And as their costs undoubtedly rise, so will their prices.
On short flights, like those of 3 hours and less, 'free' food and drink is really not necessary. When travelling by coach or train for such durations, do you expect free refreshments then? I think not. Accordingly, why expect it in the air? You expect it because that's traditionally what's served, and some people do not like change - even for the better.
By withdrawing refreshments - which are generally of quite a poor quality anyway, bar the canned drinks - airlines will not only save considerable money - which can be passed onto the consumer in the form of lower prices - but also generate quite a lot of additional revenue through the sale of refreshments (inflight refreshment sales amount to 7% of FR
's total revenue). This is a win-win situation. Yes, some people might complain that the prices are high, but if you don't like it bring your own. It's quite simple. And by bringing your own (or buying it in a shop at the airport or whatever), you can pretty much assure the quality.
I travel frequently yet don't care if I don't get any food or drink. If I REALLY want a cup of tea, I'll buy one. If I think I'll need something to eat, I'll pack a sandwich or buy one at the airport. I really don't know what all the fuss is about on what is, in reality, a pretty inconsequencial topic.
You really must come to grips with the fact that airlines are now rightly realising the essential need to be efficient. You will see more and more cost-cutting and lower prices. You will see more 'frills' taken away. All of this cost-effectiveness will enable airlines to operate more competitively and, hopefully, profitably. 'Unfit' airlines - those which are poorly run, i.e. by not increasing efficiency and which operate as though they're in the dark ages - will not last (look at most of the major airlines in the USA, which are grossly unprofitable). The markets are changing, and airlines are adapting to meet the new needs. Sure, some people will pay greatly for full frills, but more and more people will require a lower price than anything else, on short-ish flights (3-3.5 hours or less). If you don't like the changes - and naturally not everyone will - then just take your busines elsewhere. Today's short-haul flights are more about pricing than anything else.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."