Saturday, February 10, 2007

United Forsakes Snacks

Joseph Jaffe writes about United's decision to drop snack service for flights less than 2 hours:

That's why United - The Thinking Airline - has decided to drop snacks on flights less than 2 hours (which PS equals about 5 hours when you factor in travel and wait time, dumbasses)

According to the geniuses at United, they figure this move will save them $650,000 this year. I guarantee you they'll LOSE more than $650,000 with passengers that choose alternative airlines in the process.

I fear that this may follow the path of meal service, which, a few years ago, started with a similar decision to eliminate for flights of 2 hours or less and now has been extended to all domestic flights (in economy). Yeah, you can buy one of their meal packages nowadays, but I've never brought myself to do so. I do have to admit that this isn't usually an issue for me as I work pretty hard to ensure I'm upgraded as much as possible.

I wouldn't be surprised in another few years if this plan was expanded to all domestic flights (perhaps the terminal vendors are paying the airlines a percentage since this is surely going to drive up their business.

Of course, if you look at what it costs for the typical business trip across the country nowadays (mid-week, coast-to-coast, no Saturday night stay), it's amazing how the price has dropped. Yes, dropped. I remember frequently paying on the order of $2,000 for such trips to SFO or LAX (from IAD) and I remember as recently as 2001 being quite happy when I was able to get an $800 fare for such trips. Last week I flew IAD->SFO and back for $500. A month earlier I did it for $356 -- and neither of these had a Saturday night stay. No wonder they are doing everything they can to cut costs.

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