After over 10 years of tightening the purse strings so much that passengers felt like they were being nickel and dimed for everything, American Airlines has decided to make one (minor) positive change: it announced the return of free snacks when flying in economy.
American Airlines has not offered economy class passengers free snacks since 2003. Widely attributed to the declines in passenger flights following the September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. airlines removed almost every perk imaginable on domestic flights. Though possibly inconsequential to most passengers, it did make a dent in the airline’s bottom line. When Continental Airlines stopped giving out free cookies and mini bags of pretzels in 2011, it said the move would save $2.5 million a year.
In February 2016, American will start offering Biscoff cookies or pretzels to passengers flying between New York and San Francisco or Los Angeles. By April, those snacks will expand to all other domestic routes.
“We know that we have customers who select our airline based on price and we’re really excited to offer them a product that is superior to choosing an ultra-low cost carrier” said Fernand Fernandez, vice president of global marketing at American Airlines.
Now I certainly love my Biscoff cookies as much as the next traveler, but when an airline gets excited about differentiating themselves from the Spirit Airlines of the world (by proudly offering free cookies, no less!), then I feel like American air travel has arrived at low point.