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twosoun
Topic Author
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Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:45 am

Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 12:50 am

Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


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777luver
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:44 am

Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:15 am

No. BoB makes money.
 
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Rookie87
Posts: 356
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:33 pm

Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:25 am

twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


You can always ask for a second bag of pretzels lol

I think that the comparison doesn’t work between US carriers and the Asian carriers who are dwarfed by the US fleets and the size of the US market as a whole. The big 3 have what? 10 or more hubs each?
Which Asian carrier compares to that?
When they did have meals people whined about airplane food regularly. Take it away, people whine they don’t have it. What would adding the meals back add to the US airlines? If DL had hot meals in domestic coach, would you exclusively fly them no matter the price? The honest answer is no for the majority of people so there that goes

What I am curious about though is a cost structure on similar length/size route. The transcons before Covid did introduce complimentary food, a box with a sandwich, chips and cookie etc
 
USAirALB
Posts: 2905
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:46 am

Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:29 am

IIRC, DL has seriously considered going back to complimentary meal service in Y a number of times, but has decided against it. They did offer complimentary cold meals (sandwich + side) on a number of transcon routes pre-pandemic (DCA-LAX, JFK-SFO/LAX/SEA/PDX, BOS-SFO/LAX/SEA, SEA-RDU/FLL/MCO). The offering was decent. They couldn't go back to hot meal service as I believe they removed ovens from their domestic fleet, sans for a few 738/739s that had them (unsure if they still do).

United is the only US carrier that has ovens in their Y galley on their domestic fleet.

It bothers me whenever people say things like "bring food from home" or "you can last 6 hours without food service". A couple of years back I did DCA-DFW-ANC. The flight left DCA in the late morning, and the connection time in DFW wasn't long enough to stop and get food. We ended up having a ground delay after boarding in DFW, and we landed in ANC late, close to 8PM local time, or around midnight DCA time. They ran out of BOB by the time they got to my row, and I was quite hungry by the time I got to ANC. Not sure what type of meal I would be able to pack from home that would sustain me for 12 hours, plus make it through TSA, and the 3.5 hour flight to DFW and the connection. A complimentary meal would have been a welcome offering.
777luver wrote:
No. BoB makes money.

I don't think that is true.

I always heard that airlines don't make money on their BOB programs, but rather it allows them to recoup some of their losses from their domestic Y catering program. If anything it probably breaks even.
 
777luver
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:44 am

Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:38 am

USAirALB wrote:
IIRC, DL has seriously considered going back to complimentary meal service in Y a number of times, but has decided against it. They did offer complimentary cold meals (sandwich + side) on a number of transcon routes pre-pandemic (DCA-LAX, JFK-SFO/LAX/SEA/PDX, BOS-SFO/LAX/SEA, SEA-RDU/FLL/MCO). The offering was decent. They couldn't go back to hot meal service as I believe they removed ovens from their domestic fleet, sans for a few 738/739s that had them (unsure if they still do).

United is the only US carrier that has ovens in their Y galley on their domestic fleet.

It bothers me whenever people say things like "bring food from home" or "you can last 6 hours without food service". A couple of years back I did DCA-DFW-ANC. The flight left DCA in the late morning, and the connection time in DFW wasn't long enough to stop and get food. We ended up having a ground delay after boarding in DFW, and we landed in ANC late, close to 8PM local time, or around midnight DCA time. They ran out of BOB by the time they got to my row, and I was quite hungry by the time I got to ANC. Not sure what type of meal I would be able to pack from home that would sustain me for 12 hours, plus make it through TSA, and the 3.5 hour flight to DFW and the connection. A complimentary meal would have been a welcome offering.
777luver wrote:
No. BoB makes money.

I don't think that is true.

I always heard that airlines don't make money on their BOB programs, but rather it allows them to recoup some of their losses from their domestic Y catering program. If anything it probably breaks even.


I stand corrected. I was pretty sure they made money. They have to make something in my opinion. Your answer makes a lot of sense as well. It's It's cheaper because from what I understand it's cheaper for the airlines to do it this way although I can't remember if it's because they get a buyback on what they sell or what if someone could correct me.
 
alasizon
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Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:55 am

777luver wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
IIRC, DL has seriously considered going back to complimentary meal service in Y a number of times, but has decided against it. They did offer complimentary cold meals (sandwich + side) on a number of transcon routes pre-pandemic (DCA-LAX, JFK-SFO/LAX/SEA/PDX, BOS-SFO/LAX/SEA, SEA-RDU/FLL/MCO). The offering was decent. They couldn't go back to hot meal service as I believe they removed ovens from their domestic fleet, sans for a few 738/739s that had them (unsure if they still do).

United is the only US carrier that has ovens in their Y galley on their domestic fleet.

