I have a confession to make. As weird as it is to hear, I actually kind of like airplane food. Part of it is being stuck in a hollow metal tube for a couple of hours without much to do, but I have had some good meals on airplanes. Still, it helps to have as much choice as possible. One of the cool things American Airlines does for those in first class is let you select your own meal in advance. I had an upgrade clear well in advance for this flight, so last night I tried the American Airlines diabetic meal on my dinner flight from Dallas to Tampa. It wasn’t the best airline meal I ever had, but it was really good.
So what do you have to do?
On domestic flights, you have to be in first class to select a meal You can log in 30 days before your flight, and you must make your selection at least 24 hours before the flight. That means you cannot use this option with a last minute upgrade or ticket. Those not making a selection in advance can choose between two standard options. Last night those choices were a lasagna and a charcuterie plate.
There is actually a pretty wide variety of options. I could have selected the charcuterie plate or the lasagna. That would have guaranteed they did not run out of my preferred choice. There was also a harvest grain bowl, a Muslim meal, a Kosher meal, a Hindu meal, and a variety of other options. I am not diabetic, but I went with the American Airlines diabetic meal. Similarly, any member of any group can order any of the religious or dietarily affiliated choices. American explains more here.
What was included with the American Airlines diabetic meal?
My flight started with a pre-departure beverage, which is honestly hit and miss. Still, that is a nice start to this particular flight. Shortly after takeoff we were offered another round of drinks. I went with a Woodford Reserve bourbon, which is a fantastic choice for a free airline drink. We also got a warm ramekin of nuts and a warm washcloth to freshen up a bit.
In terms of the meal itself, it was all served at once. That is pretty standard for a 2-3 hour flight. There was a weird dichotomy in what they presented– it was actually great food, but I am not sure it was appropriate for a diabetic meal.
Some things were clearly appropriate. The chicken breast in Mystery Sauce actually tasted great and was moist. The salad with a oil and vinegar dressing and sub dried tomatoes was pleasant, and the shrimp cocktail was nice. It needed a sauce, but it was nice. I enjoyed everything else on the plate, but I am not sure why it came with the diabetic meal. Look at this close up of the entree, for example:
The vegetable on the right is carrots with what tasted like a sweet glaze. The rectangle on the left is a corn cake. Both were really good, and I ate them since I am not diabetic. However, they were a weird flex for this particular offering. The same was true for the roll and the pre-packaged cookies.
So what is the bottom line here?
Overall, if you get the chance you should absolutely pre-order your meal on American. It tends to be nicer stuff more freshly prepared. I really appreciate that they offer this option. There is, however, wide variability in the meals depending on the airport. In the case of the American Airlines diabetic meal, there were also some weird choices for that particular set of dietary needs. I will write more on the way back, when I have ordered the Hindu meal.