The other shoe has finally dropped. Continental Airlines, the one domestic airline still proudly boasting free meals in coach just announced that they’ll be eliminating the perk come fall 2010. They’ll be joining the ranks of all other domestic carriers that currently charge for food, a move that they estimate will earn them $35M per year.
Eventually, we all knew that this had to happen. With each carrier gradually moving towards an a la carte model of pricing, extra services from baggage to leg room to food now comes with a price — that’s partially what has kept airline prices so low for the last decade. So in order to remain competitive, Continental had to adapt.
More than anything, Continental’s changes are symbolic of an industry changing. Like our parents bemoan the days of black tie air travel, I see myself one day telling my grandkids about how they “used to serve food for free on airplanes!” Perhaps we should just all be happy that we’re still getting from point A to point B.