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It was only a matter of Time-UAL to Charge for meals on International flights

It was only a matter of Time-UAL to Charge for meals on International flights

Old Aug 19th, 2008, 09:50 PM
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It was only a matter of Time-UAL to Charge for meals on International flights

I am sure this is only the beginning of a new trend.Bloomberg is reporting that
starting Oct 1 flights to Europe from IAD will start charging for meals in Coach.
But its not all bad news,on flights of 12 or more hours the airline will still provide complementary meals....for now...

Link to article;
http://tinyurl.com/59h7lr
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 10:15 PM
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I just added a note to a thread in the Airline section.

Personally, I think United's days are numbered, especially as their new service arrangements will mean that Business Class customers will be given the Buy Your Own Meal for free ($9 normally). I don't think that'll help customer loyalty

In addition, no pre-landing snack will be given, due to feedback from customers and FA's!

Unfortunately I have about 110,000 miles on Mileage Plus so I'll be looking to spend them very soon but not with United.

Geordie
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 02:39 AM
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I wonder if they have thought this through. While Americans tend to take only ultra bland items onto a flight when they don't want to pay extra, if I had to take United from Europe to the U.S., I think I would make a point of bringing stinky cheese and other pungent items with me just so that everybody could appreciate it.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 03:04 AM
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their new service arrangements will mean that Business Class customers will be given the Buy Your Own Meal for free ($9 normally). I don't think that'll help customer loyalty

For clarity, the above applies to business class on US domestic flights using three-cabin planes (and not PS routes)...i.e., a shift to two class service on those flights. According to the internal memo (posted on FT yesterday), the only change for the international flights is as noted above--buy on board in economy for flights from Dulles to Europe.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 05:00 AM
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I'm sure they have "thought this through" since I doubt even people who are hiding out in France aren't planning to swim the Atlantic any time soon.

If other airlines DON'T follow suit I'm sure they'll drop the whole idea pretty fast.

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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 05:48 AM
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UGH, can you imagine if people feel they need to bring dinner, snacks and breakfast on an overnight flight? The cabin will REEK of different foods, people will eat at different times, use the rest rooms at different times and

Will the attendants be on full-time clean up duty to allow for this?
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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Ah,no!
I am very appreciative that my airline isn't charging for food on our international flights.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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<will the attendants be on full time clean up duty for this>

Maybe, then again maybe not. They'll certainly have the time if they're no longer serving everyone the usual food/drinks.

<the cabin will reek of different foods>

Maybe TSA will now have to amend the rules to let us take a can of Fabreeze.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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I'm sure they have "thought this through" since I doubt even people who are hiding out in France aren't planning to swim the Atlantic any time soon.

Add-on fees have been a surprising boon to airline P&Ls, so I am not surprised. It isn't just that people have to fly, it is that the flying public (despite the repeated whining about add-on fees on internet message boards), clearly likes a la carte pricing. If you can shave $5 off of the ticket price, people will be more inclined to buy it, even if it means they might have to pay $10 more for the meal.

If other airlines DON'T follow suit I'm sure they'll drop the whole idea pretty fast.

That is what many said when it started in the US, yet it is not clear that Continental, which still serves free food on domestic flights, enjoys above-average load factors or average ticket prices. I would expect at least some carriers to follow suit, but I don't think it would be a deal-breaker.

Personally, I just don't care. I would gladly pay on board if the food is of better quality. As it is, I almost always eat before my long-haul flights or bring something on board with me. For a flight from the East Coast, I am interested in getting on the plane and trying to get to sleep, not eating a TV dinner. Heck, even most business class food is not much better than fast food and worse than the average "upscale" airport restaurant. Now, if every carrier had food like on Singapore or Thai Air, then I might change my tune, but the standards for food across the Atlantic tend to range from awful to poor.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 08:17 AM
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Being served dinner and then breakfast and snacks breaks up a long trip. I wonder what will happen to the passengers when they don't eat because they don't want to pay extra for bad airline food and they have more time to do nothing.

Some passengers will drink more and not eat - I think it will all end up to be more trouble.

So if you don't get food or water or blankets do they still need stewards on board?

So what happens if you make an emergency landing and sit on the ground for 3 hours and that puts your flight into 12 hours - FREE FOOD?????
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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People will accept such a plan only if they can visibly see what they are saving.

For example, a website should say something like:

Full service $700
less meals $690
less pillow and blanket $685
etc.

