The Airline Diet

The airlines have opened up their own diet program. It can easily compare to a starvation diet like Kimkins. The airline can guarantee that you will not eat for 6 – 7 hours. No willpower required. Not even Kimkins can do that.

I recently returned home from a long flight with US Air. Not that the experience was unique for this airline. I have had exactly the same thing happen on United and Alaska Airlines. No doubt is the “no-food” practice common on other airlines as well.

I think by now that most people are aware that no food is being served on shorter flights and plan accordingly. But what about the longer ones? When you are stuck on the airplane for 5 hours, plus an hour or so for boarding and getting off the plane?

It depends. Continental serves food at “meal times” and a 5 hour flight generally means that you hit a meal time in some time zone. Not that the food is low carb but at least you get something.

Other airlines, like the three mentioned above, have implemented “food for purchase.” To me, this would mean that there is food for purchase on the plane. Not so.

On my last trip, I was sitting in the last row. I knew that meant that there wouldn’t be any food for purchase when the flight attendants reached my row. Not a problem for me. I can bring something with me, even if just a bag of nuts. And if I don’t, not eating for a full day is not a problem for me. I don’t have blood sugar issues.

But I felt sorry for the young couple next to me. It was their first trip with their new baby. They had prepared well, packing diapers and baby food, but no food for themselves. Why would they? The airline had said it would be food for purchase available on the plane. How would these unexperienced travelers know that 1) they would be assigned seats in the back of the plane and 2) there was not enough food brought on board for all passengers?

I find the “food for purchase” practice rude. Who decides which passengers will be allowed to pay for food and which passengers will have to make do with a tiny bag of pretzels for the entire flight? If you announce food for purchase, why not bring aboard enough food boxes to make sure that everyone that wants/needs one get it? Perhaps not the first choice, but at least something? It’s not like you can step off and buy food somewhere else when you find out that there is none available.

I understand that airlines are trying to cut corners to save money. I just wish they could prioritize which corners they cut. I can’t see that the cost per passenger would be much affected by them bringing on board at least the non-perishable snack box in enough quantity. Any unused boxes can just go to the next flight.

If I could, I would boycott airlines that have this practice. Unfortunately, as my choice of airline is based on destination, price and schedule, I am not at liberty to do so. However, I have submitted a comment/complaint on US Air’s website and I hope other passengers will do the same. Perhaps it will make a difference, in time.

In the meantime, passengers just have to continue to bring food with them, creating a Catch 22. Fewer passengers will use the food for purchase “service” and the airlines will plan for even less food boxes on board.

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