Fine Dining in Flight? I'll take the Free Peanuts

I’m a big fan of the free peanuts or pretzels in flight. The key word is free. I recently flew jetBlue from Boston to Washington D.C. and loved it. It was a super quick flight, but the highlight of the trip was the complementary snacks and beverages. The snacks ranged from Stella D'oro breakfast treats to animal crackers and the drink selection included Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and tea. For most Bostonians, offering Dunkins means an automatic gold star.

But the free snack is soon a thing of the past. The New York Times recently reported on the demise of complimentary food on domestic flights and how major airlines are changing their approach to food. This means selling the likes of yogurt parfaits and pomegranate martinis. Don’t get me wrong, I would enjoy both, but not as much as I would enjoy a snack “on the house.”

I understand this change is in an effort to make more money. Jim Compton, Continental’s executive vice president of marketing, said that by introducing in-flight food sales this fall, the airline would “add about $35 million per year to [its] bottom line.”

Some say airlines, like Spirit Airlines, Inc., are pushing the limits by charging passengers as much as $45 for carry-on bags. Those “some” now include lawmakers who are loudly voicing their concerns.

“When you charge for a carry-on bag it’s a slap for anyone who flies,” said Senator Charles Schumer of New York at a news conference in Washington. “It’s time to draw the line.” 

I agree, Senator Schumer! Whether its obscene passenger fees or taking away the little, complimentary pleasures – that are usually salty – customer satisfaction should come first and I believe airlines need to step up and ensure it’s preserved.

Contributed by Jena Coletti.  Follow her @jmcoletti