Review: American Airlines pre-order onboard food offer for premium JFK routes

Last week I had a work trip to New York and flew American Airlines instead of my favorite United Airlines p.s. flights between LAX and JFK since I’m taking the challenge to achieve Platinum status in the AAdvantage program. I’ve been fortunate to have always flown in United’s Business Class on this route, so this was my first time in economy and I received the following email a few days before my trip.

a screenshot of a website

American started this trial pre-order offer for the LAX/SFO-JFK flights April 1st and it runs through August 31st this year. Wanting to continue experiencing all things American Airlines, I signed up and was offered the following selections for my early afternoon flight to JFK:

a screenshot of a menu

These seem to be the same food options found on regular American flights and I chose the chicken Caesar salad. When I arrived at the airport I ended up eating at a restaurant having a full lunch before I headed for the boarding gate. The terms of pre-order service (appearing below) state no cancellations are allowed, so I figured I’d ask to have the salad later in the flight since I wouldn’t be hungry when the initial service began.

a white text on a black background

I assumed the pre-order process would be similar to a special meal order where flight attendants have a galley manifest showing the names and seat locations for those passengers with requests. As such, I expected to be approached and/or paged once the flight attendants worked the list, and waited patiently for that to happen. After the first hour or so went by and not feeling particularly hungry, I decided to instead just let it ride to see if there would be any contact attempted. None was, we landed in New York and I made my way to my hotel.

I believe United also used to offer a pre-order option for the premium service flights to/from JFK, but hunting through the website just now it appears they no longer do. My guess is there just wasn’t enough interest or activity to keep it going, and I’ll predict American’s program will end after the trial period, especially since there didn’t seem to be any onboard accountability. As it was, very few people around my seat seemed to order anything at all and I think the vast majority of people flying coach these days know what to expect and plan their food options accordingly, often not relying on what the airline might offer. So, I’ll just tally it up to another experience with American I hadn’t had before, but certainly wouldn’t repeat. Have any of my readers pre-ordered food & had a different experience?

Hope everyone has a safe & happy Forth of July weekend!


    • Hi Gene, I never paid since payment for the pre-order was to be handled onboard, so that’s why I assumed they’d have a manifest and seek me out. It just so happens that yesterday American’s PR firm contacted me to get my flight information so they could investigate it further. Once I hear back from them I’ll be sure to make a new posting revealing the outcome of their research.

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