|Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 10):|
Any insight on this... My thought is that if NWO could do it, then FL could as well.
If they did, Kudos to them.
I don't know that it is so much "could" do it as actually did it.
If you go back to before roughly 1975/1980 or so, meal and snack service was far more common. With fares regulated, onboard service (including meals) was a key way airlines differentiated themselves and were competitive. The mindset of meals was generally that if it is roughly mealtime, you need to serve something if at all possible. Even on a 150 mile hop. Airline timetables often showed a "continental breakfast" symbol on really short morning flights, wihch usually meant a quick pass with coffee, water, milk, and a sweet roll. I don't think the OAG had a symbol for that, so it sometimes appeard as a B for Breakfast or an S for Snack. With some exceptions, if you found food on a 100-150 mile hop in the old days, it was most likely a contnental breakfast (as descrived above) on an early-morning flight.
That changed pretty quickly in the late 70's as deregulation bloomed, because...
--fares trumped service as the primary point of competition
--expectations of passengers for onboard food dropped, especially as discounters popped up who served nothing and apparently didn't suffer a lack of passengers for minimal onboard service
--load factors climbed, making it hard to serve on short flights
--flight attendent staffing was increasingly cut to FAA-required minimums to save money, again making service more difficult to serve on short flights
--cost saving pressures led airlines to reduce catering and commissary bases. For NW
to serve that snack (probably a continental breakfast) on an early-morning MSN
flight, they needed to have catering in Madison.
--scheduling got more aggressive, and catering at outstatons was increasingly viewed as just something that unnecessarily slowed things down.
By the early 80's meals on short hops disappeared very quickly, and that's why I suspect the MKE
-RFD notation on the ?OAG for a snack was probably a typo or programming glitch.
I probably have a Frontier timetable from around then, and if I can find it I'll see if they note a snack on this hop (like the OAG shows) as well as food on similar short Frontier hops at the time for a more definative answer one way or another.