Fly&Dine Flight Food Review: American Airlines First Class KOA to LAX

Posted in American Airlines, Domestic US, In the Air

First of all, let’s be honest. First Class on an older AA 757 is a joke. With the exception of the extra elbow and leg room, there’s not much about this cabin that screams premium anymore. On my red-eye flight earlier this week from Kona to LA, I found out that the food matches the rest of the cabin.

The only direct flight from KOA to LAX leaves at 9:40pm. It lands at 5:50am in LA, which is the equivalent of 2:50am in Hawaiian time. As such, I deployed five of my 500 Mile Upgrades to snag a seat in First Class (Business isn’t an option on the 757). I thought I’d get to put my feet up and slumber the flight away. I didn’t realize that these seats don’t have leg rests. Woe is me, right?

About an hour, hour and a half into the flight they started the meal service. Not meal. Snack. This was very definitely snack service and at such a later hour (roughly 11pm), that makes sense. When the cabin crew came around, they offered a choice of pizza or nothing. I took the pizza. I still regret my decision two days later.

The pizza comes from Chicago’s Pizzeria Uno, or more accurately, a frozen food kitchen and warehouse somewhere that’s allowed to use the Uno name. As a native Chicagoan, let me tell you that this is nothing like the real Uno. It’s a dense puck of dough and cheese and tomatoes with herbs (or simulated herbs — they easily could have been 3-D printed) thrown in for good measure. The plate arrived burning hot from the convection oven and once it cooled down enough, I dove in.

Heavy is a great word to describe this thing. Lots of dough and lots of cheese are not exactly what I want to eat knowing I’m going to be sitting for over five hours. Also not what I want to eat just before midnight. Apparently some FlyerTalk folks agree. Here’s a topic from a year ago that addresses this exact issue.

After plowing through a few bites, I thought I could literally feel the cheese congealing in my arteries. I ate a few of the grapes to try to counteract the effect (fruit defeats pizza, right?) but there was some kind of chalky coating on the grapes that made me stop immediately. Crestfallen, I opted for the dark chocolate Milanos to soothe my soul instead.

I like American. It’s the airline I fly most often. I love their ice cream sundaes in Business on International flights. I just don’t think there’s any way this pizza should be served in a premium cabin. I understand the need for a snack to justify the high price of the seats, but you’re flying out of Hawaii. One of the biggest chefs in Hawaii, Sam Choy, is one of your Culinary Team members. He can’t come up with a snack that won’t weigh down the entire plane?

Sorry, AA, this was not your finest hour.


  1. When AA serves food like that as a First Class meal, it’s an insult. I understand that late at night a snack is more popular but it would not kill them to serve a fruit plate, some cheese, some interesting breads. The 757 FC experience is shabby in hard product and it’s like they go out of their way to make sure the soft product is just as bad.

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