Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sat Oct 19, 2002 8:22 am

As many already know, Continental Airlines has begun charging passengers for alcoholic beverages on its international flights.

The article below describes the reaction of passengers, and discusses the relative merits of Continental's new beverage-charging policy, one of which is the use of money tendered through the sale of beverages, towards the improvement of Economy Class meals.

In these times of financial distress, I would have thought the money earned (or perhaps saved), would be put to better use (i.e. straight into the piggy bank). But perhaps the money earned on the sale of alcoholic beverages would have a negligible effect on CO's finances, hence best to use the money where it will have a real improvements.

Anyway, article follows:,7445,810730,00.html

Cheers, and good night from England
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sat Oct 19, 2002 8:37 am

While there will always be some complainers about this, I have to agree with the article in saying that it did more or less wipe out air rage. I havent seen an single incident of it since the new policy. US air is now charging for alcohol also and Delta starts charging for it in either November or February.

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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2001 12:36 am

RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sat Oct 19, 2002 9:32 am

Free cocktails, free food, toys for the little ones. Comps for getting bumped.

Flying old fuel hog turbo jets. etc etc

With CASM at 10 cents a rev mile. Its a wonder the sector can make a dime.

It this persons opinion the boom bust cycle, to which this industry is all to farmilure will continue.
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sat Oct 19, 2002 9:49 am

delta already did start to charge for alcohlic beverages as of oct. 15.
i don't like the idea to pay four dollars for a beer (on domestic flights i am used to), while the airline pays only a few cents per can.
to me the whole service is moving into the low cost sector. even though times
are rough for the airline industry, i do belive that they rather invest into
customers amenities. the best excamples where the asian carriers.
They loved to fly and it showed..
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sat Oct 19, 2002 9:43 pm

I think Continental is going to have to find another source of money if they really want to improve their food service. Last week their breakfast service consisted of a sticky doughnut about the size of a silver dollar. Dinner service included a Kaiser roll with a piece of turkey in it, that's all! Why can't airlines just charge passengers for food? I would pay to eat on a plane, as long as the food quality is OK. 4.00 dollars a head for a meal, why not?
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sun Oct 20, 2002 12:59 am

The press release that I read said that the money they charged for liquor on international flights was going to be plowed back into the food service on INTERNATIONAL flights.

I would say that the reason that airlines don't sell food on a plane is that it adds yet another cost center that has to be accounted for, now you need more employees to open and count envelopes full of money, also if you paid ahead and then missed your flight or took another one what flight would your food be on? I can't tell you how many special meals are ordered and the passengers don't show up for the flight, it would be a logistical nightmare for airlines to start selling food onboard, there are restaurants in airports or do what I do, stop at Subway and bring my own, that includes flights when I get crew meals which I won't eat anyway.

Also you say you would pay $4 for a meal as long as the quality is good, tell me where you can eat a good meal for $4, can't do that at McDonald's anymore, hell even at Subway it costs me at least $6.


RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sun Oct 20, 2002 2:17 am

The point is that there is already some of that food money charged in to the price of everyone's... so with less meals to buy, and the ones that you end up selling making an extra 4.00, a significantly higher amount of money is going in to each meal.
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sun Oct 20, 2002 4:55 am

I flew AMS-EWR two weeks ago on one of Continentals 767-200's and I couldn't believe that they were charging $4 dollars for a beer on a intercontinental flight. So I asked why they charged money for alcoholic beverages and on the other hand let me keep their headphones. The answer: "you will receive better food and we have less trouble with 'some' passengers. You can use the headphone on any other Continental flight".

I have to say, the meal I got was one of the best I had in a long time. So, maybe they are telling the truth and are really trying to set some new standards. (But then, food out of AMS is always good). I left the headphone behind in the plane.

However I'm not opposed to paying for drinks/food as long as there is an alternative like bringing food and non-alcoholic drinks on board which i can consume whenever I like during the flight.

Also, most incidents with passengers i've seen were because they had too much to drink. So, after non-smoking flights, non-alcohol flights sound not unreasonable!
Never be afraid of what you like. (Miles Davis)
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sun Oct 20, 2002 5:23 am

I fly CO often on transatlantic flights, and do not really have a problem with the new charge for liquor in economy.....if you want a cocktail, simply pay for it, no big deal. However, CO did state when the new charge was being introduced that the money saved from not providing free liquor would be used to upgrade meal services. While Cheese and Crackers did reappear on the meal tray out of Europe (cookies and cheese and crackers were dropped after 9/11), nothing else has really changed. What are the improvements? CO's meal services were, and in my opinion, remain OK and a bit better than average (especially among US airlines), but its unclear what has been improved as a result of this policy change.

In any case, none of us fly to sample fine cuisine. CO seems to be doing better than many other airlines in this extremely difficult enviornment, and I hope that the $4.00 per drink charge helps them stay in the air.
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RE: Continental: Charge For Drinks, Better Food

Sun Oct 20, 2002 5:36 am

Well the quality of the chicken and beef has been improved, the salad now included shrimp or salmon on it. There is also a mid-flight ice cream service


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