The Deal Mommy

American Airlines Has No Child Meals. Here’s a Work-Around.

Nothing for kids. Not even in First.

Nothing for kids. Not even in First.

I’m putting together all the little details for Camp Mom Asia and our flights out are on American Airlines. One nice feature of American Airlines First Class is the ability to pre-plan your meals. Taking a look at the menu I saw duck, filet, spring rolls, but nothing that I thought the Deal Kids would be excited to eat.* I figured I’d be able to just go to the special meals and pull up child meals, but none popped up.

Thinking it was just an oversight, I called American and was shocked to discover (along with the agent, who spent 15 minutes arguing with catering) that kids’ meals were no longer an option. At all. There’s kosher, halal, lactose and gluten intolerant, vegan, low fat, low carb, but no children’s options. Crazy.

Here’s where the AA agent deserves credit for creativity. She presented me with the following options, along with their codes for easy future reference:

  • YOGT: Yogurt Parfait
  • DMSM: Cheese Plate

The options are not for first class only- they are special menu items like all of the others. They don’t exist on the agent’s drop down menu, so you’ll have to call American and tell the agent to add them to your kid’s reservation flight segment by flight segment (IE “I want YOGT DCA to DFW, I want DMSM DFW to NRT”).

I’ll be sure to provide an update, but I’m reasonably confident that with the proteins covered, the kids will do fine with whatever snacks (and of course AA’s famous ice cream sundaes) the plane galley has handy.

What creative work-arounds have you come up with for the lack of kids’ meals on long flights? Or what great service have you had on foreign carriers- such as Cathay Pacific who easily offered kids’ meals as a drop-down item on our flights home? Please share in the comments.

*Feel free to yell at me for not making the kids go native, but c’mon- it’s a month in Asia we’re doing. I prefer to choose my battles.

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12 thoughts on “American Airlines Has No Child Meals. Here’s a Work-Around.

  1. Janet

    It’s pretty twisted that you are traveling a month in Asia, but are afraid you can’t find anything they will enjoy in the AA F menu… especially considering that AA usually has at least 2 choices that qualify as “completely bland except for saltiness”.

    I wouldn’t waste a meal order on the cheese plate, since AA always has plenty of cheese as a dessert option. Order the chicken or the fish and ask the FA to hold any sauce (or serve it on the side) when they plate it. They plate everything individually in F, so they should be able to handle that. And you can always ask for some cheese as an emergency backup if the kids go nuts and won’t eat the meal.

    Hope you’ve mapped out the McD locations on your route. 😀

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Janet,
      Thanks for stopping by. Good point about the cheese also being available at dessert.

      I was expecting some variation of this comment. As I mentioned, I’m choosing my battles and “on the plane” isn’t where I’m preferring them to begin. And I do plan one McDonalds stop, for me, because I find the differences between them a curiosity in each place I visit.

      I’m gonna guess you don’t have any kids in your house, like mine, who simply do not like the texture of any meat. At all. (I also have one who thinks pasta tastes like dirt, but that’s another story.) So having flexible protein options is a good thing for some of us. I don’t expect the world to bend to their every whim, but this is vacation…not culture shock 101. The kids will get where they need to be, at their own pace, in their own time.

      1. Trevor

        I’m curious, you mention the Deal Kids don’t like the texture of meat… I love the fact that you planned ahead, and asked the hard questions, did you happen to also ask what the vegan meal is composed of? I ask more because I’m curious, as I would think a vegan meal would definitely have some proteins, although, all that said, I’m not sure I’d want my first experience of a vegan meal to be on a plane, in any class of service…

        Also – great call on picking your battles. For a month overseas, I wouldn’t want to have a meltdown on the flight there, either. a happy flight can set a positive tone for the entire trip.

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          Hi Trevor,
          Vegan gets tricky when it comes to protein. I didn’t dig too deeply, but there’s usually vegetarian (lacto/ovo meaning milk and eggs) then actual vegan meaning no animal at all. However, this can default to tofu (esp. On Asia bound) which imho is to be avoided at all costs.

          1. Trevor

            Oh come now – Tofu made well can actually have a taste (and a good one at that). The key is, never knowing it’s tofu.

            I didn’t realize that Vegan could include that.. I always thought when something was “vegan” it was no animal at all… You can probably tell, I’m a carnivore 🙂

          2. thedealmommy Post author

            Tofu is soybeans: vegan.

            ( and it can be fine, but I’m permanently scarred by a Thanksgiving at a Vegan’s house where she served Tofurkey.)

  2. Chucks

    I suppose I’m naïve not having children, but outside of extremely small toddlers without a full set of teeth I don’t see what aside from a portion reduction is required in those meals. Billions of children around the world consume breast milk and then basically the solid food on the table being served to every other family member. The idea children need some specific meal or meals they like seems to be a relatively recent invention of coddling parents and the processed food industry.

  3. Clint D.

    Hi Dia,

    I appreciate your blog and perspective as a parent. I have four young children (7,5,4,2) and travelling with kids is an adventure. We just took all four to SFO for a weekend trip from DFW.

    I too have picky eaters. Not sure what we’d do in your situation. For our trips, we pack a gallon size bag full of fruit snacks, granola bars, raisins, fig newtons, and the like in a backpack. And as soon as we land, we stock up on additional snacks and bottled water. I think our kids actually ate two or three “meals” from this snack stash.

    Anyways, I just wanted to post a comment that wasn’t criticizing you for “coddling” your kids or whatever. Two of my children eat whatever, and two eat very little. One of my children has aspergers and she won’t anything that has a speck of seasoning, spices, or anything not “normal.” The MCD 20 piece is our go-to often.

    Have fun on your Asia trip!

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Clint, thank you! I just try to remember that people who aren’t in the parenting trenches simply don’t know what they don’t know.

  4. Kim Dixon

    i just spent 30 minutes on hold then the agent was no help, wish I had saw this. Guess I will be making a call again to hopefully an agent who will help. We are traveling Delta one way – they offer Baby, Toddler and Children meals — WOW. American nothing. I asked for gluten free and to find out what was in it to see if my 2 grandchildren would have options – she couldn’t tell me. Kosher, no help. Then she said oh you can’t pick a special diet, what if I needed gluten free – she said sorry.
    The options are pableno pepper dish or nicoise salad – neither a 4 yr old or 6 yr old will pick. Sorry but they are normal healthy kids and these are not options for a child. I bought first class fairs because it was same prices as Economy Plus at time….And i knew we had no time in transfers to get food, so thought (yes dumb of me) that First Class would have options for their travelers.
    Agent told me bring your own food, to which I said sure but I did buy a ticket that has a meal included and now I can’t even get a special diet meal if needed.
    I was unsure about American and now even more so — Delta is my preferred airline when traveling with children in any seat level, they treat you well and make sure the child has food they need.

    Anyone have any ideas for my flight on June 4, 2017 on how to get American to get my 2 grandkids meals they will eat?

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      I will say even this method is YMMV- I’ve heard from readers the special items show up about 1/2 the time since I wrote this post. The flight attendants on our flight bent over backwards and between snacks, cheese, fruit, breads and desserts the kids did fine.

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