N415XJ
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US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:52 am

A recent topic regarding the withdrawl of free meals got me thinking... why can't airlines just give the customer the option to buy a hot meal on a domestic flight when buying their ticket? The customer would just tick a "Would you like a meal" box, be charged $10 or $12 or whatever in addition to their ticket, and they get their meal on board. The airline would make some money, not as much food would go to waste compared to the free meal days, and customers would be able to eat on the plane. Of course, one could argue that most would opt to get a much better hot meal in the terminal before their flight, but often times connection times are tight. Personally, I will only sit down for a meal if I know I have a good 2 hours before boarding, because you never know just how long it will take at the restaurant. And a hot meal option, as airplane-food-ey as it may be, is better in my opinion than a dry, plastic-wrapped sandwich from Wolfgang Puck To Go that I may grab if I have a tight connection. And of course it would be much better than a box of cheese and crackers and salami that you may buy on board. Has any airline done this in the past? And why would it not be feasible (assuming that the airlines have already thought about it and decided against it, which is probably the case)? I know that US Airways offers/offered this, but it was on international flights and was an 'upgrade' option to the existing food options.
 
Max752
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:58 am

You answered your own question. All US airports have restaurants. All airports with 1 million plus pax seem to have some pretty nice accommodations as well. Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

It just doesn't make logistical sense.

-Max

[Edited 2015-02-24 20:03:00]
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northwestEWR
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:59 am

I really miss Midwest Airlines. Their buy-on-board program wasn't junk food or snacks. It was a legit meal that was usually extremely good and healthy. Usually $8-$12 available on the aircraft. That was fantastic.

I keep hoping that DL will implement a similar program as they strive to keep improving the customer experience. But I am not holding my breath.
Northwest Airlines - Now You're Flying Smart
 
KD5MDK
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:25 am

I had an extremely nice and essential grilled cheese on AS flying AUS-SEA. I got the last one on that flight I believe.
 
MAH4546
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:28 am

Quoting Max752 (Reply 1):
Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

Alaska Airlines would beg to differ. It offers hot meals in coach.

As would most airlines in many foreign countries where hot meals on flight as short as 45 minutes are the norm.

Even American Airlines still offers full meals in coach on short flights between Miami and South America, although I don't think they are hot anymore as the ovens were removed from coach.
a.
 
N415XJ
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:31 am

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 2):

I really miss Midwest Airlines. Their buy-on-board program wasn't junk food or snacks. It was a legit meal that was usually extremely good and healthy. Usually $8-$12 available on the aircraft. That was fantastic.

What did they consist of? Were they hot meals, or cold but healthy salads/sandwiches and the like? I miss Midwest too; I never got a chance to fly with them, but their livery had to be one of the best to ever grace the skies. It even made the B1900 look good!  
 
afcjets
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:51 am

Hawaiian Airlines offers free hot meals in coach between the mainland US and Hawaii (lunch and dinner but no hot breakfast) and of course on international flights too. IIRC a few years ago they offered an upgraded hot meal you could purchase at time of booking which was a premium meal. I believe it was $20.
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:01 am

Quoting mah4546 (Reply 4):
Alaska Airlines would beg to differ. It offers hot meals in coach.

I had the Jambalaya SEA-ABQ and it was decent. It was appreciated due to an unanticipated 1 hour ground delay after boarding in SEA. Five-ish hours without a meal isn't life-threatening, but having a nice hot option for a reasonable price ($8?) was appreciated.

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
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northwestEWR
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:07 am

Quoting N415XJ (Reply 5):

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 2):

I really miss Midwest Airlines. Their buy-on-board program wasn't junk food or snacks. It was a legit meal that was usually extremely good and healthy. Usually $8-$12 available on the aircraft. That was fantastic.

What did they consist of? Were they hot meals, or cold but healthy salads/sandwiches and the like? I miss Midwest too; I never got a chance to fly with them, but their livery had to be one of the best to ever grace the skies. It even made the B1900 look good!  

Amen. So nice to see an airplane that wasn't white. YX was a class act.

Probably my favorite meal they served was a cold spinach/greens mix, with cheeses, pecans, croutons, raisins and topped with a warm strip steak and served with a delicious French style dressing. It was phenomenal and I picked it every chance I had. They also made a hot Asian noodle dish that was equally outstanding. Making me hungry!
Northwest Airlines - Now You're Flying Smart
 
laca773
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:17 am

Quoting Max752 (Reply 1):
You answered your own question. All US airports have restaurants. All airports with 1 million plus pax seem to have some pretty nice accommodations as well. Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

It just doesn't make logistical sense.

