Moolies
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Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:59 am

Hi, why is it US carriers charge people in economy for meals when other ailines such as BA and SAA don't, besides the conomic costs is there any other reason?
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:01 am

You truly think BA and SA provide meals free out of the goodness of their being?

Or do you think that their market reacts somewhat less negatively to the competition induced by including meal prices in the ticket?  Big grin
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:26 am

In Europe (only place I've flown except the US), you always get food on even short routes. On OSL-SVG with SK, you'd always get some kind of sandwich or wrap and a drink. And that's a 45 minute flight. In the US, you don't even get food on a cross country. If you're lucky you get to keep the WHOLE pop to yourself  Big grin
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
KYIPpilot
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:39 am

Um, yes you do get food on some US carriers still. I got a full meal plus extra snacks on a CO flight last spring...
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
 
artsyman
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:08 am

The general rule is that people in the US have decided that the first priority is having a cheap ticket. Therefore the airlines are cutting frills that the passenger doesn't want in order to meet the low fare structures that the passenger wants. They then charge money for the passengers that do want a meal and are willing to pay for it. As the above poster mentioned, Continental still gives meals on almost every flight, and doesn't charge for it.

Also comparing BA / AF with the US domestic system is a bit mute. BA domestically can only have a max of a 90 min flight within the UK, whereas you can have a 7 hour domestic flight in the US.

Jeremy
 
764
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:20 am

Artsyman: Actually PEOPLE didn't decide anything. It was just a few "supersmart" Marketing people who decided that. I am working for an airline as a customer analysis myself and I have to say that it is simply not true. People want to have some kind of service, even if it is just a little bag with a sandwich and an apple that is distributed at the gate when boarding (AA did that for a while). Nobody seems to like those pretzels or cheese snacks. Generally there has to be a number of nonalcoholic drinks and water on ALL flights and there should be a little snack (NOT pretzels or the like) on flights over an hour or so. That seems to be the most reasonable and the cost per passenger would be under $5.
Unfortunately my fellow marketing professionals are not looking at what the customer WANTS, but at which way they can make them PAY somem more. In the end, travelling did not get any cheaper due to the exclusion of meals.

Here's one thing that ACA did last year that cost them less than a buck per passenger and that PAXes really liked: They handed out Quaker Oatmeal Bars. See - It's that easy.
 
ctbarnes
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:30 am

Amen, 764!

Worse still, it creates even bigger problems for the airlines because of how many meals to actually load, what happens to them if no one buys, and what happens if a flight runs short. The whole thing could backfire in the long run by creating a demand then are unable to satisfy it. They also have to pay for the meals whether they are used or not, so I quesiton whether it's actually cheaper in the long run.

It seems the approach to customer service is often how much can we take away before people really start to complain, giving the major airlines the reputation of being cheap and stingy. There has to be some kind of equalibruim between being cost efficient and providing good (not necessarily extravigant) amnities.

It would be nice if someone in the industry took the opposite tact: Providing free meals and at least 32 inch seat pitch makes good business sense, and can generate loyalty among your customers.

Charles, SJ
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:33 am

. It was just a few "supersmart" Marketing people who decided that.

So tell me, how exactly can one be labled a "supersmart marketing person", should s/he make financial/operation decisions contrary to what customers will pay for.


People want to have some kind of service

Who cares whether they want it... the question (which, in the USA, has been answered time and time again with a resounding "no!") is whether they'll pay more for it.

Surely a "customer analysis" such as yourself has heard of the 5 cent rule?  Laugh out loud  Insane

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AIR757200
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:35 am

Here's one thing that ACA did last year that cost them less than a buck per passenger and that PAXes really liked: They handed out Quaker Oatmeal Bars. See - It's that easy.

Uhmm, I managed to get that exact same thing on my previous A.M. flight on A.A.- so it's not just ACA doing it.
 
ctbarnes
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:14 am

Who cares whether they want it... the question (which, in the USA, has been answered time and time again with a resounding "no!") is whether they'll pay more for it.

That, in a nutshell, is the problem. Perhaps the question needs to be recast so we ask, "if we give them what they want, and do so consistently, will they keep coming back?" That answer in the USA has been answered time and time again with a resounding "yes!"