It bothers me whenever people say things like "bring food from home" or "you can last 6 hours without food service". A couple of years back I did DCA-DFW-ANC. The flight left DCA in the late morning, and the connection time in DFW wasn't long enough to stop and get food. We ended up having a ground delay after boarding in DFW, and we landed in ANC late, close to 8PM local time, or around midnight DCA time. They ran out of BOB by the time they got to my row, and I was quite hungry by the time I got to ANC. Not sure what type of meal I would be able to pack from home that would sustain me for 12 hours, plus make it through TSA, and the 3.5 hour flight to DFW and the connection. A complimentary meal would have been a welcome offering.
777luver wrote:
No. BoB makes money.

I don't think that is true.

I always heard that airlines don't make money on their BOB programs, but rather it allows them to recoup some of their losses from their domestic Y catering program. If anything it probably breaks even.


I stand corrected. I was pretty sure they made money. They have to make something in my opinion. Your answer makes a lot of sense as well. It's It's cheaper because from what I understand it's cheaper for the airlines to do it this way although I can't remember if it's because they get a buyback on what they sell or what if someone could correct me.


Catering as a whole isn't "profitable" but BOB itself is compared to cost of goods. Catering isn't supposed to make a profit though, it's supposed to justify the level of service paid for.
 
ASFlyer
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:06 am

USAirALB wrote:
IIRC, DL has seriously considered going back to complimentary meal service in Y a number of times, but has decided against it. They did offer complimentary cold meals (sandwich + side) on a number of transcon routes pre-pandemic (DCA-LAX, JFK-SFO/LAX/SEA/PDX, BOS-SFO/LAX/SEA, SEA-RDU/FLL/MCO). The offering was decent. They couldn't go back to hot meal service as I believe they removed ovens from their domestic fleet, sans for a few 738/739s that had them (unsure if they still do).

United is the only US carrier that has ovens in their Y galley on their domestic fleet.

It bothers me whenever people say things like "bring food from home" or "you can last 6 hours without food service". A couple of years back I did DCA-DFW-ANC. The flight left DCA in the late morning, and the connection time in DFW wasn't long enough to stop and get food. We ended up having a ground delay after boarding in DFW, and we landed in ANC late, close to 8PM local time, or around midnight DCA time. They ran out of BOB by the time they got to my row, and I was quite hungry by the time I got to ANC. Not sure what type of meal I would be able to pack from home that would sustain me for 12 hours, plus make it through TSA, and the 3.5 hour flight to DFW and the connection. A complimentary meal would have been a welcome offering.


Alaska has ovens in Y on their entire Boeing fleet, which makes up the majority of the fleet.

In the scenario you mention, you could always have picked up something at DCA to eat along the way. That was a long day without food but there were options with a little planning.
 
USAirALB
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:12 am

ASFlyer wrote:
Alaska has ovens in Y on their entire Boeing fleet, which makes up the majority of the fleet.

In the scenario you mention, you could always have picked up something at DCA to eat along the way. That was a long day without food but there were options with a little planning.

That's interesting-I knew they have ovens in Y on the 737s (and I think the E-Jets also had ovens in the rear galley, correct me if I am wrong) but I assumed they would have removed them given that they shifted to cold BOB after the VX acquisition.

I recognize I am shooting myself in the foot by stating this (and being difficult, after all we are talking about airline food...not exactly gourmet) but I don't eat fast food and I find the food options at DCA (and most airports in the US) to be nasty...worse than anything I have ever been served inflight. I also live only 20 minutes away by Metro from the terminal so I frequently show up at the airport just as boarding begins.
 
ASFlyer
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:22 am

USAirALB wrote:
ASFlyer wrote:
Alaska has ovens in Y on their entire Boeing fleet, which makes up the majority of the fleet.

In the scenario you mention, you could always have picked up something at DCA to eat along the way. That was a long day without food but there were options with a little planning.

That's interesting-I knew they have ovens in Y on the 737s (and I think the E-Jets also had ovens in the rear galley, correct me if I am wrong) but I assumed they would have removed them given that they shifted to cold BOB after the VX acquisition.

I recognize I am shooting myself in the foot by stating this (and being difficult, after all we are talking about airline food...not exactly gourmet) but I don't eat fast food and I find the food options at DCA (and most airports in the US) to be nasty...worse than anything I have ever been served inflight. I also live only 20 minutes away by Metro from the terminal so I frequently show up at the airport just as boarding begins.


The Horizon E-jets also have ovens, yes. Not sure the intention of keeping ovens, except to provide flexibility for the future. Alaska moved to cold meals in the main cabin for consistency between the Airbus and Boeing fleet. Airbus planes don't have ovens.

I love Cava near the Alaska gates at DCA. The food is really healthy and good. I suppose that's all up to individual tastes though.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:29 am

USAirALB wrote:
It bothers me whenever people say things like "bring food from home" or "you can last 6 hours without food service". A couple of years back I did DCA-DFW-ANC. The flight left DCA in the late morning, and the connection time in DFW wasn't long enough to stop and get food. We ended up having a ground delay after boarding in DFW, and we landed in ANC late, close to 8PM local time, or around midnight DCA time. They ran out of BOB by the time they got to my row, and I was quite hungry by the time I got to ANC. Not sure what type of meal I would be able to pack from home that would sustain me for 12 hours, plus make it through TSA, and the 3.5 hour flight to DFW and the connection. A complimentary meal would have been a welcome offering.

