After boarding my flight back to the US, I made my way to my seat where a menu awaited me. Of coourse I had already pre-oordered the vegetarian/vegan meal prior to boarding. While the downgrade to business class was a little upsetting, I did look forward to trying American Airlines in premium class. If you aren't vegetarian, then take a look at the menu to see what was on offer to the rest of the passangers.
After we had taken off and made our way up above 10,000 ft, the service began. The flight attendants proactively had confirmed that I had ordered the vegetarian meal. While that started us off well, that was about the extent of the good service I recieved from the flight attendants. For the most part, the service was met with rudeness, quick to anger and a service level that would have pissed me off in economy, let alone business class, I'm just greatful that I didn't fly first class, not sure what I would have done if this is the kind of service I recieved in first class.
Putting aside the service for a moment, lets take a look at the food. Right after takeoff the flight attendants came around with the hot towels, followed closely by drink orders. Personally I love sparkling water, so I had a glass of that for this meal. With the drink order came a ramakin of warm nuts. As many of you who are vegetarian or vegan know, nuts are a great protein source, and I also happen to love nuts. American has stepped up their mixed nuts recently, they've even added pistachios to the mix as well. This all makes me a happy man.
Unfortunately the nuts are the only place where the meal hit the mark, and that is just plain sad since the nuts require no prep.
Following the nuts came pretty much the entire meal all at once. Now we'll touch on service here again for a moment. Normally on most airlines, the business class meals are served in courses. Serving an entire business class meal on a single tray is just plain lazy, come on American Airlines, you may be my preferred airline, but put a little effort into keeping me as a loyal customer.
As you can see from this picture, this is my pet peeve all over again, except on a massive scale. Once again I get the quintessential vegetarian meal prepared by someone who has no idea that vegetarians like to eat flavorful dishes as well.
Lets go through everything offered on this plate. Starting with the salad, we can see a wonderful arrangement of random vegetables over the top of some lettuce. Presumably in an effort to make sure we were aware of how little effort was put into the dish, they added canned mushrooms to the salad as well. Topping all of this off, no dressing was included with the salad. Once I was able to flag down a flight attendant, I requested some balsamic vinaigrette that was offered with the normal meals on board. She obliged, though once I added it to the salad and tasted how awful this tasted, I immediately regretted my choice to add dressing.
After powering through the salad, I moved on to the... side dish? It consisted of more steamed vegetables. Tasty, I do like vegetables, but I also like flavor and would have appreciated even a little salt on this dish, but it was fine i guess for what it was.
Next up was the main course and this just put the cherry on top of the disaster that was this meal. Let me describe this thing since it's hard to imagine me ever making this for myself unless I had the cooking skills of a 2 year old. This was a mountain of rice, roughly the same gross weight as Mt Everest. Next to it was 2 slices of eggplant... under cooked. Also, included was 2 slices of squash, I didn;t even bother with it. Personally I don't like tomatoes so I skipped those. I used some oil and salt to try to flavor the incredibly bland rice, it sort of worked, at least enough to eat some.
Finally was the vegetarian's eternal dessert of fruit. I love fruit, but I had so much honeydew melon on this trip, it literally made me cringe to eat it.
All I have to say, this meal was disappointing to say the least. Breakfast was yet to come though folks.
After waking up, breakfast was served about 30 seconds after opening my eyes, that is not an exaggeration either. The flight attendant reached over me as I was trying to get my seat upright, she pulled out the tray table and shoved the breakfast in front of me. Just look at the picture and let me know that you have any idea what that is? I had no clue, but yellow and square, it reminded me of some sort of egg dish. Posing the question to the flight attendant, "Is this eggs?" She responded with a helpful, I don't know. Thanks, glad you know.
Well after some prodding at the dish, flipping it over, I finally determined that this was in fact polenta. Well then it does in fact meet the vegetarian/vegan dish requirements that I had requested. Time to take a bite... Oh my... oh no..... I have never in my life eaten anything that was capable of making you rethink your definition of flavorless. I imagine this is what ground cardboard would taste like. These caterers obviously don't taste their own product before delivering it, because this was soooooooo bad. I didn't even bother with the rest of the meal.
I have to give credit to the catering company, this is by far the worst meal I've had, air or ground. It takes real skill to make such incredibly disappointing meals. I hope that American Airlines comes to their senses and gets rid of these caterers ASAP. Moral of th story here is... don't go to Buenos Aires... maybe that's a little harsh, but seriously, don't go.