Customer-focused service+empowered employees=satisfied customers=satisfied employees=consistant profits.

Such an outlook renders the 5-cent rule irrelevant.

Charles, SJ
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
RiverVisualNYC
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:28 am

764 got it right, how much did it ever cost the airlines to offer a basic meal anyway? A few dollars per person, which could easily be built into the ticket price. In fact, I am sure there is some dollar amount that many people would be willing to pay extra for, maybe $10 in economy class, if people knew they could expect a decent meal. However, unlike Europe, America is currently possessed by a pay-as-you-go mentality where tapped out consumers look for the cheapest deal, rather than the best value. I would absolutely pay a few dollars more for an airline ticket if I knew I was going to get served a decent meal on the flight, and not have to bring a bag of fast food onboard or purchase some off of a stressed out FA who now, in addition to being responsible for safety and service, is responsible for hawking meals and making change. Alot of the current thinking stems from the fact that comedians made fun of airline food, which was never really that bad, for so long that the public was trained to believe it was worthless. This in turn made it easy for cost-obsessed airline managements to eliminate the meals or reintroduce them as branded products you can pay for. I imagine they would have you pay extra for an oxygen mask or a seatbelt if they could legally get away with it.
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:29 am

That answer in the USA has been answered time and time again with a resounding "yes!"

Oh? Why not cite a few examples.
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:30 am

The point isn't necessarily WHAT you get, but the fact that you get SOMETHING. RyanAir was taking a lot of critic for not serving food. Everybody complains about how terrible airplane food is, but still, we want it. It is just one thing that have always separated bus, train and planes,you get fed at planes  Smile
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:33 am

I think the paying for food phenomenon will spread to the rest of the world. LCCs are starting up and growing on virtually every continent. The major airlines are getting the pricing pressure from LCCs in their own regions/countries, as their American counterparts already have, you'll see more and more service, food and perks being eliminated from the "majors" worldwide, especially on their short and medium routes.



Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:38 am

With all the competition LCCs give, wouldn't it be a good move for the majors to actually reinvent the airplane meal, kinda to get more customers out of it. Like mentioned earlier, the price of a meal isn't all that  Smile
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
ctbarnes
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:38 am

Oh? Why not cite a few examples

Southwest, JetBlue, Continental, Alaska Airlines, and moving further afield, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Air New Zeland just to name a few.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Southwest's success has less to do with their cost structure, than it does with having a simple, easy to use product combined with enthusiastic employees and a corporate philosophy that reflects a can-do mentality that is reflected in its customer service. You buy a ticket on Southwest, you know exactly what you are getting. There are few surprises, few opportunities for disappointment, and it's consistent. No one in the industry seems to realize the major airlines should stop trying to ape Southwest's cost structure and start copying their service model.

Charles, SJ

P.S: You're absolutely right, RivervisualNYC. It's become something of a vicious cycle.

[Edited 2003-11-20 23:46:24]
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
RiverVisualNYC
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:41 am

It's interesting to see the divergent opinions on this issue. I think it comes down to the US mentality, which seeks lowest cost/price no matter what, and European mentality which seeks some minimum level of service and civility as long as it's a decent value. America will ultimately suffer for this mentality, as you can't have job growth and an improved standard of living when the economy is managed based not on topline expansion but on taking costs out of the system to keep prices low.
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 9:54 am

RiverVisualNYC, I'm not sure I understand your point. Why then, are European airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet doing phenomenally well if Europeans demand something of more value? Those airlines have massive job growth and expansion. Sabena and Swiss, on the other hand, had topline expansion but ignored costs and one is history the other is struggling. The price conscious European traveler and businessperson, a growing class, are voting with their pocketbooks, much as their American counterparts already are.


Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
AASTEW
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 10:07 am

It all comes back to the WN, FL, B6, F9, NK, and TZ of the industry. Those airlines have all proven for YEARS that they can fly passenger's around the country with no food, no magazines, movies, and no pillows/blankets as long as you provide a CHEAPER fare. The public has showed the airline industry that they can accept traveling like that ALL IN THE NAME OF PRICE!

