American Is Making This Major Change to Flights, Starting Feb. 16

The airline has decided to lift this pandemic-era restriction.

Air travel has been evolving for decades. Some of these changes, like less legroom on planes, have been made to the detriment of passengers—while other developments, such as more direct flights, have been quite beneficial. Over the last two years, airlines have been forced to make major adjustments as a direct result of the COVID pandemic. All U.S. carriers currently require masks to be worn onboard by law, but various airlines have also shifted service amid the spread of the virus. And those rules are constantly evolving: In fact, American Airlines just announced a big change to one of its in-flight services, which is set to go into effect in just a week. Read on to find out how your next trip with this carrier might look different.

RELATED: American Is Cutting Flights From These 4 Major Cities, Starting May 1.

American Airlines is bringing hot meals back to its flights.

Airline meal served in the business class.

If you often fly hungry, you're in luck. American Airlines confirmed that it will soon be bringing hot meals back to premium cabins on its flights, The Points Guy reported. Starting Feb. 16, first-class passengers on domestic, Canada, and Puerto Rico flights longer than 1,500 miles will have access to warm mixed nuts; new cold and hot entrees for breakfast; a salad, appetizer, and choice of hot entree for lunch and dinner; and a sorbet or ice cream cup or fruit and cheese plate for dessert.

"Several fan-favorites are making a comeback, such as charcuterie and short rib, while other dishes will be new for the carrier, including grain bowls and entree-size salads," the travel news site reported.

Meals will be reintroduced in a rolling manner.

Chicago, IL, USA - July 17, 2017: American Airlines fleet of airplanes with passengers at O'Hare Airport passing through corridor.

Not every flight will have access to hot meal service next week. American told The Points Guy that hot meals will become available across its short-haul network on a rolling basis—but it hopes to have the rollout complete by the end of February. Later in the month, new first-class meals will start being served on U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico routes between 900 and 1,499 miles long.

"Expect the entree to be lighter than what's served on the longer routes," The Points Guy warned. And for flights shorter than 900 miles, passengers will still only have access to a choice of pre-packaged snacks from a basket.

RELATED: For more travel news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

American will introduce more changes to its meals in the coming months.


While American's meals with be served all on one tray to minimize touch points, this could change in the coming months with other planned service changes. In April, the carrier said it will restart its pre-order meal option. This allows passengers to select their preferred meal choice anywhere from 30 days to 24 hours before their flight so they will be guaranteed to receive their first choice. And in May, American Airlines said it will bring back special meals to its menu, such as kosher, vegetarian, and diabetic options.

But the airline is still banning one popular in-flight service.

Man holding glass of sparkling wine against airplane window.

Between Delta, American, and United, American is the last of the three major U.S. carriers to bring hot meals back to domestic first class, according to The Points Guy. But this airline will offer the most comprehensive selection of options when the service does return, as neither Delta nor United have given a timeline for the return of special meals.

On the other hand, American Airlines is still holding off on one perk that all other major carriers have brought back: alcohol. Delta resumed alcohol service in summer 2020, United's alcohol sales returned in November, and Southwest Airlines recently announced that it would bring back alcoholic beverages on flights in February. For its part, American has not set a date to resume alcohol sales, according to CNN.

"We will continue to evaluate the situation and work closely with the union that represents our flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, and medical experts on this process to determine when we will return to full service in the main cabin," the airline said in a statement to the news outlet.

RELATED: American Airlines Is Getting Rid of This on Flights, Effective Immediately.

Filed Under