Lunchtime poll – shelling out for airplane food
September 29th, 2010
11:00 AM ET
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Just as Continental Airlines announced that it will no longer provide complimentary meals and snacks to economy passengers on domestic flights shorter than 6½ hours and some international flights, they revealed they juuuust happened to have a solution in mind to sate hungry travelers: a food-for-purchase plan.

While the airline claims that this strategy is beneficial to peckish flyers who were, according to a company spokeswoman, "asking for more variety," and Continental "definitely see(s) it as a customer benefit," we're guessing that the stomach rumblings of their passengers might tell a different story.

Previously – Plane fare: why I miss airline meals (even if they're awful)

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Filed under: Airlines • Buzz • Lunchtime Poll • Travel

soundoff (102 Responses)

    if the food was edible, I would have no problem paying for it.

    January 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  2. Will

    And hey – you can always take your own snacks – which is really a great idea anyway – since your own are no doubt better and healthier to boot. Take your own bottled water, juices, granola bars (its just an example) – really you name it. I have taken my own liquor (was not sure if they frowned on that one or not)

    November 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Will

    Although I do remember the days of a flight from RDU to LaGuardia in the evening where it included dinner (horrible dinner albeit). Most of my flights are of duration that a dinner does not need to be included. A snack and beverage is always a nice touch. Because of the past, we have come to expect things on a flight. Meals, beverage service, etc. I have no problem with everything being a la cart as long as the base airline fare reflects that. (A La Ryanair) – we are then actually in the drivers seat – we pay a low base air fare – and then choose the add ons – there you have it.

    November 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  4. Koala

    I think it makes perfect sense to have to pay for a meal on a plane. If you don't want one, don't get one. Why should we get food for free just because we're on a plane, when we don't get it for free anywhere else? You don't expect free food in the terminal, do you?

    September 30, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  5. Cieje Valentine

    I remember that the airline industry got a huge bailout package because people were scared away from flying after 9-11.. Before that day, we had the LIBERTIES of bringing our own food, drink, and toiletries WITHOUT having to be scanned by a cancer-inducing XXX-rated X-ray scanner! George Carlin (RIP) said it best. "America is finished."

    September 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  6. J Christen

    The next new policy to watch for – no outside food or drinks allowed on the plane. But then, unless your credit rating is sufficient, you can't buy anything on a plane now without a credit card – no cash, no currency of the US. American Airlines refusing to accept American money, go figure.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  7. TulsaFlyer

    It doesn't bother me to pay for something on the plane. Normally, I just take my own snack or meal from home or one of the places in the airport. Not a problem. Once, I did buy the mixed nuts on AA for $3 and wasn't upset about it at all, it was a huge bag and they lasted me a couple of days at my final destination. More than half of customers have been bringing their own food for decades...why stock the plane with food half the passengers aren't going to eat anyway?

    I wish they would let you check one bag for free and take 1 personal item (purse, briefcase) on the plane and then charge to add another carry seems like people pack their whole lives in those rollerboards they stuff in to the overhead bins.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  8. Unconscious

    ITT: this is why you have to sit next to a fat person on the plane

    September 29, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  9. Brian

    If the food was better priced for what your getting, I wouldn't mind. But I'm not shelling out $5 for a bag of chips that cost $1 in the store, specially after (if not flying on the airline I have upgraded status on) paying to bring luggage. It's even cheaper to grab a bag of chips in the concourse before boarding. The whole idea of charging a super premium price just because your a "captive" consumer is just really bad customer service.

    September 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  10. Me-Here

    Keep your food, and give me back my free 1 checked's simple as that.

    September 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  11. Amish Airline

    The part that chaps my a$$ when traveling. . .I routinely fly between Pittsburgh and Baltimore. It's a 37-minute flight. And there are always big fatties bringing globs of horrible-smelling fast food on that flight. Can you big hippos not go 37 minutes without stuffing a greasy cheeseburger down your throats? NY to LA? Sure, pack a lunch, buy airline food, whatever. But why must you hogs eat any time you have a free moment?