Once you eliminate the life jackets and emergency exits, you can really get the price down.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 08:54 AM
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What next....pay toilets? I'd better save up my quarters! Happy Travels!
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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People will accept such a plan only if they can visibly see what they are saving.

People will accept such a thing if the initial price they see is lower. The airlines have crossed the "line" of service devaluation so many times, without consequence, that I genuinely believe it is much ado about nothing. I mean, if I had a dime for every time I heard "the airlines are shooting themselves in the foot" or "this will be the end of this airline", I would be a rich, rich man. People whine and complain, but they aren't going to stop traveling for any reason other than they can't afford it, and most certainly aren't going to pay any sort of premium to receive marginally better service on a 8-hour flight.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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Given my experience with UAL's food, it's no great loss.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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I think for a transatlantic flight, they should still provide the basic meal for free (and drinks). After all, it will be a big hassle (and potential problems) if everybody starts bring on their own takeout food. A lot of it stinks, also, and I don't like sitting next to people who bring some of it on (Chinese and a lot of the cheap Italian stuff). It can make a big mess, also, as they will be juggling that with their bags and carryons.

I have no problem with them doing away with the snacks, they should have done that a long time ago. It is nothing but absolute junk of no value, and snacks are easy for people to take themselves onboard (candy bar, bag of nuts, etc.). I never eat the snack food they serve onboard, with those little cracker packets or the junk they serve before landing that are like vending machine sandwiches.

A lot of people eat too much, anyway, and mindlessly stuff down anything they are given and will eat anything. It amazes me the people eating that junk on airplaces, because I thikn it is disgusting. Whenever I tell the attendant I don't want their little bag of crackers/pretzels or the plastic sandwiches, someone next to me wants my portion so they have twice as much junk food.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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I think it's idiotic on UA's part, but in fairness should note that it's only on eastbound flights from Dulles, which are the shortest transatlantic flights, and which for the most part leave in the evening. Evidently many "free" meals are not used on those segments; people want to get to sleep asap. Westbound flights TO IAD will still have meal service, and all other UA transatlantic and longhaul routes will also still have meals.
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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For people with medical conditions, those little "junk" packages can come in handy. My 80 year-old mom has to eat about every 3 hours and have frequent small snacks and sometimes those little "junk" packages and "plastic" sandwiches have been just enough to keep her from passing out.
She, of course, takes some snacks with her but sometimes runs out or if we're flying home from Europe, depending on the time, sometimes don't get to the market before closing hours to get some extra snacks, but there's always been something on the plane.

The day before flying home from Paris, she and I were looking for food for her to take with her as she also had to eat while waiting hours at the airport. She wanted to take sandwiches, but since there was no fridge in our hotel room, we couldn't refrigerate them. Plus, even if we had, having them out of refrigeration, for hours, could have caused problems. So, it's good there were beverages and snacks on the plane to add on to the few snacks that she had left.

Plus, the airlines are so strict now about food. In LAX, my small jar of peanut butter was taken away. I was boarding my usual 17.5 hour, non-stop, flight to Bangkok on which sometimes they forget my vegetarian meal...so peanut butter has carried me through flights many times.
Now I have to remember to pack it in my individual, 1-ounce, glass jars that I get at the Container Store. I tried that system and was able to get it through. I really hate to hassle with food as there's usually not an extra inch of space in the carry-on bag to add food. Happy Travels!

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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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ttt.Happy Travels!
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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 05:26 PM
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<<People will accept such a plan only if they can visibly see what they are saving.>>

Thats a very good point, but I think the airlines that are severely reducing their service and amenities are hoping that people will just accept it and hope that customers believe that all airlines are working this way, as their prices will be no different from airlines providing "Full" service.

I saw the benefit last year when I flew the low cost carrier Jetstar to KL and it was $500 per ticket cheaper than Malaysian. This price difference made it a no brainer, this will not happen on transatlantic flights.

Travelgourmet wrote <<Add-on fees have been a surprising boon to airline P&Ls>> could you please provide some links to support this using "full service airlines" P&L's

Just as an aside, yet another proper full service airline, Qantas announced a 45% rise in profits to $1.4 BILLION for 2008

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Old Aug 20th, 2008, 05:56 PM
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How many of you rely solely on airline food and drinks (water) for long haul flights anyhow? The food was so bad on my last long haul flight that I literally gagged from the smell of it alone - no exaggeration.

Not to mention that the flight attendants were literally throwing the meals at people and telling them too bad that their special dietary meals were already given to other people...awful. Sorry, but I would rather pay for good food prior to my flight than eat that crap anyhow.
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