The Big Five couldn't compete! Therefore, they started scrambling on ways to cut cost. Food went out the window! However, CO was able to keep their food onboard, because first their cost are among the lowest of the big Five. Furthermore, they own their catering company. It doesn't cost CO has much to produce a passenger meal compared to other airlines that use SkyChef's and GateGourmet.

What ever happened to the Midwest, Legend, Pan Am II, and National II way of doing things with more CLASS! Is their still a market for that? Our industry has changed, yet again!

Just my 2 cents!
AALGASTEW
 
bistro1200
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 10:31 am

The US has Wal-Mart, Europe has Aldi and Lidl. I think Europe is closely trailing the US as far as least-cost consumer awareness is concerned.
Measure to the millimeter, mark with a crayon, cut with an axe.
 
b727
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 11:01 am

Keep in mind that the cheaper fares are not happening.
If they took $10.00 off my ticket for not eating a meal, I would go for it. They are charging the same amount and providing lees service/goods. I personally dont give a damn about crappy airline food, but dont think the airlines are getting one past me.
Now if someone wants a meal thay have to pay a more to and purchase the food on top of and already high fare.


B727
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patroni
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 11:54 am

The trend of airlines either to serve no food at all on shorter sectors or to charge for food is also increasing in Europe.
In the beginning, it was only found at the low cost airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet while the network carriers looked down on them and pointed out their superior service.
Well, with a weakening economy, more companies have become cost sensitive and don't care whether their employees have some frills during a flight or not. This is especially true for self-employed people and even more for private travellers.
So now even airlines like Swiss (who were proudly talking of the reinvention of civilized air travel not so long ago...) have abolished free meals on their shorter flights within Europe, same at Tyrolean/Austrian Errors. I think this will only be the beginning and others are due to follow the trend.

Speking of the risk to have too much or not sufficient catering on board: When I flew on Hapag-Lloyd Express last year, I noticed that they have outsourced the onboard catering to Gate Gourmet (?). The HLX flight attendants sell the snacks and drinks on behalf of Gate Gourmet and the airline cashes in a provision. The risk stays with the catering company. Actually a pretty clever system in my eyes.

Cheers,

Tom
 
jeffrey1970
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 11:56 am

AASTEW,

I understand what you are saying. However I think you miss the point. Yes, airlines like Southwest, Frontier, Jetblue...etc get people to fly on them with low fares, but I feel what keeps them comming is there good customer service. I wonder if United and Delta truely understand that with there new LCC's.

God bless through Jesus,

Jeff
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
AA777MIA
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 12:01 pm

B727:

Are you trying to tell me that fares are the same as they were when the airlines served food? I BEG to differ big time. When you can fly coast to coast round trip for under $300, which is almost more than it cost to go to London now, I don't see it. I put this out there. Why can Virgin Blue charge for sodas and snacks, but if a US airline did that these days, people would cry foul...
 
captaink
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:02 pm

My two cents? Airline charging for food is not only their way of cutting cost. THe ticket prices seem to be the same. Airlines are just using this as a nice way to make money. If every purchases a mean on every flight it is available on.. the airline would make a nice profit off the meals. The airlines need the extra cash. I don't support it at all though..
There is something special about planes....
 
cdgdtw
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:50 pm

"Are you going to feed us?"

Any flight over 30 minutes and this question starts. It would seem this industry is in the midst of change, a cultural change, really. It used to be completely common to have a rack of lamb and champagne on domestic flights. Carriers are flying more routes more frequently and the glamour of flying has truly become another form of transportation.

People seem so offended by the notion of buy on board meals in coach. It's a way to eat something after rushing through the terminal and can't take time to eat. Airlines are not going to return to the catering of the past. Honestly it's amazing what people will bitch about: PES, FOOD, F/A....This is after they complained about the $99 fare from Chicago to Orlando.
 
ctbarnes
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:22 pm

Instead of complaining about passenger demands, why not try LISTENING to them?

No one ever succeeded in business by telling their customers 'no.' Yet major airlines seem breathtakingly oblvious to this simple fact.