    September 29, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  12. Carl

    I will generally try to have something edible in the airport before departure, and survive on tomato or orange juice during the flight. on really long ones, I've been known to buy food that some caterer can't screw up. United actually has a decent cheese & fruit box.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  13. ITA

    Nothing like paying to check a bag only to have them lose it. Happened to me twice now. Jerks.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  14. smiley

    I bring something really messy, like rice, for my kids to eat. Airline personnel will know we were there !! And if they don't like it they can shut up and start giving people snacks on the plane again.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • Carl

      Good idea. When you leave, they will know you've been there. "Psst, these people were such slobs. Look at the mess they left. Must be trailer trash."

      September 29, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Amish Airline

      I'm willing to bet that any person who acts like that isn't feeding their kids rice. . .your chubby little self-centered monsters eat chicken mcnuggets three meals a day, and chase it with Mountain Dew. You wouldn't know rice if you landed in Cambodia.

      September 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
      • Big Kid from S.F.

        Your Buggy is on the wrong side of the road. Please adjust your hat and beard.

        September 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  15. JB21

    Airlines are below average service industries, let's face it. Number of users have increased every year, and they still manage to lose money. You know why? Because most of them are severely mismanaged, GM-style. Now they make you pay for your luggage, how ridiculous is that? Say, if you get to wear everything that you need to carry... I keep on thinking they should just start charging the customer by weight, that might even help big fat folks lose weight, too. The food is the least of the problems, man, unless you are talking about the quality.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Harry

    Bring your own food?
    TAS does not even let you go by with four ounces of water.
    Sure you can then buy the Airport garbage food and bring it onboard.
    I tried bringin my own food ............confiscated by TAS.

    I believe there is certainly a conspiracy between TAS and the food vendors at the airports.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Padma

      TSA woud'nt even let you take the water which you bought in an store inside the airport .

      Its a matter of time, when airlines will charge for 'clean air' inside the cabin.
      6 Hours without food..ridiculous. Ethical limits are being crossed in the name of cost cutting and giving choices.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
      • UCCF

        Unless you're diabetic, you should have no problems going 6 hours without food.

        September 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
      • C

        Hey UCCF, have you ever had to hop a connecting flight on the other side of the airport in 20 minutes to board a 6-hour flight? When you were supposed to have a 60-minute layover and had planned to eat in the airport?

        Of course it's easier for you to look at everything in black and white.

        October 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  17. Drunknow

    There is no place on this planet I want to go that requires a plane.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  18. Dangerous Dan

    I dont care about the food just give enough room for 6'4" and 230 lbs. Thats all I ask

    September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Airline Payload Specialist

      One casket, coming up!

      September 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  19. Melissa

    I'd rather pay the $3 for a 20oz soda in the airport than the ridiculous prices on the plane (one flight a can soda was $5-outrageous!). Same with snacks, although the last flight I took was Continental and I was so pleased that I got a drink and some pretzels on the flight; it was the perfect size and meant I didn't buy anything when I hit Houston. It would figure that's gone once I finally find it.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  20. D J R

    I don't fly.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  21. KinNY

    The last time I brought food on a plane was a Memphis to NYC flight. I stopped at Gus's Chicken and brought a bag. Security wanted to take it away not because you can't take it onboard, but because every good Memphian knows how good it is. My fellow passengers were quite jealous when I feasted on the spicy crispy heaven and they threw down some peanuts. ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD PEOPLE. WE'D ALL BE HAPPIER!

    September 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • Melissa

      Yeah it is! Best chicken in town!

      September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  22. John B

    I remember the days when the food was actually good. Not great but good. Today you have to pay at least triple what the food actually costs and its usually inedible. I'll bring my own thanks!

    September 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  23. Will

    I am all for bringing my own food, but the TSA rules need to be changed. I recently completed a cross country flight for which I packed a lunch containing sliced deli cheese and sealed 6 oz commercially-prepared cups of yogurt. Both the sliced cheese and yogurt were confiscated by the TSA at the security checkpoint. While I understand that yogurt may be considered a (very viscous) liquid, why is sliced cheese prohibited? Also, my request to retreat back and consume the food before going through security was denied.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • howard

      There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what TSA takes away from you. I've made it through security with pocket knives, corkscrews, etc., inadvertently left in my purse. I've never had my cheese confiscated, though. Them's fightin' words! Also, cheese, bread, sandwiches, etc., are always allowed through security. The guy must have been hungry.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
      • ChicagoJim

        Hey Howard, you carry a purse? I thought I was one of the few guys who were brave enough to carry a purse.