Why doesn't it make logistical sense? Many connections are too tight to grab something. It's a great idea, though at $10-12, you won't get much. The catch is, you have to offer things people want to eat, and that taste good. Also as Mark, mentions, many have removed the ovens from the Y galleys. I can see ovens being placed again i. HA allows a passenger to upgrade their complimentary meal to a nicer one for a cost.

Quoting mah4546 (Reply 4):
Even American Airlines still offers full meals in coach on short flights between Miami and South America, although I don't think they are hot anymore as the ovens were removed from coach.

I know the flights to BOG still get hot meals, even if they are not the best. DL still serves hot meals on their 737/738/A319/757s that fly to South America as well as cold meals on ATL/JFK-Central America and MEX flights. I believe JFK/ATL-SJU also get cold meals in the main cabin.
 
Skydrol
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:18 am

AC offers hot meal purchase on flights 2 hours or longer. It is 11 or 13 $, and they are in limited quantity, but have always been very good when I've had them. Typically it is the breakfast or lunch/dinner entrée offered in J. I believe this is an excellent option, but there should be a few more available, since it is popular, and they are often sold out.

For some reason, a.net is blocking adding a link to the AC web page, but this option is shown on page 4 of the AC Café menu as 'Meal tray'.




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jolau1701
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:31 am

Some of the sandwiches on UA are served warm on some planes (Sub-CO 737s and widebodies, I think)
 
randyh3253
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:20 am

Depending on which direction your flying our (AS) current options are:
-Tom Douglas' Cascade Brisket Chili $8
-Tom Douglas’ Red Miso Ginger Chicken $8
-Shepherd’s Pie $7
-Chicken Bánh Mi Sandwich $7
-The Alaska Angus Cheeseburger $7
-Teriyaki Chicken Bowl $7

For breakfast we offer:
-Beecher’s Breakfast Sandwich $7
-Greek Breakfast Scramble $7
-Island Hash $7

[Edited 2015-02-25 02:23:19]
 
skyhawkmatthew
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:50 am

Quoting Max752 (Reply 1):
You answered your own question. All US airports have restaurants. All airports with 1 million plus pax seem to have some pretty nice accommodations as well. Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

It just doesn't make logistical sense.

Meanwhile in Australia Qantas offers free hot meals on hour-twenty sectors between BNE, SYD and MEL.
Qantas - The Spirit of Australia.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:09 pm

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):

A recent topic regarding the withdrawl of free meals got me thinking... why can't airlines just give the customer the option to buy a hot meal on a domestic flight when buying their ticket?

Why bother? AS will bring you a hot meal in Y class without pre-ordering and their meals are quite good (if not a bit small on the portions).
-Doc Lightning-

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washingtonflyer
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:12 pm

Quoting Max752 (Reply 1):
Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

6 hour transcons are short?
 
S75752
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:49 pm

Quoting Max752 (Reply 1):
Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

...Domestic flights too short? Including transcons? I'd argue that all factors considered, from rushes to meet flights due to traffic, delays, or short connection times not allowing for picking up food, to just not being hungry in the airport to being hungry part way through a 5 hour flight, plus the sometimes unpredictable hungers of children, there's plenty of usage for hot food options onboard for purchase. I think that flights above 3.5 hours could definitely see it applicable.

It would need to be something more than the nauseating cheese things UA offers though. Nobody will buy it if it's unappetizing. The common impression of airplane food in economy seems to be A. Lazy and B. Gross. The snackboxes fall under the former and are sufficient for a sub 3 hour flight but horribly insufficient for a Transcon. The half-arsed attempts like that amazingly bad Roast Beef and Cheddar baguette on UA fall under the latter (it tasted so synthetic and just wrong). The price is obviously the third concern but I think that when someone is stuck 2.5 hours in to the 4-7 hour domestic flight, then the price will start to look like a bargain for something actually decent.

Perhaps there are developments to be made to allow for food to be preserved longer on an aircraft and then heated more rapidly on demand, rather than the fresh preparation that seems to be the norm for first class, and rather than simply having to throw out unbought items after every flight or however much.

