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Bring Back The Meals In North America!  
User currently offlinePpostro From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 36 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5670 times:

So with all of the cut backs in catering over the last several years I found myself a on UA flight from YVR-ORD and paid $5 US for a"Snack Box" that consisted of tasteless, salty, sugar filled crap! The story is the same on virtually ever carrier these days in Y in North America. Either you get served just a drink or have to pay for pre-packaged foods that have no nurtritional value at all. Even AC jumped on the trend, although, along with WestJet and Song in the US, as far as I know, offer more variety in terms of sandwiches, wraps and other choices. CO still offers meal service in Y class within North America on some routes.

In the Asia Pacific region it's a world of a difference, on Cathay, Singapore, Malaysian, Thai, Qantas etc... even in Y Class you still receive a hot meal on flights less then 2 hours. A recent flight with QF from SYD-AKL in Y class (3.5hrs) consisted of a hot meal! I am not even going to mention India, where airlines serve full HOT meals in Y Class on 1 hour sectors. My question, and Virgin America, please listen up! Why not offer passengers quality, hot meals on all flights within North American over 1.30hrs for purchase! I am it makes total sense, on a 3.5 hrs flight from YVR-ORD i'd happily pay $10 even $15 for a quality hot meal. Airlines could really market such a service. Austrian based, Styrian Spirit offers an outstanding Y class product on it's flights and this could easily be offered to Y class customers in North American for a price. I am sure that many travelers out there would be willing to pay for full hot meal services, they could even pre-book the meal on-line, sort of like SQ?s ?Book the Cook?.

Why are airlines not considering this, paying $5 for some snack box on 3.5 hour flight or $15 for a full hot meal with wine? Does anyone know what the average actual cost per meal in Y used to be on before the cut backs? One of the few that still offers hot meals within North America in Y class these days is Vancouver based Harmony Airways, recently flew them from YVR-YYZ in Y and the meal was great and free wine!


The über airline nerd
46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAeroTycoon From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 101 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5607 times:

This has definetly been discussed at much length. I agree with you, however. Here in the states, with the rising costs of fuel, the old fashioned airlines are cutting EVERYTHING to make it out of the red (with the exception of CEO bonuses, of course). In the United States, it is very expensive to operate an airline; and it is much more expensive than ever before. Fuel prices and healthcare being predominant factors. The old-fashioned mainline carriers (think UAL, DL, NWA) must adopt more streamlined business models in order to survive, plain and simple. Catering was deemed an unnecessary cost. Food for sale was a good idea for extra revenue, but the nature of the food offered has been disappointing. Nobody gets satisfied with just a snickers bar and a sprite for a five hour stretch.

To address this, I suggest to the airlines this: You know the whole chickens they offer in the supermarket? 4 or 5 bucks? Sell it for $16. Buy one of those, cut it in half, put it in a tray with some sort of garnish and sell it for $8. To your average or less than average passenger, this will look a feast. Advertise it is the "hot hearty meal" or some other cutesy airline moniker.

AT dollarsign  dollarsign 


User currently offlineCPH757 From Denmark, joined Sep 2005, 684 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5590 times:

There is probably more to it than buying a chicken in a super market and cutting it.

The only profitable way to service food onboard is the snack option. To serve a full meal on Y is simply not reasonable at any price. The logistical costs are too high. At $16 you suggest, they would sell so few meals on the flight, that the costs of getting the food on the flight would exceed the revenue.

Think about it. Why do you need that food service anyway? It's nice to have an option to buy food if you gets hungry, but then, take the sandwich. It's not there for providing an gourmet experience, but to settle your stomack until landing...

If it was profitable for the airlines to cater larger meals, they would have done it. Even if the could do it with a little loss, they had probably done it, but that just dont seem to be reality.



Last flight: SAW-CPH on H9 on 02/11/09 - Next Flights: 23/12/09 CPH-AAL on QI, 30/12/09 CPH-LHR on SK, 19/01/10 CPH-CDG-
User currently offlineSunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2040 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5559 times:

Another option is to fly Sun County out of MSP. They have great food.

In Y class in the morning you get a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, that is warmed up, PM you get a cheeseburger, or double cheese on Texas toast, or turkey & ham on a cornmeal Kaiser. All are served hot.

Depending on length of flight you also get a chocolate chip or key lime chocolate chip cookie. Plus they also are serving lifesavers sour gummies to all pax.

And the best part is NO CHARGE for the food it is included in the price of your ticket.