Had it happen back in 2007 where we had lunch at home at 10:30 AM right before we left for JFK. We were flying JFK-SLC-ANC. We got on board the flight at JFK for a departure at 16:30 PM, but didn't push back until 17:14 PM and didn't take off until 18:12 PM. By the time we landed in SLC, there was no hope of getting any food there, as we had to run to the other side of the terminal to catch the flight to ANC, which isn't easy to do with grandparents in their 70s and 80s. We eventually landed in ANC at 23:52 PM, and once off the flight, proceeded to grab our bags and head to the rental car area. During the wait for the rental car, I left to go find food and managed to order a burger. It would be my luck that by the time my food was ready, so were the rental cars, so I didn't even get a chance to eat it before I had to go back. We eventually arrived at the hotel, where I was finally able to eat my burger....at 01:42 AM, which was 05:42 AM New York time. This was over 19 hours since I had eaten lunch. Buy-on-board wasn't going to save me, as my dad wasn't willing to spend the money to buy food on the plane, even though ironically, he didn't have a problem with doing so at the airport. On the return flight from SEA to JFK, our flight had been delayed for over three hours, as the plane was delayed departing JFK. Once the inbound plane arrived, I walked off to go find some food before boarding the flight, as I wasn't about to play that starving game again.
 
USAirALB
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:20 am

ASFlyer wrote:
I love Cava near the Alaska gates at DCA. The food is really healthy and good. I suppose that's all up to individual tastes though.

Cava is okay-it's a staple of meeting lunches for almost every industry in DC that one grows sick of it very quickly.

One thing I will say, I am not sure if its directly related to the demise of catering on domestic flights in Y, or simply because more people are paying attention to what they eat, I appreciate the tsome airports seem to be working hard to incorporate local restaurants into their offerings in the terminal. SFO does a great job of that IMO.
 
ASFlyer
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:52 am

USAirALB wrote:
ASFlyer wrote:
I love Cava near the Alaska gates at DCA. The food is really healthy and good. I suppose that's all up to individual tastes though.

Cava is okay-it's a staple of meeting lunches for almost every industry in DC that one grows sick of it very quickly.


agreed that anything you have a lot of gets old but it definitely beats a reaheated tv dinner served up on an airplane, and it definitely beats going hungry on a 10 hour day of flying.

USAirALB wrote:
One thing I will say, I am not sure if its directly related to the demise of catering on domestic flights in Y, or simply because more people are paying attention to what they eat, I appreciate the tsome airports seem to be working hard to incorporate local restaurants into their offerings in the terminal. SFO does a great job of that IMO.


Seattle does a decent job as well. Waji's, Beechers, Skillet, Evergreen and Pallino are all good examples. I think a Woody's burgers is coming too - which is really good.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 6:13 am

twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


No, I don't think any airline will offer complementary meals ever again. After all, meals cost money which has to come out of the ticket price. That means that any airline that offers meals will have to charge higher fares than the competition, which doesn't offer meals. The first thing people look at when deciding which airline to fly is the ticket price, so anything that raises the ticket price and can be left out is being left out. Meals are an example of that.

The airline might offer the meals for free, but it's not free for them. The US is a highly competitive market for airlines, every dollar matters. About 30 years ago American Airlines made about $40,000 a year by leaving out one olive from the salad they offered on-board. If a single olive can make that much money, imagine what leaving out the entire salad makes them. Those salads from American Airlines is basically where savings on food started.

You're complaining that you can't get two bags of pretzels for free, however think about what it would cost the airline to provide each passenger with two bags of pretzels. Let's say they can buy pretzels for $1 a bag, so you're asking for $2 a flight from them. Since profit margins in aviation are extremely narrow, those $2 will seriously eat into their revenue. After all, an airline like Delta carried 204 million passengers in 2019. Not all of them are domestic, but a good number of them are. Let's say 130 million domestic passengers. That's $260 million worth of pretzels we're talking about.

If you want two bags of pretzels on board, you can buy them. Buy-on-board programs at least give airlines the chance to cover the costs of their food, and it gives you the opportunity to choose from a wider variety of products. For you that money doesn't make much difference, for the airline it does.
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:05 pm

twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


On a 3-5 hour flight in Asia, you would get 2-3 rounds of service in Y. Drinks round (complementary), Hot Meals followed by a Tea/Coffee/Drinks round.

The argument of size doesn't make sense. Being much larger, airlines in the US should have advantage of scale. Meals in Y have gone away on US airlines because of greed. Catering companies charge insane amounts as compared to India or East Asia where an economy hot meal can be catered for as little as $2.5/tray. In contrast, I am told getting a bag of ice on a plane costs $100. Airlines began cutting back at first to keep costs down and then realised they could get away with it.

