Continental Drops Free Food on Domestic Flights

by  Suzanne Steinert | Mar 18, 2010
Continental Airlines plane
Continental Airlines plane / icholakov/iStock

There’s no such thing as a free lunch anymore . . . at least not in the skies! On Monday, Continental Airlines finally ended its holdout as the last major U.S. carrier offering free food onboard domestic flights, announcing it will cut complimentary meal service for economy passengers on routes in the U.S., Canada, and to popular Latin America/Caribbean “leisure” destinations (like Cancun, Mexico, and most Caribbean islands) this fall. Handouts will still be offered on all other international routes and any long-haul flight over six hours.

The airline is attempting to make the fee easier to swallow by claiming the new “food-for-sale” model will allow it to provide better variety and healthier options (think “gourmet wraps” and fresher salads, in contrast to the not-quite Michelin star-quality, microwaveable mini trays that are standard coach fare). Of course, “elite-level” flyers and those in first class still get the perk, and Continental will continue awarding light snacks (like those oh-so-tantalizing peanuts) and nonalcoholic drinks, to all.

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