Saying that customers (and I use this word deliberately) want it all for a $99 fare is, quite frankly, a copout, and I don't buy it. All anyone is asking for is to be treated as if their business MATTERED. 32 inch seat pitch, some decent, but not extravigant food, respnsive employees, and an approach to service that avoids "we can't do that" as much as they realistily can. I don't see why this is unreasonable.

Charles, SJ
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
Spark
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:16 pm

This is a simple customer service fact. THE LAST TIME PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE MONEY IS WHEN THEY PAY THE BILL. I don't care if I paid $50, or $200 for a flight (I've paid both), I expect the same level of service from my airline.
I don't ask too much.
I want you to get me to there without a lot of hassle.
I want to be treated with a little respect.
I want to be kept aware of what is happening. If we are going to be late, I would like to know, and if possible, know when we may leave.
I expect to be given a beverage on a flight, but that's only because it is common practice. I would be surprised if an airline quit serving beverages, and would not feel respected by the airline.
Now paying for stuff on airplanes is a hassle for every one involved. It isn't really fair to flight attendents to handle money during a flight, and it just makes people feel violated (my opinion). If an airline is going to offer it too passengers, make it free. I have more of a problem paying for IFE than food. It just is penny pinching, and a big hassle.
Now there is always a debate between LCCs and mainline operators on this board. The idea is that LCCs offer little, or no service (which isn't true) for a lot less money (also not true). Mainline (Big 5) operators offer better service (not true) for more money (not entirely true).
Southwest and Jet Blue are two perfect examples. Their pricing structure is fairly simple (I've still paid a 150% more for the same flight on Southwest), but they treat customers with respect. Jet Blue offers limited beverage selection, but free Direct TV (better IFE than any other airline I've flown). Southwest has a little better beverage, but no IFE (not a bad magazine though).
I've also flown Nothwest, United, and Delta in recent years. Ironically, I've paid better fares on those than I got with Jet Blue and Southwest. If the majors are on sale, the fares are just as good (probably better). The customer service was probably worse on the three majors (although not bad). The food service was comparable, although United was slightly nicer. Delta gave me a meal on the OAK-ATL leg and return, but it sucked. NW was the worst, but it was also a red-eye. I had a problem that Detroit airport was closed, so I couldn't even get food when I changed planes (lack of customer respect).
It is a simple rule, treat customers with respect, or face the consequences. US airlines have never understood this, which is why they keep thinking the industry changes.
 
qqflyboy
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:28 pm

I wrote this in another thread and will post it here.

"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 costs $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."

Even with removing food from most domestic flights, AA's food and beverage from Oct. 2002 to Nov. 2003 cost $613 million dollars! (source: Flagship News, Nov. 2003)

BTW, AA still serves the lunch bag, called a "Bistro Bag" on flights over 3.5 hours during normal meal times. Transcons still have the hot meals.

AA777MIA, way to go! B727 is WAY off base here.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
 
ScottB
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 4:41 pm

Actually, if charging for meals *hadn't* been as successful as it has been, the US network carriers wouldn't have continued to roll it out to more and more routes. They'd simply be offering no meals or far more modest meals than what they sell. I've been very surprised by how many of my fellow passengers on Song have been willing to shell out $7-10 for a meal (even on a flight leaving at 8:30 PM!) -- but it also seems to me that what Song sells onboard offers value comparable to what you'd see at the airport. Delta's decision to roll out food sales on some of its mainline fleet was directly influenced by the success of food sales on Song.

If you say, "yes, I'd gladly pay $10 more per ticket to get a hot meal" -- well, that's basically what the onboard food sales are all about. You're still paying the same amount of money, and your fellow passengers who didn't really want that meal *don't* have to pay the extra money. Or are you angry that they're not subsidizing the cost of the onboard service you want? There are times (especially early AM flights) when I'd rather just sleep, and that meal you covet interests me not at all.

The history of the industry in the U.S. since deregulation has shown that for a large number of passengers, the three most important reasons for choosing one airline over another are price, price, and price. Some are willing to pay a *modest* premium for a non-stop flight or preferred time/airport or even what they perceive to be better onboard service, but the size of that premium is small *unless* someone else is paying the bill.

