Starting Oct. 1, United Airlines will stop serving free meals to coach-class passengers on transatlantic flights between Washington D.C. (Dulles airport) and destinations in Europe. It's the first U.S. airline to stop distributing free meals on transatlantic flights. The airline will offer salads and sandwiches for $9, says The Washington Post.
Meals in first and business classes will remain free for transatlantic flights. But for most domestic flights, business class will no longer get free meals. And the price of meals for flights within the U.S. will also rise. (See United's pricing chart for details.)
No word yet on whether flight attendants will be able to handle all the cash payments. The game of "does anyone have small bills?" will get very old on a long transatlantic flight. I hope they'll give hand-held, credit-card reading machines to them, like US Airways is giving some of its flight attendants on domestic flights. (Virgin Atlantic has credit-card swipe readers on each seatback.)
[The announcement was predicted by the blog Upgrade: Travel Better.]
What would you do if your transatlantic flight didn't offer a free meal? Pay for a meal, or pack your own?