It could be that the pilots are scheduled for meals, and the passengers aren't. That might be where you're getting the smell, even though you were told there was no meal on the flight. I am sure there are mistakes made, this may account for a time or two.
Coach is not the bread and butter of the airlines. It may seem like it since there are more coach seats, but keep this in mind: If AA
sells seven, just seven seats in First class on it's flights, the rest is profit. I learned this directly from the company during purser training. Cargo, too, earns a lot more than coach seats do. Take this for example: AA
operates a 757 on a red-eye flight between San Jose and Boston. The loads are usually weak, excluding weekends. AA
ships thousands of pounds of fresh flowers on that flight. The cabin could be empty and AA
is still making a profit. Next in line are the business men and women who pay full fare coach prices. Yes, they do fly coach, sometimes, but usually full fare coach passengers are upgraded one class of service.
As far as price goes, it's important to remember we, as consumers, set the price. Why are coach fares so low lately? Because consumers won't pay anything else. If that were the case for first, then the airlines would be lowering their first class fares. But they don't need to. Very rarely do you see airlines advertise sales on their first class seats. Those who can afford it set the price by agreeing to pay the going rate. I agree the price to sit in F-class seems outrageous, but as long as there are people willing to pay for it, the airlines will keep charging it.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.