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Ua studiously digs to a new low.

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Ua studiously digs to a new low.

Old 28th Aug 2008, 03:26
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Ua studiously digs to a new low.

Passengers travelling aboard United Airlines on transatlantic flights departing from Washington DC’s Dulles Airport can soon bid farewell to free meal service. United is about to gain the dubious reputation of becoming the first airline to cut complimentary meals on long-haul flights, some of which will last well over seven hours. It remains to be seen how passengers will react to the newest and perhaps the most dramatic service cutback initiated by the airline industry. Even discount carriers like Zoom Airlines, Air Transat and Thomsonfly offer complimentary meals on long-haul transatlantic routes and there has been no talk thus far among low-cost carriers of cancelling this service.

United’s decision to cut meals on some transatlantic flights, as well as the scrapping of all business class meals on domestic routes and free light snacks in economy class, appears to have angered frequent fliers. United sent out a memorandum with these changes to its employees, but within 24 hours, the full text version of this memo was posted on commercial aviation sites across the internet. Randy Peterson, who publishes InsideFlyer, argued that around 600 frequent fliers have already added their comment to United’s latest cutback and these contributions have been highly critical of the carrier’s decision, in nearly every case. Tim Winship, who publishes a site entitled “FrequentFlier,” noted that passengers everywhere are denouncing United’s decision to cut meal service on transatlantic routes and nearly all comments have been “vociferously negative.”
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 09:28
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Recession - trying desperate measures to reduce costs. It's a gamble of course. If competitors follow suit then it'll minimise loss of client base. If the competition doesn't follow suit UAL will be left in the wilderness and in serious trouble.
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 10:47
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I agree it's a desperate measure. Some of the other measures have taken flight - a fee to check even one bag, for example.

But how likely is it that competitors will follow suit on this one?

At some things, one shakes one's head sadly and resignedly.

At other things, one shakes one's head in disbelief.
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 11:14
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I agree - if a British airline attempted to cut inclusive meals on longhaul, there would be uproar. I can forsee UA's pax load decreasing rather rapidly in the not too distant future!
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 11:57
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Short memories, you lot. Remember Freddie Laker??

UFO
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 12:55
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Short memories, you lot. Remember Freddie Laker??
Don't know if you can really compare what LAKER was with what UNITED is supposed to be, if you get my drift.
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 13:12
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I think it's either poor marketing or the dying thrashes of of another American carrier.
Since 9/11, as passengers, we have suffered abuse at the hands of airlines, airports and security organisations. The excuse was "safety". Airlines took the opportunity to chisel away at their products and services. Those of us who fly business with BA or Virgin will testify to the shrinking menus, winelists, complimentary items, even the famous Virgin Atlantic In Flight BT's.
Those who fly regularly enough are catered for in other ways but the fact is that service levels have plummeted in the last eight years.
However, I'd just like to lay my money down that this is about to change..again...just like it did in the mid-nineties. Premium passenger numbers are falling away, particularly on the Atlantic routes and to get them back, not just yet but in six to nine months, the airlines are going to have to pull out all the stops. They are not going to take any more nonsense from the aiport operators and will require investment from them on a similar par.
PAX, our time is coming again..!
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 13:43
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UniFoxOs Freddie Laker started his service with no free food, just buy a packed lunch at the airport. This is a full service carrier changing their operating standards. so not the same thing at all.

Looks like UA are going down the road that Continental took in the late 80s early 90s - of cutting everything to save money and then finding that there was nothing left. Eventually, they saw sense and got someone in to fix it and they got their customers back. Strange that.
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 13:58
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I remember when...

Back in the mid 70's crossing the Tasman (DC-8), economy passengers were given a menu to choose from, the toilets were laden with goodies (perfumes, after shaves etc etc) and us kids were invited to the cockpit to meet the Captain! I have the signed certificates still, airspeed, altitude, distance, aircraft rego etc.
Those were the days!
Oooops, must be getting old, never said that before. Yikes!

Kids these days don't even get cutlery let alone a visit up front.......
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Old 28th Aug 2008, 14:40
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Avman, Paxboy, yes I agree but I was noting:-


Even discount carriers like Zoom Airlines, Air Transat and Thomsonfly offer complimentary meals on long-haul transatlantic routes
who are more on the lines of Skytrain

UFO
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 05:12
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One container has a curry
be careful it isn't deemed a "liquid".......
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 07:48
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Always bring own food with aromas
There is actually (seriously) a small problem here - one mans' aroma is another mans' nightmare (women too, of course).

I remember a flight where a lady that I believe was from West Africa, decided to eat her own food in flight - regrettably, this took the form of some sort of animal that has died some time ago, and been smoked/dried/cooked/whatever. The smell was distressing to other customers seated in the area - I'm phrasing this post with some care. It all got very nasty, and FA's had to step in to avoid a punch-up.

