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Free in-flight meals make comeback

There has been a big movement towards stopping free in-flight meals for economy class passengers but now one airline looks set to buck the trend.

Many big name carriers including British Airways have tried to make savings by reducing their complimentary food service on short-haul and even some long-haul routes. However, this hasn't proved popular with some passengers and now Delta says that offering free onboard food has boosted its customer satisfaction ratings.

Flights from the UK for long-haul economy passengers still mostly include free meals onboard, although newer routes offered by budget long-haul airlines such as Norwegian and WOW require individuals to purchase food on board.

Competitive advantage

In the US, Delta had been among the first to drop economy class meals back in 2001 and by 2010 all other major US airlines had done the same.

Now the carrier has announced that it will start serving free food to all passengers on 12 long-haul routes in the coming weeks. The famous American brand found that customer-satisfaction scores were higher when they tested the reintroduction on routes between New York and California last year.

Vice president of onboard services at Delta, Lisa Bauer, commented: “People appreciate not being nickel-and-dimed on these long flights. We believe this will be a competitive advantage.”

The airline’s new offering will start on 1 March for flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and both Los Angeles and San Francisco, before expanding to take in ten more cross-country routes.

BA and M&S

BA stopped serving free food and drink on short-haul services in January, although a new partnership with Marks and Spencer means sandwiches and snacks are available. Free meals on long-haul economy flights of less than eight-and-a-half hours were reduced from two to one last summer.

This means that flights from the UK to destinations such as New York, which takes between seven and eight hours, have been affected for economy class passengers, although Business (Club) and First class customers have seen no change.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your Worldwide Travel Insurance in advance.

Date Created: 22 February 2017

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