First class food is even better.



Just an MSPAVGEEK
User currently offlineFiveMileFinal From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5513 times:

I eat before I fly.

Problem solved. Big grin



You goin'? We fly you dere! You been? We done already flew up in dere!
User currently offlineAukahkay From Singapore, joined Nov 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5486 times:

I think that the difference in standard of inflight catering between US airlines and Asian airlines is the difference in philosophy over air travel. In Asia, air travel is still considered a luxury in many countries. Asian airlines serve full hot meals on flights of more than 1.5 hours. Therefore, on a SIN-BKK flight, you can expect a hot lunch or dinner. UA flies the SIN-HKG route on the way to SFO. On the SIN-HKG route, a full breakfast is served along with complimentary wine. In fact, it was SQ which bucked the trend in the 1970s and started the practice of serving free wine on board while other airlines were charging for alcoholic drinks.
Asian travellers have been accustomed to being served a hot meal on regional flights. This expectation is the reason why hot meals are served on Asian airlines.
On the other hand, air travel in the US is just another form of transport to get from one city to another. The US passenger wants to get to his destination with as little frills as possible.
I have observed that on domestic US flights, quite a number of passengers pack a sandwich or salad on board. This does not happen in Asia.


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5479 times:

It's a bit of a trade off. What would you rather have, cheaper fares or onboard meal service? You can't have both of them. In many cases, the food you can buy at the airport is better than what the airlines offered onboard in the past (I've had meals on Delta that weren't that good. And who else remembers those awful "Sky Deli" sacks they used to offer? A soggy turkey sandwich, some chips, a piece of fruit and a cookie.).

User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4930 posts, RR: 43
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5464 times:

The Customer has spoken, and the North American airlines are listening.

The Customer will choose an airline by price and price alone. I find it fascinating to look at surveys to see what a prospective flyer looks at when choosing a flight. When over 90% look at fare first, then FF affiliation then schedule ....it gives you an idea of what is important. On board service and comfort are pretty low on the list.

You mention Asian carriers as an example of fine in-flight service ..... but wait until the LCC phenomenon catches on there.

20 years ago, European carriers had incredible in flight service on short flights. At the same time North American and Australian carriers were also offering a fine product.

But when the Customer was offered the choice of fare over service, the customer chose fare. The best recent example is Midwest Airlines. It had been a very long time since any carrier, anywhere offered an Economy product like theirs. But you the Customer chose fare, and they too had to bow to the Customers wishes and lower their standard.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineAukahkay From Singapore, joined Nov 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5438 times:

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 7):
You mention Asian carriers as an example of fine in-flight service ..... but wait until the LCC phenomenon catches on there.

Indeed the phenomenon of LCC has caught on in Asia. Since 2004, lost cost carriers started appearing in Singapore. The first was Malaysian-based Air Asia which offered flights to BKK. Next came Valuair, which markets itself as an intermediate airline between full service airlines and budget carriers. Jetstar Asia, a subsidiary of QF, was next in line. Subsequently, Valuair and Jetstar Asia merged and shared the network although they retained their individual branding.
Then Tiger Airways, a subsidiary of SQ, came on board as a budget airline.
Hot meals on these LCCs cost S$8 (US$5) with canned soft drinks at S$2 (US$1.20)

http://www.jetstarasia.com/flyingWithUs/inAir/hotmeals_EN.php
http://www.tigerairways.com/flight/food-and-beverage.php

How much do US carriers charge for inflight meals and drinks on domestic flights?


User currently offlineFlypdx From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 636 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5320 times:

Quoting Ppostro (Thread starter):
So with all of the cut backs in catering over the last several years I found myself a on UA flight from YVR-ORD and paid $5 US for a"Snack Box" that consisted of tasteless, salty, sugar filled crap!

The snack boxes on United are FAR better than the crap "meals" that consisted of a slop of "meat" sauce, rice, and whatever else the catering company felt would fit. I would never eat more than the bread from a meal, and with the snack boxes there are several good options. If you want something to eat, buy something at the airport, and bring it on the plane. It's not that big of a deal, and it will be far better than any meal served on the aircraft. Fly first class if you want a full meal.


