steph001
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 8:21 pm

How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Tue Nov 18, 2003 6:40 pm

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
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Tue Nov 18, 2003 7:56 pm

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
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Tue Nov 18, 2003 8:18 pm

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
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Tue Nov 18, 2003 9:13 pm

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.
 
Guest

RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Tue Nov 18, 2003 11:19 pm

As a captain, I occasionally sign (or see) the catering bills after delivery to the airplane. A disgrace...
xxx
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.
xxx
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)...
xxx
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.
xxx
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.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper
 
carduelis
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Tue Nov 18, 2003 11:44 pm

FWIW - 12 years ago the Catering budget for BA was GBP365,000,000 pa!

Just a mere One Million Pounds a day!


Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
richardw
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 2:13 am

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
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 2:18 am

Richardw,
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.
 Smile/happy/getting dizzy
-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
GSPSPOT
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:58 am

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??
Finally made it to an airline mecca!
 
steph001
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 8:21 pm

RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 6:27 pm

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.
 
richardw
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 6:37 pm

Yes, it does depend on the facilities available in the terminal, some can be very good, some poor. If available, I would rather eat in the terminal before 9pm than on the plane after 10pm.
 
CALMSP
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 7:02 pm

it only costs CO an average of $3 per coach meal. So its not that much, if you charge 5 more dollars than your covering your cost.
 
flyinghighboy
Posts: 721
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 7:23 pm

How often do airlines throw meals out? Believe it or not, on some long haul flights some people and so do I get pretty darn hungry with the tiny portions that are given.
 
Pe@rson
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 7:57 pm

Listen to what the always-knowlegeable Skipper said..........

(I just wish people would ask me things related to criminal law, criminology and criminal justice - the subjects about which I'm most knowledgeable!) :-P

Anyway, I must add that FR's food prices are excessively priced - £4 (about $6.30) for a sandwich! Gees, that's half-way to a proper meal in a decent Indian.

"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
latinaviation
Posts: 1162
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:10 pm

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
Posts: 474
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:58 pm

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
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 8:21 pm

Re: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:26 pm

But if Southwest would charge its passengers 5$ more on each flight they would still be very cheap, isn't it?
 
GSPSPOT
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:55 pm

As a passenger (again), I would MUCH rather have food servied while I'm confined to a seat for 2-3 hours than to stand in line and have food slopped at me at some fast-food joint in the airport....
Finally made it to an airline mecca!
 
richardw
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:06 pm

Irrespective of the time of day GSPSPOT? even late at night when flying long haul?

Some airports offer better eating facilities than fast food.
 
steph001
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 8:21 pm

Re: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:18 pm

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
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:25 am

Flyinghighboy...
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.
 
luv2fly
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RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:32 am

I think the buy at the gate would make more sense and would keep help in either stocking to much to sell on board or to little....
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
steph001
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 8:21 pm

RE: How Much Is Food A Cost Issue For Airlines

Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:41 am

I think food at the gate would be interesting, although it would not work on flights that are longer than 5 hours, where people expect to get several meals.