An end of an era. Continental announced today that it will phase out complimentary meals in Economy on all North American flights under six hours.
Continental Airlines Inc., the last big U.S. airline to operate catering kitchens and to serve free meals to economy-class passengers on longer domestic flights, said Monday that it will begin charging for in-flight meals in coach class on many North American flights this fall.
Continental said it will continue to offer complimentary food in economy class on most international routes and on domestic flights that last more than six hours. "Our traditional free-food model has served us well for many years," said Jim Compton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "But we need to change to reflect today’s market and consumer preferences."
I understand why CO elected to do this. In addition to the monetary savings, the food just wasn’t that good. Iceberg lettuce, a packaged hamburger, and a KitKat? Better than nothing, but not at all tasty and certainly not necessary when none of their competitors offer free meals to Economy passengers.
The spokesman said the shift in food strategy should save the airline about $35 million a year by reducing the number of meals it serves without charge. Currently on domestic flights, the airline serves no coach meals on flights of less than two hours. Cold meals are provided on flights of up to three hours and hot meals typically are served on longer flights. The revenue brought in from sales of meals and snacks in coach class should allow Continental to upgrade the offerings to items such as fresh sandwiches, wraps and salads, the spokesman said. Some of the meals for sale will be produced by Chelsea.
Fresh sandwiches, wraps, and salads? Sounds like United’s BOB menu. The alignment continues!
CO’s billboards are going to need updating–or least an asterisk.
photo courtesy www.alwayshungryny.com
For better or for worse, the era of free meals on planes for all passengers will soon come to an end on the final U.S. holdout.
Full story here.