Post-9/11 and in the current industry depression, yields have been decimated because far fewer travelers have been willing to pay high "business" fares for "better" service. Travel budgets at many corporations have been extremely tight (if non-essential travel wasn't frozen completely). Even with broad industry cutbacks, yields are down. A greater percentage of travel is discretionary, and discretionary travel is price-driven. The rise of easy comparison shopping on the internet (Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, CheapTickets, etc.), along with the perception (not entirely unjustified) that all the airlines are the same and the fact that air travel is, at is base level, transportation, has made price competition even more intense.

Do not forget that the $10 each way per ticket which you are willing to shell out turns into $80 round-trip for a family of four going to visit family or Mickey. While that may seem like chump change to some of you, that's a lot of money to people who already have to scrimp and save to make ends meet.

Paying for things on airplanes today, with the new technologies out there, is *NOT* a hassle. Song takes credit cards -- the flight attendant just tallies it up on a handheld computer, swipes the card, and hands you a receipt. And on a long flight, you're just sitting there anyway, so what's the big hurry?

Some people (not all) *do* expect the moon for their $99 transcon fare. This is partially the fault of the network carriers for inflating their expectations. To be honest, my expectations are to be transported safely to and from my destination in a reasonably timely manner, to not be treated rudely, and to not be lied to. I don't expect sleeper seats, PTV's, gourmet meals, free booze (though I do believe that airlines egregiously overcharge for alcohol as compared to your local bar), hot towels, etc. I also expect to pay a reasonable fare, and I don't think that $300 for a one-hour flight is "reasonable."

Fares today, on an inflation-adjusted basis, are far, far, far lower than they were 25 years ago (before deregulation). This is indisputable and supported by DOT statistics. Between Boston and Houston (which I travel frequently), $350 r/t (with significant advance purchase, non-refundable, penalties for changes, etc.) was an incredibly good deal 15 years ago. I remember being astounded at finding a $129 one-way fare on "financially-troubled" TWA in 1992. Today, $250 r/t is the *regular* deeply discounted advance purchase fare -- and I paid $98 (before taxes) round-trip between BOS and IAH a number of times last year. I almost felt guilty aside from the facts that (1) the airline willingly sold me those seats and (2) there were empty seats on all the flights save one, which meant the airlines wouldn't have had the revenue otherwise.

And food service wasn't all that in the past, either. I can remember airline meals as a child which were so horrible as to be entirely inedible. One offering on United became the butt of a family joke -- "Turkey Surprise." I was surprised I didn't vomit after the first bite.
 
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:19 pm

Because the don't charge enough for tickets.

End of story.
 
tokolosh
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 9:21 pm

Personally, I appreciate meals on board as part of the service. Look at it this way: at home you have to pack, make sure you've got everything, get to the airport, check in, get to the gate. Hours have gone by. Sure, you can eat in the terminal but get charged ridiculous prices (captive audience!) and you need to build in the time for it. Once on the plane and airborne, you are ready to have something to eat, not so? Selling food on the aircraft is complicated and expensive (both for the carrier and the passenger). Just let us have the service please. And I'm pretty sure the cabin crew prefer being able to serve "free" meals rather than having to cope with taking money, giving change, etc. Also, a non-meal flight must be horribly boring for cabin crew -- one of the nice aspects of the job is professional service, surely.
Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?
 
RiverVisualNYC
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RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 7:35 am