In Asia, hot meals in Y are the primary differentiator between LCC and Full service carriers. In the US the only difference between flying Southwest and United is the miles. Rest everything is exactly the same. INfact i think Southwest has more legroom in Y than United!
 
FlyingHonu001
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:15 pm

twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Maybe consider ordering a 'special meal'...some airlines usually do the extra mile, by catering for people with special needs.
 
twosoun
Topic Author
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:01 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


On a 3-5 hour flight in Asia, you would get 2-3 rounds of service in Y. Drinks round (complementary), Hot Meals followed by a Tea/Coffee/Drinks round.

The argument of size doesn't make sense. Being much larger, airlines in the US should have advantage of scale. Meals in Y have gone away on US airlines because of greed. Catering companies charge insane amounts as compared to India or East Asia where an economy hot meal can be catered for as little as $2.5/tray. In contrast, I am told getting a bag of ice on a plane costs $100. Airlines began cutting back at first to keep costs down and then realised they could get away with it.

In Asia, hot meals in Y are the primary differentiator between LCC and Full service carriers. In the US the only difference between flying Southwest and United is the miles. Rest everything is exactly the same. INfact i think Southwest has more legroom in Y than United!

Bingo!


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phatfarmlines
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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 12:06 pm

Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:34 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
On a 3-5 hour flight in Asia, you would get 2-3 rounds of service in Y. Drinks round (complementary), Hot Meals followed by a Tea/Coffee/Drinks round.

The argument of size doesn't make sense. Being much larger, airlines in the US should have advantage of scale. Meals in Y have gone away on US airlines because of greed. Catering companies charge insane amounts as compared to India or East Asia where an economy hot meal can be catered for as little as $2.5/tray. In contrast, I am told getting a bag of ice on a plane costs $100. Airlines began cutting back at first to keep costs down and then realised they could get away with it.

In Asia, hot meals in Y are the primary differentiator between LCC and Full service carriers. In the US the only difference between flying Southwest and United is the miles. Rest everything is exactly the same. INfact i think Southwest has more legroom in Y than United!


We haven't had a discussion of this nature in a while on this site, and taking COVID out of the picture which disrupted in-flight service, even the legacy Asian carriers pre-COVID were starting to rein in on their offerings for the 2-3 hour intra-Asian sectors where they're having to compete with LCCs. As an example, look at the SQ takeout-style boxes which are now served on their short sectors.

So I don't think these impacts are relegated to just US or even continental Europe. It's happening where there is some form of LCC competition.
 
twosoun
Topic Author
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:58 pm

phatfarmlines wrote:
BawliBooch wrote:
On a 3-5 hour flight in Asia, you would get 2-3 rounds of service in Y. Drinks round (complementary), Hot Meals followed by a Tea/Coffee/Drinks round.

The argument of size doesn't make sense. Being much larger, airlines in the US should have advantage of scale. Meals in Y have gone away on US airlines because of greed. Catering companies charge insane amounts as compared to India or East Asia where an economy hot meal can be catered for as little as $2.5/tray. In contrast, I am told getting a bag of ice on a plane costs $100. Airlines began cutting back at first to keep costs down and then realised they could get away with it.

In Asia, hot meals in Y are the primary differentiator between LCC and Full service carriers. In the US the only difference between flying Southwest and United is the miles. Rest everything is exactly the same. INfact i think Southwest has more legroom in Y than United!


We haven't had a discussion of this nature in a while on this site, and taking COVID out of the picture which disrupted in-flight service, even the legacy Asian carriers pre-COVID were starting to rein in on their offerings for the 2-3 hour intra-Asian sectors where they're having to compete with LCCs. As an example, look at the SQ takeout-style boxes which are now served on their short sectors.

So I don't think these impacts are relegated to just US or even continental Europe. It's happening where there is some form of LCC competition.

It seems like even during the aviation’s industry’s worst downturn ever, the legacy asian carriers product offerings are worst than the legacy US carriers at their best


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twosoun
Topic Author
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:00 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


No, I don't think any airline will offer complementary meals ever again. After all, meals cost money which has to come out of the ticket price. That means that any airline that offers meals will have to charge higher fares than the competition, which doesn't offer meals. The first thing people look at when deciding which airline to fly is the ticket price, so anything that raises the ticket price and can be left out is being left out. Meals are an example of that.

The airline might offer the meals for free, but it's not free for them. The US is a highly competitive market for airlines, every dollar matters. About 30 years ago American Airlines made about $40,000 a year by leaving out one olive from the salad they offered on-board. If a single olive can make that much money, imagine what leaving out the entire salad makes them. Those salads from American Airlines is basically where savings on food started.