        September 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Erin

      I thought you couldn't bring food through security anymore. I remember a couple years ago there being a new rule about that (I used to bring home cheesesteaks for my family but had to stop when they made the new rule). It might just be some airports have different rules than others.

      September 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  24. ChicagoJim

    I don't fly unless I pay for first or business, upgrade to 1st or business, or cash in miles for 1st or business. Even then, it's still not as good as the breakfast they used to serve in coach on the Atlanta to NYC flight in 1965.
    By the way, the guy who mentioned going to Asia was right. 1st class Cathay Pacific flight attendants scramble the best eggs I've ever tasted! Living well is the best revenge.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • howard

      Revenge ... against what/whom?

      September 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
      • ChicagoJim

        Against whoever came up with the system that we are born bloody, get needled for many years by many people for ridiculous reasons, and then die, usually painfully, without volunteering to do so. So I guess that would be against Stephen Hawking!

        September 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  25. angela

    The food is not free. Your ticket pays for the food. A multi hour flight needs to have sometype of concession especially international flights. Yes it is true that you will not die by not having food for 6 or 7 hours but the flight is extremely taxing on your body. When flying international you will often find yourself sandwiched in seats no bigger than a domestic coach flight. Instead of one person to jump over you now have two or three people until you reach the aisle. It is also a different atmosphere in the air. The flight industry cannot have long term success by making their passengers miserable. As it stands we are all temporary POWs. If this continues I will just have to take a boat across the Atlantic. I would rather spend three months on an old Viking ship than 7 hours overpaying for such disrespect.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • Koala

      Your ticket does not pay for food. If that were the case, they'd have to offer a slightly lower priced ticket for people who didn't want food. A movie ticket doesn't pay for popcorn, a cover charge at a bar doesn't pay for drinks... Just because airlines used to provide food for free doesn't mean they HAVE to. This was a courtesy provided when the airline industry was in better shape, not a requirement.

      Most long flights do still serve free food, as far as I can tell. I traveled to Europe this summer on two different airlines (one there and one back), and was provided with food both times. On a flight under 6 hours, there's no need for food anyway. Most people go at least 6 hours without food almost every day and don't whine about it.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  26. Eli

    Seriously people! This isn't rocket science, the legacy airlines are broke because of the legacy unions. The entire airline industry is unionized: stewards, pilots, baggage handlers, gate staff, check-in staff, people that man the phones, etc, etc, etc. The reason JetBlue, WestJet, Southwest, Frontier, etc don't have these problems is because 1) they are much younger airlines (so don't have decades worth of debts) and 2) they don't use union staff. You aren't paying for the chips and soda, you're paying for all these people's benefits and retirement plans. Think about that next time you fly!

    September 29, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  27. LMarshall

    Airlines don't even give you blankets on flights anymore; do you really think they are going to FEED you?!

    September 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • howard

      From what I hear about those nasty blankets, you wouldn't want your body touching them anyway.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  28. Sarah

    That's why I always fly Southwest. They're the best airline to fly! Two free bags, free snacks, and usually funny airline flight attendants/captains.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  29. PJ

    LEE ........... I agree with you. I say let them keep going down this road, pretty soon they will be throwing free food to their pasengers, just to get people to try it.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • howard

      And then we can throw it right back at them!

      September 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  30. PJ

    This idea that food should have to be purchased for those who want it, just baffles me. Not everyone wants to eat, but the way airline prices are going and the way the ecomony is, they might as well start giving it away for free. If you ever see people comming in the airports now adays, thay have food from outside vendors, because airports and airliners have crossed the line on prices, cannot blame them or myself for that matter. I am one of those. Every penny counts. Save vicariously, spend wisely.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  31. BusinessIdea

    I wonder if they'll let me set up a hot dog cart in the airplane and offer me exclusive rights to sell my food to the passengers. I mean this sould turn into a win/win solution for all. Airlines wont have to deal with food/drink at all. Passengers will have some choice in what they want for food/snack/drinks and a whole new business concept.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  32. mary

    I'd give up there "meals" any day for more leg room and comfort in the seats. Ever try getting up in coach when the person in front of you has their seat reclined? They shouldn't charge extra for anything, except maybe carry-on bags. Checked luggage should be free. They had baggage handlers forever and all of a sudden we have to pay their wages? Driving cross-country is more comfortable than flying.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  33. Lee

