A History of Airline Meals

Check out this audio clip from NPR on the history of in-flight airline food.

I particularly like the perspective at the end:

But there's a paradox the airlines ignore. Is that when we get on board, we come to expect those silly peanuts or pretzels and that tomato juice. It's a way to pass the time, quite literally. And so the fact of not having access to this at all, that actually is a trying thing for any passenger.

Of course, the trade-off is cheap airfares. Today, a round-trip ticket from D.C. to San Francisco costs about 300 bucks. Back in 1938, the same ticket also cost about 300 bucks. You got a free meal, but for that money you could've also bought a car.

I'll take the cheap airfare and BOB...

One correction:

It's almost Memorial Day, the official start of the summer travel season. And it may be the last summer to enjoy a free meal in coach class on domestic airline flights. Only one U.S. carrier still offers that freebie, Continental. But the airline recently announced it'll soon join the no-food-for-you club on most domestic flights this fall...

That's not quite accurate. Continental will still offer free meals in Y (at least until the merger occurs) on domestic flights longer than six hours. Delta also offers complimentary meals in Economy on nonstop Hawaiian flights to/from Atlanta and Minneapolis. Hawaiian Airlines also offer complimentary meals in domestic Coach, although you can also choose to purchase upgraded meals for $10. 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

e.g. http://www.example.com/