You're complaining that you can't get two bags of pretzels for free, however think about what it would cost the airline to provide each passenger with two bags of pretzels. Let's say they can buy pretzels for $1 a bag, so you're asking for $2 a flight from them. Since profit margins in aviation are extremely narrow, those $2 will seriously eat into their revenue. After all, an airline like Delta carried 204 million passengers in 2019. Not all of them are domestic, but a good number of them are. Let's say 130 million domestic passengers. That's $260 million worth of pretzels we're talking about.

If you want two bags of pretzels on board, you can buy them. Buy-on-board programs at least give airlines the chance to cover the costs of their food, and it gives you the opportunity to choose from a wider variety of products. For you that money doesn't make much difference, for the airline it does.

Does anyone have profit margin info for airlines in the US vs around the world? It would be really interesting to compare and see if US carriers are much “greedier” than other airlines around the world


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twosoun
Topic Author
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:00 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


No, I don't think any airline will offer complementary meals ever again. After all, meals cost money which has to come out of the ticket price. That means that any airline that offers meals will have to charge higher fares than the competition, which doesn't offer meals. The first thing people look at when deciding which airline to fly is the ticket price, so anything that raises the ticket price and can be left out is being left out. Meals are an example of that.

The airline might offer the meals for free, but it's not free for them. The US is a highly competitive market for airlines, every dollar matters. About 30 years ago American Airlines made about $40,000 a year by leaving out one olive from the salad they offered on-board. If a single olive can make that much money, imagine what leaving out the entire salad makes them. Those salads from American Airlines is basically where savings on food started.

You're complaining that you can't get two bags of pretzels for free, however think about what it would cost the airline to provide each passenger with two bags of pretzels. Let's say they can buy pretzels for $1 a bag, so you're asking for $2 a flight from them. Since profit margins in aviation are extremely narrow, those $2 will seriously eat into their revenue. After all, an airline like Delta carried 204 million passengers in 2019. Not all of them are domestic, but a good number of them are. Let's say 130 million domestic passengers. That's $260 million worth of pretzels we're talking about.

If you want two bags of pretzels on board, you can buy them. Buy-on-board programs at least give airlines the chance to cover the costs of their food, and it gives you the opportunity to choose from a wider variety of products. For you that money doesn't make much difference, for the airline it does.

Does anyone have profit margin info for airlines in the US vs around the world? It would be really interesting to compare and see if US carriers are much “greedier” than other airlines around the world


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:55 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
In Asia, hot meals in Y are the primary differentiator between LCC and Full service carriers. In the US the only difference between flying Southwest and United is the miles. Rest everything is exactly the same. INfact i think Southwest has more legroom in Y than United!


I wouldn't exactly call Southwest an LCC, they're just another legacy airline. The real LCCs in the US are Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant.

But perhaps the US isn't the best example, perhaps looking at Europe makes it more clear. Just like in the US, meal service on short European flights has long disappeared. However unlike in the US, in Europe there is actually a significant fare difference between LCCs and legacies. The latter just don't offer the fares that Ryanair and Wizzair offer. EasyJet is somewhat more expensive due to their higher cost base.

The thing with European LCCs is that, unlike the legacies, they don't offer any savings programs. They don't use miles, they only use cash. No matter how often you fly them, you never build up anything. No matter if it's your first or thousandth flight with that airline, the fare is the same and it's low. One of the reasons that it's low is the absense of savings programs. Legacies convert part of the fare into miles to be used on future flights, LCCs don't do that. The part of the fare that would otherwise be spent on building up miles is just being used to lower the fare. The absense of a savings program allows them to be cheaper, which is what attracts customers, specially customers that aren't loyal to any airline like most Europeans.

The prime differentiator between LCCs and full service carriers is the ticket price. Asians might be more inclined to pay whatever it costs without going out of their way to get a few bucks off that ticket price, Americans and Europeans are different in that. If you got a choice between an expensive flight with meal service and a cheap flight without meal service, most people pick the cheap flight.
 
WidebodyPTV
Posts: 888
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:41 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


On a 3-5 hour flight in Asia, you would get 2-3 rounds of service in Y. Drinks round (complementary), Hot Meals followed by a Tea/Coffee/Drinks round.

The argument of size doesn't make sense. Being much larger, airlines in the US should have advantage of scale. Meals in Y have gone away on US airlines because of greed. Catering companies charge insane amounts as compared to India or East Asia where an economy hot meal can be catered for as little as $2.5/tray. In contrast, I am told getting a bag of ice on a plane costs $100. Airlines began cutting back at first to keep costs down and then realised they could get away with it.

In Asia, hot meals in Y are the primary differentiator between LCC and Full service carriers. In the US the only difference between flying Southwest and United is the miles. Rest everything is exactly the same. INfact i think Southwest has more legroom in Y than United!


Your narrative is dated. Meal service within Asia is largely suspended status quo and much of it likely won’t return. The explosion of Asian LCC over the past 10 years has placed downward pressure on airfares and made the former model obsoleted.

