Steph001 From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 315 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3972 times:
I have noticed that besides LCC's some bigger airlines give up food on flights in economy class. I used Ryanair a couple of times and when buying food on Ryanair you get something like a meal in economy class for about 10-15 Euro. I think Ryanair is making good profits with the food they sell on their flights, therefore I guess an airline could negotiate with the catering services at their hubs to get economy class food at much lower prices. Anyway, food can make a ticket only about 20-40 Euro cheaper, so why cut it, it's not THE big cost when flying, or are there some other problems connected to food service in economy , something as longer turnaround times?
Ahlfors From Canada, joined Oct 2000, 1334 posts, RR: 5 Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3931 times:
I think it depends on what people want. On an intercontinental flight, almost everyone wants food and is willing to pay for it, so you include it in the ticket price. One shorter flights, not everyone wants food, so you keep the prices low by charging only those that want the food. That way, your food is of better quality and you can effectively compete on price with LCCs.
Moolies From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3900 times:
Food is a huge expense for airlines. Towards the end of last year Time magazine published an article saying that a few years ago AA saved +- $40000 buy removing just one olive from each first class salad.
Steph001 From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 315 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3834 times:
Moolies: I don't think $40000 is such a big figure for AA, I think they buy big quantities of food and they could , if they intended it, save as much by renegotiate meal prices with the catering services at their hubs. I am just wondering if LCC's don't take food for every passenger to shorten turnaround times and if the big saving from not offering food comes not from food price, but from shorter turnaround times.
Ahlfors: You are right, nevertheless I don't think that "regular" airlines can compete with LCC's by not offering food, at least in Europe Ryanair (including transportation costs to their remote airports) is still much cheaper than any big carrier.
B747Skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3769 times:
As a captain, I occasionally sign (or see) the catering bills after delivery to the airplane. A disgrace...
First of all, we often have to waste food. Even though we may have 250 passengers with reservations, we may load say, 320 meals... Many of these meals will be left, and thrown in the rubbish on arrival.
A stupid Y class meal, I call it a US$5.oo lasagna, may be billed $20.oo to the airline, and extra fees (or taxes) apply for "delivery" to the airplane. Sure, you could call another supplier, except that he does not have the "licence" to sell or deliver on airport property (i.e. Port Authority at JFK - a mafia)...
LCC getting rid of anything but beer, wine, and peanuts... understandable. I would not pay a penny for these Y class "beef stroganoff" meals, served on some major airlines.
Another fact... If cheap meals are expensive... the sad thing is, for a little more money, the airline could serve you much better food. The price difference (delivered to airplane) is minimal for first class catering.
Richardw From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 3732 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3659 times:
Some airlines could save a lot on flights when food is really not wanted by the passengers ie a NYC-LON flight leaving NYC after 10pm, most passengers have eaten before boarding so the waste on such a flight must be high.
Safetydude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 16 Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3639 times:
What you said is actually a problem: a flight leaves a ten, boarding begins at 9, and then the time that one has to be there in advance (and getting to the airport) makes it nearly impossibly for almost everyone to eat.
Also, dinner is not going to be found in most terminals.
GSPSPOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2838 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3574 times:
Why couldn't airlines just have pax commit to either ordering food or not requesting it ahead of time for long-haul flights, then have almost exactly the amount of food required for a given flight, but no more? Wouldn't that work??
Steph001 From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 315 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (10 years 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3497 times:
GSPSPOT, that would mean:
a.) that no passenger can have second thoughts about he food. Imagine being on a business trip and returning after you have worked all day. Depending on how things went or how tired you are you will be more or less happy with food, but I'm sure it's difficult to tell this ahead.
b.) airlines need a system to locate the passenger that ordered a specific food. Of course the big ones have that (seat reservation). F/A's will have to figure out inflight who ordered what and who didn't order anything, thus having less time for other duties.
LatinAviation From Ireland, joined Nov 2003, 1276 posts, RR: 16 Reply 14, posted (10 years 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3331 times:
Skipper got it right with the delivery costs. When I worked for a mAAjor airline, there was a big emphasis on how much these costs reall added the bottom line, especially when they would charge something like $50 to deliver ice to the aircraft.
Food & Beverage has, for the most part, become a function of finance with the purpose to wring every last penny out of spend. As Gordon Bethune once said, though, you can make a pizza so cheap people won't want to buy it.
Beltwaybandit From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 495 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (10 years 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3302 times:
I think I heard a Southwest executive say that they make like $5.00 profit off each seat per flight. If that is true, then a meal can be a big part of that (particularly if you are not charging for the meal).
Steph001 From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 315 posts, RR: 1 Reply 19, posted (10 years 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3105 times:
Richardw, I agree that some airports offer better services than fast food, but most of them are also expensive. The only cheap airport I know is (Frankfurt)-Hahn HHN, the German hub for Ryanair. For the price you eat there you can only buy a sandwich and a coffee on FR's flights.
Qqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2221 posts, RR: 14 Reply 20, posted (10 years 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3033 times:
If I have extra food, and someone asks me for another, I give it to them. It never hurts to ask, at the END of the meal service, ie, when the F/As are done delivering trays, to ask if there are extras. Most F/As would be happy to accommodate you if there are.
I wish I had the numbers in front of me, but when AA told us we were removing food from most domestic flights in coach, the savings was over a hundred million dollars a year. You're all right when you suggest the airline charge $5 more to cover the cost. But most leisure travelers would opt for the ticket that cost $5 less, leaving the airline with food with an empty seat. It is so hard for legacy carriers to compete with LCCs on cost, and that $5 for the airline and for the passenger is too much. Consumers have proven it.
My own two cents on the "buy-on-board" trend: Logistically, it has got to be a nightmare. How do you know at what levels to stock the plane? If you don't have enough, the passengers left without will be upset. If you have too much, the fresh items (salads, sandwiches, etc.) are spoiled, and you've lost money, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place. AA recently announced "Buy at the gate," a program where you can buy food from airport vendors, like Au Bon Pain, Corner Bakery Cafe and TGI Fridays right at the gate, making it convenient for even those with tight connections. It costs AA nothing, and it gives options for every passenger. AA is testing the feature at SJU, JFK and DFW. So far, it appears successful.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.