American Airlines Flashes Back

To a day when forks weren't a security hazard

Only from movies can a person of under 30 gather that traveling in an aeroplane used to be an event that entailed such accouterments as fancy dresses, manicured stewardesses, and food that required silverware.

Now American Airlines, which laid off 1,600 employees last month, is bringing at least one vestige of that era back, at just a time when most airlines are cutting expenditures further.

In an effort at a more refined travel experience for those in first and business class, the company has made unexpected upgrades:

* China that features a refined, platinum-rimmed design

* Cutlery with a distinctive and decorative American Airlines eagle logo on the handles of the forks, spoons and knives

Additionally, the airline will introduce a larger stemmed wine glass with a tulip-shaped globe.

"We are committed to investing in products and services that our loyal customers value," said John Tiliacos, American's Managing Director - On board Products. "We continually evaluate our on board product offerings and make necessary adjustments based on feedback from our customers and our flight attendants."

American is even adding some upgrades to Economy Class.

Those traveling internationally will begin seeing enhanced food and beverage offerings in May. Although these complimentary offerings vary by international route, they include a new gourmet snack mix accompaniment during the first beverage service, the addition of cheese and crackers, a fresh green salad and new dessert option to the current entree, a larger mid-flight snack box, and an eight ounce bottle of water.

Other additions in the premium cabins - such as cereal and yogurt in the continental breakfast, larger portion sizes, new dessert options and a new Mai Tai cocktail - were implemented in April and May.

Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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