The aviation industry has been undergoing a slump for many years now and with the economy hitting rock bottom people are not interested in traveling unless they really need to. Unless it is a necessity, nobody really wants to fly since leisure travel has taken a backseat with the current psyche focused on savings. Continental Airlines was amongst the last frontiers where hospitality was a primary concern and their passengers were treated to a complimentary delectable meal on board.
Just a couple days back while I was zipping across the United States on a Continental Airline flight from Chicago to San Francisco, with a free cup of coffee in my travel cup holder, a thought crossed my mind. This was the only airline that still gives you a meal without you having to dish out an extra penny for it. Albeit, Continental must be covering it in the cost of the ticket nonetheless, who does not enjoy the notion of getting something for free? I was zapped out of my thoughts when the meal was placed in front of me and it dawned on me that it was nothing to really rave about. An indistinguishable piece of meat tossed in a bun was what was in store for us, take it or leave it.
This October 12th, the freebies dished out in the form of a platter of food are no more as part of the services rendered by Continental Airlines. United Airlines has merged with Continental and the amalgamation of the two airline giants has shifted focus to cutting costs, wherever they may to get back to a semblance of profitability. Of course, you still have the option of purchasing a packed meal on board if your travel time is less than six hours, more than that you may just be lucky enough to be provided something for your hungry belly without any extra cost.
Airline food has always been appalling to eat for a food connoisseur but the option of not choosing to have it was always nice rather than not being offered any at all. Without the free meal I am sure there will be a small tinge of regret but not so overpowering as to influence passengers on their choice of airline. The buck stops where the money is less and you reach on time at your designated destination. In the meantime, airport food has really raised the bar in terms of quality of food and that is where most passengers prefer to have their meals. If not that, then there is always a complimentary cup of coffee or tea (best enjoyed when placed in your convenient, out of the way, drink holder) and some munchies still being handed out by most airlines. My conclusion is that the end of the era of free food is nothing really to fret about as the contents of the free meal will not be missed.