It was sweet paying $15 to fly TG BKK-HKT, getting a full meal and drink on a 744… but going forward, it’s probably going to be a 320 (with Smile integrated into mainline) and maybe a drink.
 
blandy62
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:25 am

I agree that service in Asia is better. As many said, that's how the legacy carriers differenciate themselves from the LCC. But having said that, in he past few years before COVID, you noticed a big decline in meals on flight up to 3 hours, both in terms of quantity and quality. And some carriers were not far from the LCC level anymore.So I am wondering what will be left of those meals, drink service post covid
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: Meal service in Y

Wed Aug 04, 2021 11:02 pm

Maybe just offer relatively cheap meals to buy a good 24-48 hours before the flight. Plenty of people would pay $3-4 for a little bit of food, or more food for more money. Those few bucks I would think cover the cost of the meal (don't know how much) and the airline can settle with "breaking even" just to appease its passengers.

Offer chips for sale at anytime or something non-perishable. DON'T charge for food like at the movies or Six Flags... that's just me.

Or just offer meals on board for everybody and everybody has to pay a little extra per ticket whether they want the food or not :) .

Or the airline can be really nice and not even factor it into the ticket fare (they don't HAVE to do this. I'd only do it on really long flights). I guess on transcon they should offer something.. decide for the passengers that they need food and charge them in the fare a little bit.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Meal service in Y

Sun Aug 08, 2021 2:06 pm

Or you could do as Norwegian did on their long haul flights when they still did them, have people pre-book their meal upon booking the ticket. Meals on Norwegian were pretty expensive, they charged €35 for a meal. Upon booking you were presented with a list of meals which you could choose from and that meal was added to the ticket price just like other optional extras. There was also an option for no meal, which was free.

That way they had a list of how much of each meal they needed to load on each flight and they loaded exactly those amounts of meals. They had a list of which passenger had to have which meal and you always received exactly the meal you picked when you booked. There were no spares thus no unnecessary waste. I believe Scoot does the same on their long haul flights, although they have a wider variety of meals and different prices for them.

Anyway, I think this is a good system. It keeps the ticket price low because you don't have to factor in the meal costs there, those meal costs can make a difference for people who are price-conscious. And those who do want a meal can simply add it to their booking and have a meal on board. No more "which meal would you like" questions on board, that question has already been asked beforehand. And like I said, if 17 people on board ordered meal A and 12 people ordered meal B, they load 17 meals A on board and 12 meals B. People that choose not to add a meal to their booking and thus pay only the fare itself and not the meal costs don't get a meal, after all that's what they opted for.
 
blandy62
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Re: Meal service in Y

Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:03 am

CarlosSi wrote:
Or just offer meals on board for everybody and everybody has to pay a little extra per ticket whether they want the food or not :) .


well isn't it how it was before the airlines decided they would make money out of it
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Meal service in Y

Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:24 pm

blandy62 wrote:
CarlosSi wrote:
Or just offer meals on board for everybody and everybody has to pay a little extra per ticket whether they want the food or not :) .


well isn't it how it was before the airlines decided they would make money out of it


Very true.

Charging a little extra per ticket might not seem like a big problem, but for many people it is. That little extra can just make the difference between buying a ticket or not buying it, or it can be the difference between booking on one airline or booking on the other.

As an airline you want to keep your ticket price as low as possible, after all the first thing people look at when booking a ticket is the price. Therefor you just can't add a little extra per ticket, that little extra can have a huge impact on the airline revenue. Quite the opposite, airlines are constantly looking at what can be done to lower the ticket price. Anything paid out of those ticket prices is looked at, that includes meals.
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: Meal service in Y

Tue Aug 10, 2021 8:32 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Or you could do as Norwegian did on their long haul flights when they still did them, have people pre-book their meal upon booking the ticket. Meals on Norwegian were pretty expensive, they charged €35 for a meal. Upon booking you were presented with a list of meals which you could choose from and that meal was added to the ticket price just like other optional extras. There was also an option for no meal, which was free.

That way they had a list of how much of each meal they needed to load on each flight and they loaded exactly those amounts of meals. They had a list of which passenger had to have which meal and you always received exactly the meal you picked when you booked. There were no spares thus no unnecessary waste. I believe Scoot does the same on their long haul flights, although they have a wider variety of meals and different prices for them.

Anyway, I think this is a good system. It keeps the ticket price low because you don't have to factor in the meal costs there, those meal costs can make a difference for people who are price-conscious. And those who do want a meal can simply add it to their booking and have a meal on board. No more "which meal would you like" questions on board, that question has already been asked beforehand. And like I said, if 17 people on board ordered meal A and 12 people ordered meal B, they load 17 meals A on board and 12 meals B. People that choose not to add a meal to their booking and thus pay only the fare itself and not the meal costs don't get a meal, after all that's what they opted for.


Scoot have "spare" meals sell onboard (same as those pre-booked meals just fewer options)
 
blandy62
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Re: Meal service in Y

Wed Aug 11, 2021 7:39 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
blandy62 wrote:
CarlosSi wrote:
Or just offer meals on board for everybody and everybody has to pay a little extra per ticket whether they want the food or not :) .


well isn't it how it was before the airlines decided they would make money out of it


Very true.

