On February 16, 2017, Delta Airlines announced it would resume serving freshly-prepared, complimentary meals in economy class for selected transcontinental flights.
So why do this? Because airline customers are a fickle bunch. The perception of the flying public is that airlines "took away" meals, free checked bags etc. Delta needs to remain competitive and this move is a clear shot across the wing at retaining and gaining new economy class passengers from rivals such as Southwest, United and American.
According to their press release release, “We are all about making our Main Cabin experience the best it can be for our customers and offering free, high quality meals is a big part of that experience,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service. “When we tested this concept, our customers loved it and appreciated it so we are implementing in our most strategic markets."
Does this mean their economy fares will increase on these routes? Not necessarily. Airline revenue management is complicated the airlines have a lot of data to analyze. Think of it this way, every seat on every flight everyday is like a piece of rotting fruit. The minute that flight takes off, those unsold seats will never exist again, hence the rotting fruit analogy. Therefore, airlines are compelled to sell every seat at just about any price.
The in-flight experience is something airlines are working extremely hard to perfect in the complex and ever-changing world of air travel. More leg room, free checked bags, meals, beverages, snacks, in-flight entertainment are all part of the mix. Lets face it, they can't make the planes go faster or change the weather so making the in-flight experience as comfortable (or as affordable) as possible is really the only area for competitive growth.
I applaud Delta for this move and their attempt at making forward strides in the war of public perception. Like all airlines, Delta needs to be profitable but I also believe they have a responsibility to encourage us to travel. We need the airlines to whisk us away to far of places! So hopefully moves like this will inspire other domestic carriers to follow suit. Read the full release here.
However, I'm also here to remind YOU the traveling public to respect and marvel in the invention of modern day aviation. If you want the airlines to make flying "glamorous" again, then we have to do our part. Save the flip flops for the beach, wear an upscale casual outfit, make up, brush your hair and teeth and wear comfortable yet smart footwear. Be extra kind to the flight attendants and respect their part of the equation. And for the love of crying Pete, don't try to jam too much of your crap in the overhead bins!
And...enjoy your FREE meal in economy on Delta!
Do you have comment or a question...leave it in the comment section below.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. This blog is a reflection of my mission. I travel (on average) 30 weeks per year hosting and producing a television series for PBS. In addition, I host a weekly radio show and produce original travel videos for online distribution. I am very fortunate for these opportunities and it is my hope you will join me on my travels!