Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Digesting The End Of Free Food On American Airlines

There's little argument that if you find yourself sitting in coach on a domestic flight long enough to merit meal service you expect little and, in turn, are never disappointed.
So when American Airlines announces the end of free food on flights longer than three hours in favor of a $3 "snack box" or a $5 croissant or turkey wrap, no one should be that upset if they're no longer asked the question "chicken or beef" and try to discern whether the flight attendant got the order right. Right?
Not exactly.
It's not like I can't wait to digest the six shards of iceberg lettuce that are called a salad or see how SkyChefs folds, spindles and otherwise mutilates poultry so it fits into a miniscule tray. I simply regarded a meal as a way for the airline to say thanks for spending six hours with us. We may have edited the hell out of the movie that was mostly inaudible because the headphones suck and we know the fat guy in the middle seat really should bathe more, but here's some turkey tetrazinni to make you feel better.
As one poster mentioned on flyertalk.com, the only thing people might complain about more than the quality of the food is that you didn't get enough (a detailed discussion by the road warriors at flyertalk, never shy about voicing their discontent, can be found at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=381290).
As someone who parked his fanny on many an AA transcontinental flight this year -- and has a Platinum AAdvantage card to show for it, the thought of having to brown bag it or fork over some dough for a wrap of questionable quality is hard to stomach, especially when American doesn't offer enough seats to upgrade to first class, where the food is still gratis.
But what's hardest to digest is American claiming in the press release the program was implemented after weighing survey results and feedback from both customers and employees that supported the idea of selling food during the flight.
Exactly how many people want to pay at least $5 for something they now get for free? And are we surprised that flight attendants would prefer to walk down the aisle hawking wraps rather than pushing a cart and trying to placate angry passengers whose special meals didn't make it onto the plane.
As always, your correct change will be greatly appreciated.

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