Charging a little extra per ticket might not seem like a big problem, but for many people it is. That little extra can just make the difference between buying a ticket or not buying it, or it can be the difference between booking on one airline or booking on the other.

As an airline you want to keep your ticket price as low as possible, after all the first thing people look at when booking a ticket is the price. Therefor you just can't add a little extra per ticket, that little extra can have a huge impact on the airline revenue. Quite the opposite, airlines are constantly looking at what can be done to lower the ticket price. Anything paid out of those ticket prices is looked at, that includes meals.


true but isn't it why there were "full service" airlines and low cost airlines?
 
F27500
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Re: Meal service in Y

Thu Aug 12, 2021 3:34 pm

I often wonder about those BOB meals. Do they ride around with the plane sitting in a stagnant warm cart all day until they're either sold .. or offloaded (and hopefully tossed) at the end of the night? I'd like to think fresh meals are loaded at the beginning of a leg where they are being offered .. or at least at the beginning of a round-trip out of a catering station. Are these carts they're kept in at least refrigerated to keep the food safe?
 
PHLspecial
Posts: 1151
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Re: Meal service in Y

Thu Aug 12, 2021 3:40 pm

What is the longest flight without a meal for Y class?
Does the CLT - HNL flight get a bag of pretzels and thats it?

United on the longer flights sells some hot pizza and wraps.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Meal service in Y

Thu Aug 12, 2021 5:05 pm

F27500 wrote:
I often wonder about those BOB meals. Do they ride around with the plane sitting in a stagnant warm cart all day until they're either sold .. or offloaded (and hopefully tossed) at the end of the night? I'd like to think fresh meals are loaded at the beginning of a leg where they are being offered .. or at least at the beginning of a round-trip out of a catering station. Are these carts they're kept in at least refrigerated to keep the food safe?


I believe they got microwaves on board so they can heat up the meal just before it's being served.
 
PHLspecial
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Re: Meal service in Y

Tue Aug 17, 2021 4:24 pm

Rookie87 wrote:
twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


You can always ask for a second bag of pretzels lol

I think that the comparison doesn’t work between US carriers and the Asian carriers who are dwarfed by the US fleets and the size of the US market as a whole. The big 3 have what? 10 or more hubs each?
Which Asian carrier compares to that?
When they did have meals people whined about airplane food regularly. Take it away, people whine they don’t have it. What would adding the meals back add to the US airlines? If DL had hot meals in domestic coach, would you exclusively fly them no matter the price? The honest answer is no for the majority of people so there that goes

What I am curious about though is a cost structure on similar length/size route. The transcons before Covid did introduce complimentary food, a box with a sandwich, chips and cookie etc

What is crazy is AA and UA do not serve food on those flights to HNL. They are 8+ hour flights and the only thing you get in Y is a bag of chips. It's longer than the TATL flights to Europe from the east coast. I'm shocked that the short TATL flights even get meals. It's sometimes cheaper to fly to Europe and get better meal service than flight to Hawaii.
I think the U.S. will move away from meals to keep cost low as possible.
 
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Rookie87
Posts: 356
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Re: Meal service in Y

Wed Aug 18, 2021 3:56 am

PHLspecial wrote:
Rookie87 wrote:
twosoun wrote:
Does anyone else think its insane that US carriers dont serve meals on flights that are transcontinental? Airlines in Asia regularly serve meals on any flight greater than about an hour and we cant even get two bags of pretzels on a 5 hour flight.

Do we think the industry will ever move to complimentary meals in Y here in the US? (not including HI)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


You can always ask for a second bag of pretzels lol

I think that the comparison doesn’t work between US carriers and the Asian carriers who are dwarfed by the US fleets and the size of the US market as a whole. The big 3 have what? 10 or more hubs each?
Which Asian carrier compares to that?
When they did have meals people whined about airplane food regularly. Take it away, people whine they don’t have it. What would adding the meals back add to the US airlines? If DL had hot meals in domestic coach, would you exclusively fly them no matter the price? The honest answer is no for the majority of people so there that goes

What I am curious about though is a cost structure on similar length/size route. The transcons before Covid did introduce complimentary food, a box with a sandwich, chips and cookie etc

What is crazy is AA and UA do not serve food on those flights to HNL. They are 8+ hour flights and the only thing you get in Y is a bag of chips. It's longer than the TATL flights to Europe from the east coast. I'm shocked that the short TATL flights even get meals. It's sometimes cheaper to fly to Europe and get better meal service than flight to Hawaii.
I think the U.S. will move away from meals to keep cost low as possible.


