7 AMAZING Facts About American’s Free In-Flight Taco Bar

Posted in American Airlines, Domestic US, Fly&Dine Weekend Question, Morocco, On the Ground

BREAKING: I just got off the phone with an American Airlines spokesperson (who I won’t name for fear of losing his/her job at divulging advance information) and there is a development so delicious coming down the pipeline that you will most likely cancel all existing reservations and rebook your travel plans exclusively with American from now on. That development? An in-flight taco bar.

While most airlines have opened some variation of the self-service snack bar on international flights, American is the first (that I know of) to offer a self-service bar for all passengers during domestic flights.

“We got the idea from Mexican restaurants,” says that unnamed spokesperson. “You know how they have free chips on the table before you even buy anything? We were like ‘we could do that with tacos — AFTER you already buy something.'” And so aviation’s greatest idea was born.

Here’s how it works: Once a plane reaches cruising altitude on flights of two hours of longer, the flight attendants will announce that the taco bar is now open. Each boarding group gets access for ten minutes at a time until all of the boarding groups are served. Once that happens, it’s a free-for-all and anyone can go up for seconds. Genius.

In addition to this amazing news, my contact also gave me some really fun facts about the new in-flight taco bar:


1. The ground beef used comes from American’s own cattle ranch.

Everyone knows Texas is cattle country and American decided to pay tribute to its home base in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area by purchasing a fully-functional cattle ranch. In addition to using the beef for their premium cabin meals, they use the excess beef (known in the industry as “chuff”) to make the ground beef for the tacos. These are all-natural, antibiotic-free tacos, people.


2. AA’s taco cheese is actually a blend of six authentic Mexican cheeses.

I couldn’t get the full details as to which six cheeses are used, but I know they’re going to use a combination of chihuahua, panela, and quesillo for sure. This is supposed to create a “tour of Mexico” effect and lead to a dramatically flavorful cheese blend. If you know what the other cheeses are, please let me know in the comments!


3. One flight attendant will be in charge of enforcing a one taco per person rule.

They haven’t figured out all of the details, but one member of the cabin crew per flight will take on the duty of Taco Captain. These folks have to go through specialized taco training because American anticipates a lot of security issues related to the taco distribution.


4. There won’t be any jalapenos.

While jalapenos are delicious on tacos, they actually pose a security risk when weaponized. A small incident in 2004 involved a passenger on a small commuter jet in Oaxaca who used a weaponized jalapeno to effectively blind the pilot. Ever since, American has vowed to never allow jalapenos aboard their flight.


5. The taco shells are created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri.

Using a special recipe that includes Fieri-inspired ingredients like “donkey flour” and “FlavorTown Bottled Water,” the TV mainstay has created tortillas that focus groups have called “floppy” and “related to paper plates in some way.” Flyers get their choice of hard or extra-booyah.


6. There’s a BYOL policy.

BYOL = Bring Your Own Lettuce. While American Airlines is fully committed to serving fresh food in the air, they can’t account for the astronomical cost of providing fresh, shredded lettuce on every flight. Instead, they’re encouraging passengers to bring their own lettuce and share with their seatmates.


7. None of this is real.

Happy April Fools Day, Fly&Diners!


  1. You know, Jason — this is really not a very bad idea.

    Would American Airlines serve olives with the tacos?

    Anyway, this April Fool’s Day joke could lead to a good idea where people are fed aboard domestic flights — similar to the self-serve snack areas currently aboard airplanes on international flights — and yet not cost too much money…

    …and if Delta Air Lines owns its own refinery, why not American Airlines own its own ranch — especially to hedge against beef futures?

    I know, I know — this idea is pie in the sky.

    Hmm…pie in the sky…I think I just stumbled onto another idea…

  2. My thoughts while reading this (In order):
    1) WOW!
    2) In-flight diarrhea
    3) you had me at 6 cheeses
    4) Guy fieri taco shell? Sounds legit.
    5) I hate you.

    • Not sure which I found funnier – the article or this comment. One exception, I made it until the end and was even thinking that I’d be happy to pick up a bag of shredded lettuce to share with my fellow passengers. I’m not usually such an idiot, but definitely fell for this one. Thanks for the laugh!

  3. OK, I’m a late-comer to the Taco Fun (I saw a link and the rest is history…) While mini-tacos are not a horrible idea, um, yes, AA would require a squad of Taco Police to supervise. Just think… One more use for Pink Slime from the Texas Beef Industry! Wheee…
    While I think it has been up-classed a bit since, in the early 70s, Air France’s service from Paris to Chicago, via a pit stop in Montreal (think 747-100, perhaps 200) included trays of self-service mini pastries after the not-so-great major meal. When catered/loaded in Paris, they were extremely good. Those boarded in Montreal and intended for the return segment were, to be polite, ‘not quite up to standard,’ and often soggy. (In those days, I did not much care simply because on most East-bound flights I was granted a cockpit jump seat. For an early AvGeek, that trumps any pastry.) -C.

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