    I will never pay 6 dollars for a bag of chips nor 3 dollars for a candy bar, I'll bring my own food. And yes, that's what airlines charge for snacks, I flew about a month ago on United and that's what they charge. Oh, and 8 dollars for some deli meat on bread...ridiculous

    September 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Melissa

      Continental, the airline in question, charged $7 for tv/movie rights on a flight from D.C. to Houston (maybe three hours, four hours max). Obviously I did not pay. And I won't go into headphone prices, even though everyone carries their own now.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  34. John

    It amazes me that the airlines has how many executives with their staffs, all with BAs or Masters who can't think in real life terms of their customers. Oh well they hire companies who poll and tell them what they want to hear BUT allow me to say this.

    Someone with a brain will come along shortly and offer an airline that includes free bags, snacks, etc with fair FARES, not all this nickel and diming...and they will offer someone that is simple common sense. Give me a menu online that I can choose meals from...GOOD FULL meals and they can charge 18 or 20 bucks and include that price in the price of your ticket...and they will a good profit...

    But I'm not an Airline employee, I'm, only a customer who is tired of being treated like crap because I sit in coach while the first class folks act like they are royalty.....

    September 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Beasley

      Jet Blue gives you the first bag free, and snacks and drinks. Southwest gives you two bags free. And, to no surprise, these airlines lead in both profitability and customer satisfaction.

      What baffles me is that the "legacy" airlines, the ones that have been around for 50 years or more, still cling to their old-style business models which are losing customers and money. What is stopping them from adapting to the new reality of air travel?

      September 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
      • Old Style


        September 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • howard

      I'm waiting for an airline that will just increase the price of the tickets instead of the nickel and dime approach. How much extra time is spent paying fees, buying food, etc., when increasing the overall flight cost would facilitate everything?

      September 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  35. MDH60613

    Why do people feel such a need to stuff food down their pie-holes when they fly? Just sit there and shut up, for crying out loud. But you get those low-class folks that bring their big ole' bag of greasy-ass smelly fast food on the plane with them, and then sit there and smack their lips for the duration of the flight. Oh, the good old days when air travel could only be enjoyed by the wealthy.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • Beasley

      Today, even though I fly from a major airport (Boston,) many destinations are not direct flights. So, I've got a 2 hour flight to somewhere, a layover which is either too long or too short, and then another flight. I try to grab something to eat before each flight. Guess what, dude, my choices are limited. Sorry, but I can't find anything palatable which also meets YOUR definition of food that YOU approve of my eating. So, please excuse my cheeseburger or burrito, because limp lettuce and organic sawdust isn't on my menu.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
      • MDH60613

        Then take the Greyhound, fatty!

        September 29, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
      • howard

        MDH is a rather unpleasant sort. Probably the type who yells at the poor ticket agent because of flight delays.

        September 29, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
      • Snob

        MDH60613, if you're so self-righteous about not eating unacceptable (to you) foods, walk instead of fly. After all, walking is better than sitting like a lump. Better yet, go overseas and swim. Moron.

        September 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  36. Fred

    Chris, the only looks that those of you "that fly up front" are getting from me are looks that say, "My GOD! I can't believe these fools paid 75% more than I did just for the dubious privileges of boarding first and getting food and bevvies that can't possibly be worth more than $20."

    September 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • elliepants

      Indeed! Especially for the shorter flights. I don't understand why anyone would pay a thousand dollars to sit in a leather chair for two hours. I'll sit in my own once I'm home and save $800, thanks.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
      • Charlotte

        I'd wager many of those people did not pay for their first class seat on the short hop. They probably cashed in frequent flyer miles that were about to expire or something. I do that, rather than simply losing them.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Fred, sweetie, when's the last time you bought a first class ticket? It's a rare one indeed that only costs 75% more than a coach ticket.

