Is Delta Bringing Back Complimentary Meals?

deltaDo you remember the days when you would buy a plane ticket for a long flight across the country—say, Los Angeles to New York City or even from Portland to Honolulu—and the price of air fare included a meal?

No just a snack, but a hot meal?

Alas, those days are long gone. You can still get a meal on a flight of course, but that now, typically costs extra. Sure, you can opt out of it, but it is something nice to look forward to when you know you are going to be stuck in a cabin several thousand feet in the air.

Well, it looks like those days might be returning, at least, on Delta flights. The passenger air carrier has recently said it has been monitoring customer satisfaction scores on all flights “to determine impact on the in-flight experience.” when the trial period ends, the company will evaluate the comments to decide whether or not to restore complimentary meals.

“We are constantly actively listening to our customers and employees, gathering their feedback and testing new products on board to continuously improve the overall experience,” explains Delta SVP for In-Flight Service, Allison Ausband. She goes on to say, “Testing meals on Transcon flights is part of our commitment to be thoughtful about our offerings and make decisions based on customers’ needs.”

For now, the complimentary coach-class meal trial is only available on Delta’s “Transcon service.” This “higher standard of flying” is part of Delta’s JFK-LAX (Los Angeles) and JFKF-SFO (San Francisco) routes.
According to Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna, “Right now, we are focusing on those (Transcon) markets for the testing, but we will plan to use the results and feedback from customers to determine next steps.”
Now, if the trial is successful, Delta may still only bring complimentary meals back to a limited number of cross-country routes. But if they do this, it would definitely break the long trend of big US airlines that have done away with this accommodation.

“I think Delta’s just trying to see if that helps distinguish the airline, but also if it justifies in the customer’s mind paying slightly higher fares,” comments Atmosphere Research Group travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt. He goes on to comment that Delta commonly tries to offer better services in order to justify commanding a higher fare than competitors.