It's really sad when people think that $5 or $10 is enough of a savings to affect which airline they choose. Especially when, on average, this is going to amount to something like 3-5% of the ticket price. This says alot about the mentality of the tapped-out American consumer. As for those who took issue with my point about Europe vs America, my real point was Europeans understand you get what you pay for. As in, if you are willing to spend a couple of hours traveling to and from the outlying airports, and are willing to fly open seating, and don't want a meal or beverage service, and don't care about FF mileage, you fly Ryanair or Easyjet. If you want to fly from city center to city center, you want your reserved window or aisle seat and some cabin service and FF mileage, you can choose BA or AF or LH or whatever. The problem with us Americans is that we often want the latter for the price of the former. Case in point: Last weekend I was on a UA flight from ORD to LGA, and an irate economy passenger was berating the FA for not having a meal onboard, which as she explained was UA policy on flights of under 2 1/2 hours. The issue was the passenger had been told by Expedia.com, where he had booked the ticket, that there was a meal on the flight and he expected the meal, even though clearly there was no meal to be had and United cannot obviously be responsible for info that Expedia gives out. The point of course is you get what you pay for. The industry is struggling and majors are under pressure to match the fares of the LCCs. They can't offer free meals at those sorts of fares. On a $250 r/t ticket, there are presumably a fair number of people who would be willing to pay a few bucks more up front to get a meal, and not have to reach into their pocket to buy it from the FA which is apparently the trend. How about a compromise, and allowing those who want a meal to order it when making a reservation and build the price into the ticket? That way, the passenger doesn't have to fish for his/her wallet in the cramped onboard surroundings and the airline can predict how many meals each flight will require. Some extras could be added for sale to those that want to buy on board, but this would be a limited number based on first come first served basis. I fail to see how selling meals onboard without the opportunity to order in advance is efficient in terms of knowing how many to stock each flight with. Obviously, if the flight is overstocked with meals and there is little demand, many will have to be thrown out. If the flight is understocked with meals, and more passengers want to buy than there are meals available, some will be very disappointed and it will leave them with a negative impression of that airline, especially if the passengers were conditioned to believe the aircraft was stocked with one meal per person. Of course, maybe the most efficient thing from a logistical perspective is one meal per person, built into the ticket price, but I guess that is outdated, 20th century thinking.
 
DLMHT
Posts: 99
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:49 am

RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 8:47 am

For years, I've heard people knocking airline food; calling it "mystery meat" and totally inedible. In response to this, and in response to the bleak times in the industry, the airlines cut their food service.

Suddenly, you all are crying out that you demand to be fed----a hot meal---not the little bitty bag of peanuts and a Coke. Ticket prices are actually less than several years ago, before the downturn,and yet everyone demands the same conveniences as before.

So now, to again answer the demands of passengers, airlines such as DL, B6, HP, and others began offering food again on the flights, for a fee. This is not the same food as before, but is actually quality food from vendors such as the Atlanta Bread Company and Mrs. Fields and Cinnabon. Is it not reasonable that the airlines charge for this? Would you rather fly from BOS-LAX for $375 round trip with nothing but a bag of peanuts to snack on; or, fly from BOS-LAX for $375 round trip plus an additional $10 for a meal of your choosing, something healthy and fulfilling?

Sure, the airlines are making a few bucks off of each meal they sell, but who's to blame them? It's either that, or have everyone stop off at McDonalds before boarding to get their heart-attack-in-a-bag.

DLMHT
 
RiverVisualNYC
Posts: 926
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:11 am

RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 8:57 am

DLMHT: You seem to conclude that the food for sale is better because it's branded. Yet unbranded items are generally cheaper, and that's partly why passengers have abandoned well-known airline brands for new LCCs. It's a sad comment on the industry when the public thinks "Mrs. Fields" has more brand equity than "Delta." As for Mc Donald's, it's just a matter of time before that stuff is for sale on the plane, nevermind passengers bringing it on. Some flights actually now smell like a McDonalds because there are so many bags of fries and greasy burgers onboard. While it's better than the cigarette-smoke filled cabins of yesterday, it's unpleasant to smell that odor for 2 or 3 hours straight. Maybe it should be suggested to those that want Mickey D's that they step outside the cabin and try the "drive through window."
 
DLMHT
Posts: 99
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:49 am

RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 9:13 am

all I'm saying is.....the food offered now is of a lot more quality than before, so they can justify charging for it.
 
luv2fly
Posts: 11056
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:57 am

RE: Why Do US Carriers Charge For Food?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 9:20 am

I think the fact that they no longer offer food, and the level of service and the attitude is such that people naturally are complaining. The fact that food is not being offered just highlights the lack of service anymore onboard.
You can cut the irony with a knife