User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4930 posts, RR: 43
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5318 times:

This is the Onboard Cafe for flights longer than 2 hours.
In addition, soft drinks and coffee/tea are complimentary.
http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelin...board/dining/na/onboard/meals.html



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5109 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5287 times:

Airlines in the caribbean and latin american still serve hot meals. I have travelled to the US on both BW and JM and was pleased to get a hot meal, whereas if I travelled with AA or US I would be served a snack or something. I have heard that AA reintroduced meals on some caribbean flights. My friend was lucky enough to have in his intinary booked with and MX flight, and he got a meal MIA/MEX whereas I flew AA metal and barely got a sandwich.

IS it that more expensive to cater the airplanes with hot meals?



There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineZrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3165 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5266 times:

Here's the thing.... Even what we consider expensive fares in the US are relatively cheap. I remember in 1984, I was excited to find BOS-ORD fares for $299. That was considered a super-saver fare. Today, the same route is often under $200. Given inflation, we are truly paying peanuts. $299 in 1984 is closer to $1000 today. If most super-saver fares were $1000, we should expect quality meal service.

But at $198, we can't expect all that much.



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5255 times:

Quoting Captaink (Reply 11):
Airlines in the caribbean and latin american still serve hot meals. I have travelled to the US on both BW and JM and was pleased to get a hot meal, whereas if I travelled with AA or US I would be served a snack or something.

And BW and JM are constantly teetering on the brink of collapse. JM in the past year has shrunk considerable since being returned to the Jamaican gov't after the company that was running it got tired of losing money. And BW has announced cities and never served them because they could not afford to start service.


User currently offlineSenorcarnival From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5235 times:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 6):
(I've had meals on Delta that weren't that good. And who else remembers those awful "Sky Deli" sacks they used to offer? A soggy turkey sandwich, some chips, a piece of fruit and a cookie.).

Yes! They had those coolers down the jetway with those bags. I usually only ate the cookie and chips anyway, which is all you get these days anyway so I'm not complaining. Comparing amenities in Asia and North America is like comparing apples to oranges. As you even said, it's a whole different world.

If having a meal prior to flying is important to you, either take something with you (in my experience, most U.S. airlines don't have a problem if you bring in outside food) or eat before you are stuck up there for a few hours. However, what if I brought with me a microwave dinner? Would they let me heat it up using their equipment? Big grin


User currently offlineAV8AJET From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1344 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5216 times:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 13):
And BW has announced cities and never served them because they could not afford to start service.

Is Prestwick (PIK) one of those?



"To fly or not to fly there is no question!"
User currently offlineGLAGAZ From UK - Scotland, joined Feb 2004, 1983 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5184 times:

Quoting AV8AJET (Reply 15):
Quoting Srbmod (Reply 13):
And BW has announced cities and never served them because they could not afford to start service.

Is Prestwick (PIK) one of those?

No, BWIA did start PIK but it only lasted a few months.

Gaz



Neutrality means that u don't really care cos the struggle goes on even when ur not there, blind and unaware
User currently offlinePHX757 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5184 times:

I find America West's Buy on Board to be quite good actually..

http://www.americawest.com/awa/conte...ervices/foodandbeverages/menu.aspx


http://www.usair.com/travel/inflight/inflight_cafe/index.htm


-PHX757


User currently offlineJBLUA320 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 3179 posts, RR: 19
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5159 times:
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Ya bitch about them when the meals are there, and you bitch about them when they aren't!!

Seriously, though, I don't mind buying the food-- IF it is of a better quality than what they would have otherwise served. I give song props for that, even though I really dislike them on the whole. The same for one of my favorites-- Midwest Airlines-- great food. If it's good, who cares if you have to buy it? The airlines need the revenue and it's not adding much onto the cost of your ticket-- if the meal were free, it'd be worked in to the ticket price anyway...

JBLU


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5129 times:

Quoting AV8AJET (Reply 15):

Is Prestwick (PIK) one of those?

I was referring to ATL. They announced service to ATL back in 2000 and never started service there.


User currently offlineDL4EVR From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 6):
And who else remembers those awful "Sky Deli" sacks they used to offer? A soggy turkey sandwich, some chips, a piece of fruit and a cookie.).

Yes!!! I remember those! They had those at the gate on later flights (IIRC it was only when I was on an MD-88). The sandwich stuff was terrible, but they'd always throw in a little pack of Milano cookies (or something equivalent) to make up for it. Hey, at least DL still offers a decent snack box for FREE!



We Love To Fly And It Shows.
User currently offlineSenorcarnival From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5084 times:

Quoting DL4EVR (Reply 20):
at least DL still offers a decent snack box for FREE!

