American Airlines is adding service components to its first class and business class international service.
The new premium inflight experience has launched onboard American's aircraft flying in Europe, Asia and long-haul Latin America markets. American's 777-300ER also will offer the elevated elements when the aircraft goes into service Jan. 31.
"As we build toward a new, more modern airline, we have thoughtfully considered each detail of the international premium experience from beginning to end by providing high-quality amenities and dining options that our customers expect," said Rob Friedman, American's vice president – marketing, in a release. "By delivering a service that offers such personalization, we are able to provide an enhanced inflight experience that truly meets the expectations of our premium customers, and reminds them of home or their favorite restaurant."
American is plugging the enhancements at aa.com/flyincomfort.
Upon boarding, first-class customers will receive a welcome aboard card and an amenity kit, stocked with Dermalogica skincare products that doubles as a tablet case. In addition, customers will receive upgraded closed-toe slippers, an additional pillow and the choice of a specialty mimosa. Business-class updates include new slippers and an amenity kit with Akhassa cosmetics.
While inflight, first- and business-class customers can choose from new menu selections that will be served on updated, more modern china along with new flatware and upgraded linens. In addition, first-class customers will receive other specially designed items including a textured placemat, napkin ring, accent water glass and an amuse-bouche, a bite-size hors d'œuvre.
Designed to resemble the personalized service provided in an upscale restaurant, first-class customers' entrees and beverages will be hand-delivered. Food and beverage enhancements will include more variety and selections, including the introduction of a soup option and a customizable pasta entrée.
First-class customers will also see an expansion of American's signature ice cream sundaes with a featured sundae option, a breakfast card (similar to hotel room service), increased bread options and a pre-landing sweet treat and spa water.
A wine sampling will be offered inflight for first-class customers. Customers will receive a tasting card to assist in their selections for the remainder of the flight, and all offerings will be specially chosen for the flight by American's wine consultant, Ken Chase. Business-class customers will also be offered newly designed food elements and a customized sundae from the airline's popular dessert cart.
In addition, premium-class customers on the 777-300ER aircraft will be offered a bar with a selection of snacks, sandwiches and assorted sweets, available between the first and last meals.
The enhancements are part of a larger product improvement program to American's international long-haul premium cabin product, said Henry H. Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and strategist, Hudson Crossing.
The airline has already announced the more important enhancements, including new first-class seats in its fleet of new Boeing 777-300s, and new lie-flat business class seats for its 777-300s, 777-200s, and some of its 767-300s.
“These improvements are the ones that will really move the meter, because the most important part of the premium cabin experience is being comfortable and productive,” Harteveldt tells Marketing Daily.
The "soft product" upgrades will help the airline catch up to other airlines. The upgrades sound very nice, but they're not innovative, he says.
Delta already offers square-shaped plates, Continental offers custom-made pasta and KLM allows overnight business-class customers to offer breakfast on a "room service"-like menu card. Virgin Atlantic pioneered “dine when you want” in the early 2000s, and United offered it on its long-haul flights in first class several years ago.
“Nonetheless, what American is doing is important, because the ‘creature comforts’ can help improve passenger satisfaction,” Harteveldt says. “A business-class passenger can be five times (or more) more profitable than an economy passenger. Investing in its premium cabin experience is a smart business and marketing move. It's not just a matter of prestige -- this is literally where American's biggest profits are earned.”