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No More Free Meals on Domestic Flights

April 13, 2010
by

Do you guys notice that more and more airlines stop providing in-flight meals and start changing for drinks and snacks? Every year, I fly approximately 35000 miles across the states and I start to notice how the in-flight food becomes commercialized. Continental is the last major airline that still provides hot sandwiches for passengers. But they are going to stop free airplane food this fall and come up with a new approach on food, for example, preselect your meal before your departure.

New York Times reporter Janel. Levere explains the reason in her artile, In-Flight Food Tries to Be Tasty, ” The new offerings are in large part the result of the new economics of in-flight food”. People try to eat healthy food nowadays, so airlines try to accommodate passenger’s need to provide healthy meal bundles for a cost and take away the free unhealthy food. It seems absurd to me that majority of the people will still prefer less healthy options, like Pringles and candy bars.

If the airlines stop providing drinks and food, passengers will just bring food onto the plane. So who is going to purchase the overpriced meals? I think the market for in-flight food is not very prominent. This movement only alternates traveler’s behaviors and not the profit margin of airlines.

I understand that airlines try to cut as much overhead costs as possible in the economic downfall, but stopping giving free meals or drinks is not a solution to increase the profit margin. Travelers still pay the same amount or even higher prices for their tickets, but receive fewer services in return. I am sure the satisfaction of a flight is going down.

I wonder which loss is greater? — cost of providing free meals or cost of losing passengers.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. txk156 permalink
    April 16, 2010 5:30 pm

    I agree with you Rani. I fly United Airlines quite a lot and I can tell the changes they have made over the past few years regarding the meals. They used to serve salad and fruits for appetizer, but now we only get the salad. Also, it seems like to me that they are always serving the same kinds of food…doesn’t seem like they would change the menu.

    One time, I was flying AA and my brother got yelled at when he asked for a can of apple juice (instead of a cup)….Does a can of apple juice cost that much? Can they not afford it? 😦

    • April 19, 2010 1:19 am

      That was rude that the flight attendant yelled at you guys. I understand that they try to cut their cost but bad customer service is not going to get there any further. Hopefully, the airline companies can come up with something that can control their overheads and also maintain their quality of customer service.

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