From my point of view it’s a business decision.
TATL the consumer has options so they need to match or have a slight edge over any competition.
With HA being the only one who offers food (I think) why would the others offer it if they still make money off the flights. I remember a while back AA added meals (not hot) in coach from DFW and maybe ORD? Not 100% sure but vaguely remember adding something for coach that was above a bag of pretzels. Same with the JFK transcons to SF and LA
 
phatfarmlines
Posts: 2182
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Re: Meal service in Y

Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:53 pm

PHLspecial wrote:
What is crazy is AA and UA do not serve food on those flights to HNL. They are 8+ hour flights and the only thing you get in Y is a bag of chips. It's longer than the TATL flights to Europe from the east coast. I'm shocked that the short TATL flights even get meals. It's sometimes cheaper to fly to Europe and get better meal service than flight to Hawaii.
I think the U.S. will move away from meals to keep cost low as possible.


I believe this is a (extreme) COVID decision made by AA, plus a good opportunity for AA (DP) to see how far they can push the envelope on service degradation while using COVID to mask the decision. Pre-COVID I believe AA was serving complementary means on the DFW/ORD to Hawaii nonstops, which aligned with DL/UA competitive offerings on similar stage lengths.

Rookie87 wrote:
TATL the consumer has options so they need to match or have a slight edge over any competition.


Pre-COVID you were already starting to observe some of the legacy European carriers in this space offering a "buy-up" menu for coach passengers, in addition to the watered down complementary offerings. I believe this trend will continue as LCCs return to expanding in the Transatlantic space.

Rookie87 wrote:
With HA being the only one who offers food (I think) why would the others offer it if they still make money off the flights. I remember a while back AA added meals (not hot) in coach from DFW and maybe ORD? Not 100% sure but vaguely remember adding something for coach that was above a bag of pretzels. Same with the JFK transcons to SF and LA


This is correct, and on the JFK transcons, coach customers flying on the 321Ts were offered the "Bistro Bag" style deli snack.
 
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Rookie87
Posts: 356
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:33 pm

Re: Meal service in Y

Wed Aug 18, 2021 7:13 pm

phatfarmlines wrote:
PHLspecial wrote:
What is crazy is AA and UA do not serve food on those flights to HNL. They are 8+ hour flights and the only thing you get in Y is a bag of chips. It's longer than the TATL flights to Europe from the east coast. I'm shocked that the short TATL flights even get meals. It's sometimes cheaper to fly to Europe and get better meal service than flight to Hawaii.
I think the U.S. will move away from meals to keep cost low as possible.


I believe this is a (extreme) COVID decision made by AA, plus a good opportunity for AA (DP) to see how far they can push the envelope on service degradation while using COVID to mask the decision. Pre-COVID I believe AA was serving complementary means on the DFW/ORD to Hawaii nonstops, which aligned with DL/UA competitive offerings on similar stage lengths.

Rookie87 wrote:
TATL the consumer has options so they need to match or have a slight edge over any competition.


Pre-COVID you were already starting to observe some of the legacy European carriers in this space offering a "buy-up" menu for coach passengers, in addition to the watered down complementary offerings. I believe this trend will continue as LCCs return to expanding in the Transatlantic space.

Rookie87 wrote:
With HA being the only one who offers food (I think) why would the others offer it if they still make money off the flights. I remember a while back AA added meals (not hot) in coach from DFW and maybe ORD? Not 100% sure but vaguely remember adding something for coach that was above a bag of pretzels. Same with the JFK transcons to SF and LA


This is correct, and on the JFK transcons, coach customers flying on the 321Ts were offered the "Bistro Bag" style deli snack.



Was it not only BA that was making an attempt at that?? Which other legacy dared ? lol

If enough people flock to the LCCs I could very well see coach moving in that direction. I wonder though, if they’ve thought of offering “upgraded” meals in coach as an option to what is normally served or a no meal discount lol
 
MartijnNL
Posts: 1138
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Re: Meal service in Y

Mon Aug 23, 2021 10:20 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
The first thing people look at when deciding which airline to fly is the ticket price, so anything that raises the ticket price and can be left out is being left out. Meals are an example of that.

For me that is simply not true. The ticket price might indeed be the first thing I look at when searching flights. But when it comes to booking flights the schedule usually plays a bigger role. Most of the time I choose KLM over easyJet or Norwegian. Because five or six daily flights offer much more flexibility than one daily flight or even less than that. Why would I want to arrive at an airport close to midnight when everything has already shut down? When KLM or another legacy airline can get me there in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and almost everything in between? To save thirty euros? No thanks.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Meal service in Y

Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:32 pm

MartijnNL wrote:
For me that is simply not true. The ticket price might indeed be the first thing I look at when searching flights. But when it comes to booking flights the schedule usually plays a bigger role. Most of the time I choose KLM over easyJet or Norwegian. Because five or six daily flights offer much more flexibility than one daily flight or even less than that. Why would I want to arrive at an airport close to midnight when everything has already shut down? When KLM or another legacy airline can get me there in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and almost everything in between? To save thirty euros? No thanks.


Okay, but not everyone is like that. Specially people that don't fly very often don't care much about the schedule, they got all the time in the world. What does it matter what time they depart or arrive?

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