Clearly, this is a rare and extreme incident, and there is no suggestion that oldtora consumes anything like this - I simply wanted to point out that the problem with "aromas" is that others have no option but to share them, so a degree of care is requied.
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 11:07
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Fly united in suffering

7 Hours without food possibly - what about those who suffer from diabetes ? - just to show i'm not thinking about my stomach. ( I could happy go without ) - just think of the attitudes of already Grumpy SLF - I suppose its agreat idea for food shops at the terminals - but what if you are connecting elseware comming or going - long day - not to mention the kids - Imgine halucinating ravenous pax giving a choirus of "How much is that curry in the window - the one with the waggly tail" or even worse the smuggling of "Bush Tucker" aboard - remember the giving of food as a cultural process as well. i.e a greeting makes the journey less stressful.

Last edited by Guest 112233; 29th Aug 2008 at 11:19. Reason: ravenous missing sumuggling miss spelled
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 14:28
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The last time I flew with UA (to SanFrancisco back in 2001) after a 5 hour delay sitting by the runway at Heathrow, it was discovered the majority of the food in Economy hadnt been loaded at all. My large bar of Cadburys finest came to my rescue but I did get worried by some of the looks from the hungry PAX around me as I ate it.
Never flew with them again.
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 18:22
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Even discount carriers like Zoom Airlines, Air Transat and Thomsonfly offer complimentary meals on long-haul transatlantic routes and there has been no talk thus far among low-cost carriers of cancelling this service.
Noooo, just going bankrupt instead. Well OK, only one so far of the 3 cited, but......


what about those who suffer from diabetes ?
What indeed? Every sufferer I've ever met takes a supply everywhere, just in case. And if diabetes sufferers can take on a packed lunch, so presumably can everyone else. But the point about offensive foods is a good one, and I'm not sure what the answer is.

Just for interest, why can't long-haul low-cost simply sell the grub just like the short-haul ones do?

Apart from tradition, why do people expect free food on an aeroplane? It's part of the lost glamour and pleasure of flying. It's gone. Get over it. Or pay a lot for glamour and pleasure; it's out there and available, at the right price.
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Old 29th Aug 2008, 21:36
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What is the current rule for carrying on food for flights within the USA?? From a previous post appears liquids are still a no go??
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Old 30th Aug 2008, 00:53
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I'm sure that many carriers will move towards the food packets being collected at the gate (All Day Deli Bag, anyone?)

The problem of aromas is a very real one when folks bring their own food on board. I recall when I was shuttling LHR~MUC for 18 months on Lufty, that they once let folks on to the Sunday evening (ex-LHR) with fast food from the terminal - the stink was ghastly and they were going to serve a snack anyway.

But even 'every day' aromas can be bad. Onl an early morning BD from LHR to ABZ in Club (about seven years ago I think). The carrier was promoting their wonderful breakfast with fresh filter coffee. The guy sitting next to me was telling me how fabulous the coffee was and how it was the best airborne coffee he had ever had etc. - and was waving the cup next to me. The smell was making me gag and I had to put the linen napkin over my nose to block the horrendous smell of coffee.

So I am rather in favour of bland old style British Rail sandwiches.
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Old 30th Aug 2008, 08:41
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We're talking aeroplane water from aeroplane tanks here, heated in a boiler to make instant coffee here! It's a gross way of drinking anything, but unfortunately, the need for frequent tea overrides the horror of where it comes from. Imagine the water tank, under the floor, also feeding the toilet system. Look 'into' it with your x-ray eyes- what do you see? Water sloshing backwards and forwards, sea weed stuck to the sides of the tank waving about with it, the odd empty cigarette packet and rusty spanner lying on the bottom! I hope he enjoyed his coffee!
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 13:53
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deleted due to inept editing ...
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:00
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@ rollingthunder
Passengers travelling aboard United Airlines on transatlantic flights departing from Washington DC’s Dulles Airport can soon bid farewell to free meal service. United is about to gain the dubious reputation of becoming the first airline to cut complimentary meals on long-haul flights, some of which will last well over seven hours.
As I read that, UA will still provide food, but you now have to pay for it. Presumably that leads to increased waste [as some will 'thankfully' decline what's offered] or an increased risk of "Sorry, Sir, we've just run out of food."

@ dhblewis
Could they not just raise the price of the ticket by a tenner each. that should cover the cost of the food.
Or add a food surcharge
Is that £10 per person, or per row?
On a 7-8 hour sector I would expect to be fed ... how it's funded is a separate issue.
Do any experts have an answer to the inevitable question ... "How much does an in-flight "meal" actually cost?"
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