March 27 2020  |  Airline & Terminal News

American Airlines adjusts food and lounge service

By Rick Lundstrom

American Airlines is making several changes in service and policies as it continues to respond to COVID-19 and its impact on passengers. Many of the changes went into effect Thursday, March 26.

The changes include temporarily closing more Admirals Club lounges, reducing flight attendant-customer interaction and maximizing space between passengers.

American is increasing chances for social distancing and decreasing contact between flight attendants and customers, American will offer limited food and beverage options from March 27 through April 30, said a release from the airline

American is looking into making bottled water and snacks available at the gate in the near future.

In response to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines, American will temporarily relax seating policies for passengers on most flights and reduce onboard food and beverage service levels.

To encourage social distancing, gate agents this week began reassigning seats to create more space between people. Once on board — provided there aren’t any aircraft weight or balance restrictions — passengers can move to another seat within their ticketed cabin, subject to availability. American will also block 50 percent of standard middle seats and all seats adjacent to flight attendant jump seats on every flight.

Because schedule changes increase the risk of stranded pets, all checked pet service will be suspended beginning March 25. Carry-on pets and service and support animals are still permitted, as long as they comply with existing requirements. American Airlines Cargo will also still accept pets for transport, but with additional restrictions.

For flights shorter than 2,200 miles or 4.5 hours

  • Alcohol will not be available in Main Cabin. Alcohol will be available on request in First Class. Beverages available on request will be limited to water, canned beverages or juice. No snacks or food for purchase will be served. Meals will not be offered in first class.
  • Alcohol will not be served in Main Cabin and Main Cabin Extra except on long-haul international flights. Alcohol will be available in First Class.
  • Other Main Cabin beverages will be served as usual. No snacks or food for purchase will be served. Main Cabin meals will be served on long-haul international flights.
  • First and Business Class meals will be served on one tray versus in courses. American will also suspend predeparture beverage service on all flights.

For flights longer that 2,200 miles

"Our flight attendants spend the most time with our customers and play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of our customers," said Jill Surdek, Senior Vice President of Flight Service. "As a result of working with our flight attendant team and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, we are taking these necessary steps today and will continue to update our policies in response to guidance from the CDC."

American will temporarily close most Admirals Club lounges, but will maintain front desk customer service at large U.S. airports and at London’s Heathrow Airport.