      September 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  37. vy

    I prefer to bring my own food although I think its unfair that airlines will charge for beverages when they know passengers cant bring more than 3oz through security and the waterbottles at the gates are exorbant in price.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
    • CMac

      They'll let you take an empty water bottle through security. I fly fairly frequently and I just empty it before security and fill it up at the nearest water fountain once I'm through.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      Agreed. They should provide at least one free drink if they won't let you bring your own.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
      • Charlotte

        Most airports do have kiosks inside security where you can buy a soda or water after you pass through security. But you are making the mistake of blaming the airlines for the TSA requirements about not bringing in liquids. It isn't the airlines' policy and it isn't their fault, so really it isn't up to them to provide the free drink as compensation. This is completely independent of the whole discussion as to whether they ought to be offering them on general principles, but you cannot tie this to the security issue.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  38. Shirish Hansji

    You may not find too many people share my view, but I have no problem paying for my meal provided I have option to select type of food at the time of making reservation . Otherwise the way air lines selling few items now in the flight is nothing but disaster and no good idea. Not all people can eat that junk food.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  39. Chris

    I typically fly first class, so it isn't really an issue. I just love the looks you get from all the coach passengers trying to get back to their seats while those of us that fly up front are already seated with a snack and a drink.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • whoisjgalt

      Sounds elitist. Who's paying for your first class ticket? Whoever it is, they're paying a hefty price for that steak. The coach passengers who pass by you are probably thinking what a fool you are, thinking how many steak dinners they can have for the price of your first class ticket.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
      • Melissa

        Pretty much...I'll only fly first or business when I'm going overseas. Otherwise I'm not going to waste my money on it.

        September 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
      • Charlotte

        That's what frequent flyer miles are for....upgrade to first class. I won't do it for a silly little intracontinental flight but on a longer haul like Hawaii I try to cash in my miles for an upgrade. It's worth it. Alas, it takes a tremendous number of miles to upgrade on transoceanic flights, but particularly if you have to go to, for instance, Johannesburg or Sydney, it's a real good idea.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • howard

      Nice brag, Chris! Do you really think people are looking at you? I think you *think/hope* they're looking at you with great envy. They might be looking at you because you look funny. I don't mind when my daughter walks through first class and gives me the finger, but she has to knock the book out of my hand to get my attention.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      Someone's a little desperate for attention. Kind of sad that you have to buy a first class ticket to have people look your way (or pretend to be a first class snob to get forum replies), but to each his own.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
      • PairAzz Hilton

        Everybody looks at me. Anybody have some gum?

        September 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  40. Kat

    I find it annoying that they have cut flights down to the absolute bare bones possible, so I just bring my own snacks. The prices they charge are insane, you can't keep the food reasonable if you want people to pay extra for it? 'Reasonable' seems to be the hard concept.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  41. Alex in Michigan

    food??/ is that what the stuff was suppost to be??
    I tried it once and that was it. i call it
    byof, bring your own food.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • howard

      Yes, they call it "food," although I'm not sure why. If I can't pack my meal at home, I grab something at halfway-decent places in the airport. Airline "meals" are a joke.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  42. dali

    If I can, I pack a snack/meal. I know I like it, it is healthier and cheaper than anything I can buy on an airplane or in an airport. I do have a comment for those who keep saying we do not need to eat on these flights because they are short in the first place. I absolutely agree with that as long as you just get on a direct flight somewhere: you eat before the flight and you eat at your destination: perfect! The problem is when, like me, you have to fly from a small airport to another small airport and end up hopping three of these "short" flights in a row. The connections are usually short or become extremely short due to delays, etc. So you end up on the road for 8-12 hours, with no option for a decent meal. If on top of that you have to go from the airport into a meeting... enjoy! When I leave home, I always take a meal along. When I am on my way back from somewhere...

    September 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • ITA

      I totally agree dali. When you are flying for business catching the 6 AM flight out in the morning (which puts you 4AM at the airport) no time to eat on the way to the plane then flying up to 8-10 hours that day with connections that leave you running in the airports then when should I be eating if I don't eat on the plane?

      I won’t pay for that 'stuff' they serve on the planes and with recent reports of how bad the food handling & sanitation for the food prep facilities is why would I give them money for germ and bacteria laden food? Packing my own each and every flight and have been long before it was purchase only.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  43. jillmarie

    I think it's terrible they don't serve meals anymore. If they charged reasonable prices with vegetarian options, I'd probably buy though.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  44. Evil Grin

    I suppose it depends on the circumstance of the moment, but unless the food was VERY reasonably priced, I wouldn't pay to eat it. I don't expect the quality would improve enough for me to pay $10 extra for dry chicken, or $5 for 15 honey roasted peanuts. But if I was desperate enough, I suppose I'd have to.

