Thoughts On Recent Domestic First Class Meals

Inflight service and catering are in transition for most airlines. To minimize contact between crew and passengers, airlines drastically reduced their service at the beginning of the pandemic. Several airlines now offer service again, but slowly.
This post will share my domestic first-class meal service experiences from recent flights. In no particular order:

Delta first class dinner, New York to Tampa

First, I was amazed that Ford and me both received our first-class upgrades as SkyMiles Silver Medallion Members. Although I could have paid full price for first-class (it cost an additional $120, which is less than I value first class at), the upgrade felt like a no-brainer. I booked the flight a week in advance and first class was empty. Comfort+ and the exit rows were also very full. It worked.

I didn't expect to receive anything more than a snack box or a snack bag, so it was surprising to receive something substantial. There were three options for dinner: a chicken salad sandwich or a prosciutto sandwich and a superfood box. All meals came in individual boxes.

The chicken salad sandwich came with a package of sea salt chips and a chocolate chip cookie. It was quite good. It was light and fluffy, which made it a real treat.

Delta Air Lines first class dinner snack

The superfood bowl was the best of both the items we ordered. It was served with sourdough bread flatbread.

Delta Air Lines first class dinner snack

While I don't want to offer airlines any suggestions for improvements, why can't they just serve something so simple and healthy? Instead of cheese ravioli and a cheese plate, I prefer something similar, which is ideally presented properly. Delta deserves kudos for the superfood bowl.

American Airlines First Class Breakfast from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas

American Airlines used to serve bistro boxes for some time, but recently they brought back food on trays. If you ask me, the current version of this is a joke. The options were fruit, yogurt, salmon, and other stuff.

One option was strawberry yogurt, some cream cheese, some granola and some grapes.

American Airlines First Class Breakfast Snack

Another option was strawberry yogurt, a slice egg, some smoked salmon and grapes, berries and one strawberry. I don't know what the thought process is. What is the best way to make a sandwich of stale pretzel bread with salmon, egg and cream cheese?

American Airlines First Class Breakfast Snack

It was almost as if someone from the catering company went to the supermarket and bought the item on sale. Then they put everything on one tray.

American Airlines First Class Breakfast from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale

The breakfast was a bit disappointing, but the dinner was excellent. You could choose from a fruit-and-grain salad or a turkey sandwich.

The fruit and grain salad was actually quite good and healthy. It came with grapes, strawberries, hummus, crudites, air-popped chips, and a brownie.

American Airlines first class dinner snack

Personally, I prefer this to American food served before the pandemic. I'd be happy to see this continue (preferably with fewer plastic containers).

The other dish was quite different. The turkey and cheese sandwich was served on a stale pretzel bread with side salad and cheese. It was very similar to the breakfast and gave off the same vibes as the final clearance at the supermarket.

American Airlines first class dinner snack

Bottom line

Many airlines are gradually restoring inflight service. My last two domestic first class flights had more domestic food than any other flight I have taken in the past 18 month.

These seem to be interim solutions in all cases, so I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from what is available at the moment. Both American and Delta deserve credit for the delicious salads they provided, which I found more enjoyable than any pre-coronavirus catering I received on either airline. These salads would be great to have, especially if they were served on real plates.

For domestic flights, airlines love to live a champagne lifestyle with a beer budget approach to catering. If you have a small catering budget, I would prefer that you don't serve lobster, wagyu, or any other type of food. Try to do something simple and well.

The rest of the food was less impressive. Although I don't know why airlines aren't heating bread rolls, I believe they should remind themselves that airline bread rolls at room temperature aren't good. Period.

What was your experience with domestic first class in the United States?