad. A hot chocolate chip cookie was offered for dessert.
Talk about a substantial difference! I don’t fly domestically for the meal service and will still stick to United this year, but I applaud American for offering far superior meal choices plus the ability to order in advance online.
Do note, however, that DCA-ORD is an AA exception market. In other words, you will not get this meal on all 600-miles AA flights in first class, only on about a dozen routes listed here. Still, it a market where AA strongly beats UA.
United used to offer meals on this route during its “Business1” program. That was over a decade ago, though, and it has been many years since we have seen a meal on this and other shorter routes.
American Airlines (rightfully) takes a lot of grief, but what a welcome change the hot lunch was on this flight over what I am accustomed to on United Airlines.
Do you prefer meal service on American Airlines or United Airlines?