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United Will Not Drop Free Meals for Coach Passengers on International Flights

September 3, 2008 By: Kirk Cassels

Nearly two weeks after it announced plans to remove free meals for coach passengers on transatlantic flights, United Airlines has had a change of heart. The New York Times is reporting that United e-mailed customers yesterday to announce that they have backpedaled on the policy.

“The response from you and many of our corporate and Mileage Plus elite customers, even before we launched the test, told us what we would have undoubtedly learned had we proceeded— you value our hot meal service in economy class for international flights,” said Graham Atkinson, United’s chief customer officer, in the e-mail.

From baggage fees to capacity cuts, the policy to remove free meals from international flights was one of several efforts initiated with the hopes of counteracting high fuel prices. United is not alone in its cost-cutting measures. US Airways announced in July that it was removing in-flight entertainment and Jazz Air (an Air Canada carrier) announced last week that it was removing life vests. Both airlines said removing the items would decrease the weight of the planes, thereby making them more fuel efficient.

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