    I'll bring my own food on until they decide that I can build a bomb out of some carrot sticks and a turkey sandwich.

    Also, I'd avoid flying on those airlines until I absolutely had to.

    It's just another excuse to get money from us, and it's a stupid one. They're digging themselves some graves. The more they nickle and dime people, the more room they give to starter airlines who include food, blankets and baggage in the ticket price, to muscle in and drive them out. And good riddance too them. They think they have everyone over a barrel since many people are so dependent on flying. But they forget they are providing US with the service, and we'll find a way to stop them if we need to.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  45. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    It's gotten to the point that if I can manage it, I think I will just take a sleeper car on a train and take a nice relaxing slowed-down vacation. It sounds like a blast. Of course, if I have to take a plane for time conservation reasons, I will. Usually for long flights I prepare by not sleeping all day/night, then sleep on the plane the whole flight – makes for a short trip and I don't have to worry about going hungry. I also always eat beforehand. But I fly once/twice a year, so the thing I am most concerned about is cost above all else.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Michael

      I've thought about that myself, until I looked at the prices for those sleeper cars. Heck, even a cross country seat on a train without a sleeper costs many times more than an airline ticket.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • UCCF

      To take a sleeper car from New York to San Francisco would cost about $1000 and take about 75 hours. Compare with a coach ticket – 6 hours, and probably half the cost. I've taken the train from NY to SF – even with a sleeper car, it gets old fast.

      Trains are great options on the East Coast – take the Acela Express. But once you leave that area, it's a slog.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
      • Charlotte

        Used to be that a one-way airfare point-to-point cost about 3-4 times what a round trip did between the same locations. At that time, it was more than worth it to take the pullman. I had to get from Chicago to ABQ once and I got a private sleeper on the Southwest Chief – 24 hours overnight train ride with all meals included plus my bunk and bath, was much less expensive than the airfare, very relaxing, and when you count getting to the airport, security, blah blah blah, still didn't take all that much more time out of my life. It's a nice way to travel but the circumstances need to be right for it to really be a better deal.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  46. Mike Thaler

    Humans don't need to eat every 3 or 4 hours. Normally, you go 5 or 6 hours between meals. I take red eyes on the cross country flites – no one eats the 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Those who are like gerbils and need to eat every 2-3 hours should pay for the extra service for the airlines to provide food. On 7+ hour intl. flites, food should be served and still is on flites we've been on. On 10+ hr. flites I can see the need for 2 meals.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Lee

      Actually, you're supposed to eat 5-6 little meals throughout the day

      September 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
      • Charlotte

        Nope, wrong. That has been proven false. It only applies to people with wack-o blood sugar. They might need the perpetual little snacks. Most of us do not need to eat that frequently.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • whoisjgalt

      Lee is right, 5-6 smaller meals per day is better. And of course we don't eat during the 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, we're sleeping and fasting, that's why they call it break"fast".

      September 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  47. Susan

    I understand that in the days of low cost fuel, government subsidies, and higher fares we were "paying for our meals" when we bought a ticket. I don't expect to get a plane ride when I go to a restaurant, and I don't expect to get a meal when I go an an airplane this day and age. I bring my own food or, if I'm hungry enough, am happy to shell out for the best of the choices they offer. Airlines are not making the big profits they used to make. Many of them have gone bankrupt. Times have changed for everyone.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  48. Gr8fuldude

    If I am that hungry, I will grab something at the airport. Unless I am going to Asia, in which case, food and booze are free onboard.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  49. Beer Drinker

    If the attendant has a large glass filled with ice and a beer to pour in it, I've got no complaints

    September 29, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • deathbydonuts

      Ice in your beer???????

      September 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
      • UCCF

        He's worse than Hitler.

        September 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
      • Charlotte

        Gross. Almost as bad as ice in wine.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Chris

      Preposterous... Ice in beer?? You shouldnt be breathing the oxygen... LOL

      September 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • Beasley

      Put your hands in the air and roll your chair slowly away from the keyboard...

      Ice in beer is blasphemy in any religion.

      September 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • nate


      September 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Ice Ice Baby

      i've survived many a hard night with an ice-filled beer in hand

      September 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Drunknow

      I agree I love ICE beer on a 110 degree day...

      September 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
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