Continental eliminates free meals in coach on many flights — smart move

Starting this fall, Continental will eliminate free meals in coach on domestic flights shorter than six hours. This move should provide an annual benefit of $35 million to them, between cost savings and additional revenue.

Frankly I think this is a smart move. While Southwest gets plenty of customers because they check two bags for free (along with many people assuming they have the lowest fares without even looking at other airlines), it didn’t seem like Continental was getting many additional customers or extra revenue as a result of their free meals in coach. Besides, free meals in coach tend to be nasty — I’d rather buy a fresh sandwich or salad aboard for $10.

So for once I’ll give a cost cutting measure a thumbs up. Besides, it is one step closer to a United merger. šŸ˜‰

Filed Under: Continental
  1. Why not offer for purchase the same meals as in first class. I have been for this for years. This way all those in First would get their choice of meal rather than – “nope that is all gone you can have this or nothing”. There must be a way to tell how many in coach would buy a mean and provide that many on each flight. Even on transatlantic, I would pay for a first class meal UPCHARGE when I am stuck back in steerage. I see money for the airlines and more happy flyers in both the front and back of the bus!

  2. As a Plat. CO I can only hope a United merger doesn’t happen. There really is no comparison. CO is the premier US legacy provider. United is one small step from AA. And, unfortunately, the new CEO of CO wants to head in that direction.

  3. Sad to see as it truly marks the end of an era for in-flight service but it is hardly surprising. While Continental loved the tag line “meals at mealtime” they simply weren’t deriving any additional revenue from the campaign. Two years ago they thought they were. A few months ago they noted that it didn’t drive revenue or loyalty but it was a nice touch that the customers appreciated. Ultimately that wasn’t enough.

    On the plus side, the OnePass program is still pretty nice for reward redemptions. In a world where differentiation is getting harder and harder to find that seems to be worth something.

  4. I thought it was called “NonePass” for a reason?

    As a United 1K, I really hope the merger doesn’t happen. While CO may have some advantages (PC booze, MAYBE friendlier FAs…um…), I’ll take UA’s route network, already re-done 747s/767s, lack of selling F seats and thus preventing top-tiers from getting upgraded under EUA/UDU, etc.

  5. This is just the latest cost cutting move by the new CO CEO Jeff O’Leary….I mean Sismek. I expect more cuts and more fees… Some of the coming cuts may not be so popular among the CO elite base as it may hit them ‘in their backyard’

    It is called Nonepass for a reason as redemption on CO flights stinks… Especially if you like to plan ahead.

  6. Those “‘re-done” planes are partly the reason for United’s “oldest in the industry” rep.

    Who doesn’t love to fly old jets?

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