American Airlines has made the small but important step of restoring espresso provisioning to its premium-cabin product on longhaul and transcontinental aircraft. It’s the little things that matter and this move puts the premium back into premium cabin.
Espresso Returns To American Airlines
To its credit, American Airlines was the first of the three legacy U.S. carriers to restore service in international and transcontinental premium cabins to the pre-pandemic norm. While United and especially Delta skimped on food and drinks to save money, American offered a surprisingly-decent menu on its premium flights even in the bowels of the pandemic.
But one year ago, American Airlines dropped espresso-based drinks from its onboard menu “to help conserve fuel and prevent confusion about what services are currently offered.” As it turned out, only “frothing wands, cups, saucers, [and] brewing pods” were removed, not the machines themselves (so much for the fuel savings…).
Clearly, this was not about consumer confusion or fuel, but simply about trying to trim costs.
One year later, thankfully, View From the Wing reports that espresso is once again being provisioned onboard.
American offers espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes on select aircraft, including:
- Airbus A321T
- Boeing 777-300ER
- Boeing 787
These drinks are often not advertised (though historically they appeared in small print on the menu, even in business class), but represent a far better onboard coffee than the Fresh Brew (frequent flyers call it “fresh poo”) coffee served to the rest of the plane.
As a self-proclaimed coffee snob, it is very true that water matters greatly, but that does not stop me from drinking coffee onboard airplanes…I’ll take that risk, even though I can certainly taste the compromise in flavor.
Hint: ask flight attendants to use bottled water to make the coffee. It’s worth asking…
Kudos to American Airlines for bringing back espresso onboard. I’m grateful for that and hope Delta will soon turn on its espresso machines (onboard select Airbus A350s and Boeing 767s). Continental Airlines used to offer espresso-based rinks onboard, but after the United merger, ex-CEO Jeff Smisek ordered them ripped out. Here’s to hoping AA’s example will inspire other airlines to follow.