They do??? I've never seen them on the segments I've flown. They usually just parade around with a small basket that has the available assortment. If the flight isn't full, the FAs usually let you take more than one if you're just taking a breakfast bar or one of those Biscoff cookies.


User currently offlinePAAClipper707 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 50 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5064 times:

Alaska still serves hot sandwiches or breakfast with a side snack on all transcontinental flights or from the NW to the Midwest, as well the the lower 48 to the state of Alaska. Offers northern bites to Mexico(BOB) ,no more that 5 bucks for an angus hamburger with chips. Also serves hot cookies and milk. Up and down the west cost you get peanuts or something like it. Lower ticket price or food your choice.


PAN AMERICAN -Dont Leave the Country Without Us-
User currently offlineSAS330 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5040 times:

Airlines make more money with a bad snack-box for $5 for sale as for a free hot mail which cost the airlines $3-5 average. Most of the US Airlines forget that they loose the good image of their company by offering food for purchase on board. This is the reason I guess why "old fashioned" European airlines don't do this. Just see Swiss, they tried to sale food on board without any success, and returned to free meals. I just ask myself how long does it takes for US Airlines to realize being good to the customer, you will get it cash-back on a long-term basis.

User currently offlineAa757first From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3347 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4953 times:

Quoting Captaink (Reply 11):

IS it that more expensive to cater the airplanes with hot meals?

The ovens, which weigh a significant amount, do add to fuel costs. The meal itself isn't that much more expensive, but the equipment necessary is expensive.

AAndrew


25 Post contains images UAPremierGuy : Not likely, and on some airlines, the thought of doing so wouldn't even be an option. Airlines like WN, Ted (& ex-shuttle 737s) lack ovens, so heatin
26 NonRevKing : If you eat 3 meals a day, you prolly average about 5 hours (on the low end) between them. YVR-ORD is four hours. How on earth do you function? B
27 Stratofortress : Oh come on! Eat at the airport before you get on the plane. Or buy a sandwich, and bring it with you. Most of the flights are not longer than 5 hours,
28 SonOfACaptain : People need to start paying decent fares again! -SOAC
29 Jetdeltamsy : You get fed in Asia because the carriers earn profits on the routes. The entire USA domestic system is basically unprofitable. The customers demand c
30 Centrair : Looking at these meal service boxes...I must say...nutritional missing. How much is the snack food industry getting out of this? On my last U.S. domes
31 Post contains images BMIFlyer : There is one way to get a meal on every flight........ Fly in F or J class* *mainline flights only - where provided
32 Ppostro : Qantas re-introduced meal and snack services in economy class within its entire Australian network last year. WHY? Because they wanted to distance the
33 SonOfACaptain : It has been tried, but hasn't worked out. -SOAC
34 Centrair : When I flew ORD-HKG on UA back in 1999, the menu was made by some Hong Kong chef. Very delicious. The menu actually had the chef's picture on it and
35 Captaink : Don't let caribbean politics fool you. BW and JM have been on the brink of collapse for their entire existence, but look for them to actually collaps
36 Klyk1980 : Personally..I don't mind to eat before flight or after flight, but definitely care about the fare will rise because of the catering onboard. You can c
37 Orion737 : I often dont have time to queue to buy a sandwich at the airport and neither do many others, business travellers in particular. A flight of 4 hours du
38 ClassicLover : This is true... Aer Lingus offer a full Irish Breakfast - Sausages, egg, bacon, black pudding, white pudding, a roll, juice and coffee - you buy it f
39 NateDAL : Unless you have information to the contrary, CO seems to be committed to serving food in economy.
40 Orion737 : Lets hope CO continue to offer meals in Y. They are setting themselves apart from all the other carriers and I am sure they attract customers who spec
41 Lightsaber : If meals were that important, CO's market share would be exploding. I do not wish to pay for an airline meal. Back when they were offered I *always* b
42 LTBEWR : For some people, a free or BOB meal may be the only way for them to get something to eat over a significant part of a day. They may not have the time
43 Orion737 : Good point. With todays long queues at security points, there is sometimes insufficient time to use the toilet, let alone eat queue for and eat a meal
44 Jetdeltamsy : Purely speculation on my part. Like every other person in this forum, I have no access to confidential, internal corporate information on the subject
45 Hiflyer : Couple notes... When 9/11 threw the industry into it's tailspin the average coach meal was estimated back then at about 15 bucks with F meals at 35 do
46 AeroWesty : On my last few transcontinental flights: 1) I checked in online and took under 10 minutes in the airport to check my luggage and pass security (time
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