US airlines also have a good amount of the infrastructure set up for ordering meals instead of just waiting for the drink cart to come through once or twice throughout the flight. That WiFi system installed on the majority of planes now is perfect to let passengers purchase items with their credit cards (or perhaps prepaid options) right on their devices, with a nice gallery of items to pick from with stocks updated on the plane in real time using the onboard server. And of course, the option to prepurchase meals either at the time of booking or as close to the time as at the gate during boarding would be essential too.

A good first step for all carriers would be to get rid of the exclusivity of certain options to certain routes or times, and make them available at all times.

I mean seriously. Ryanair has food options now. Freaking Ryanair! Ryanair!

[Edited 2015-02-25 08:54:40]
 
airDFW
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:35 pm

On this topic why would't AA retain the US option of upgrading the meal offering for a price for international flights in Y? I think the AA offerings quality has gone down recently. A $20 option to upgrade food, I will definitely consider.
 
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compensateme
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:34 pm

NW tried hot meals for sale circa 2005. They were Wolfgang branded, upscale & restaurant-quality -- and cheap ($5) because the goal was to break even, not profit from it. They weren't well received and the program ended shortly thereafter.

Reality is that there's not a large market for hot meal service. Even cold offerings have been scaled in recent years.
We don’t care what your next flight is.
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:38 pm

I'm probably one of those weird people that doesn't like to eat around other people who aren't eating. On an airplane I don't think I'd be as inclined to order a meal (versus snacks) when my seatmates are just sitting there watching me eat. When I flew on AS to ABQ a while back, I did the BOB, but I was fortunate because the only two empty seats on the plane were next to me.

Ya, I'm weird.....

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:54 pm

Quoting Max752 (Reply 1):
Also, domestic flights are too short to offer hot meal boxes.

The rest of the world would beg to differ! I got served this on a 35 minutes flight LGW-JER last week:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2015-02-22%2021.14.55.jpg

You should check out the Air Asia preflight meal ordering choices (just make a dummy booking). There is normally a choice of around 10 hot meals and snacks for ~$4 each, and they're served on some very short flights. Why? Because it makes money. I see no reason to not offer something like this in the US, especially on some of the longer sectors. I flew Y+ JFK-LAX on DL recently and got quite a nice wrap and yoghurty thing. If you could rely on something like that being available, then i'm sure people will buy them, and probably prefer to buy them in advance.
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PlanesNTrains
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:00 pm

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 20):
I got served this on a 35 minutes flight LGW-JER last week:

That's better than I get served at home!  

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
BrianDromey
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:53 pm

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 20):
The rest of the world would beg to differ! I got served this on a 35 minutes flight LGW-JER last week:

In Club! (Business). Down the back it would be an individually wrapped crisp and a G&T, still not a bad offering.

I do find it odd that even FR have ovens in Y and offer a pretty sizeable selection of BOB products, hot and cold, yet American airlines do not. Airlines all over the world seem to make it work, and there are just as many eateries and restaurants at UK airports, in particular.
This is the sandwich/meal selection EI offers on all Ireland-EU and UK flights (Aer Lingus Regional doe snot offer the hot sandwiches, but is otherwise identical)
http://www.aerlingus.com/inflight-ex...cing-bia/clodaghs-kitchen-for-bia/
Pre-order emails look like this:
https://instagram.com/p/zf96jtQmyi/
 
S75752
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:57 am

Quoting compensateme (Reply 18):


Reality is that there's not a large market for hot meal service. Even cold offerings have been scaled in recent years.

I'd think that the market is there but untapped - when people see a rather pathetic looking sandwich, or a very boring an tiny snackbox, they're naturally going to be turned away by the sheer lack of any appeal. It needs to be something that people may actually want to eat, and when you're 3 hours in to a 5 or 6 hour flight something actually appetizing starts to feel very appealing.

I'd have expected the trend to rekindle with VX of all carriers - but nonetheless their selections are an even tinier and pricier bad value than UA's.

If the market really is small, I wonder how long until F/J meals are gradually reduced too in the US... And how much money airlines would save on that as well.
 
tommy767
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RE: US Domestic- Option To Buy Hot Meals?

Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:22 am

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 2):
I keep hoping that DL will implement a similar program as they strive to keep improving the customer experience. But I am not holding my breath.

DL serves hot cheeseburgers on JFK-LAX/SFO for around $9.
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