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Travelers say they'd pay for a hot, in-flight meal

4:58 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
A Delta Air Lines First Class meal (Flickr:LAXFlyer)
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(USA Today) -- Here's one airline fee travelers can apparently stomach.

According to a new poll by Airfarewatchdog.com, which tracks airfares and industry trends, many travelers would pay for a hot, in-flight meal.

Out of 1,221 people polled, 53% said they would pay a fee for a hot meal. The rest said "no way."

U.S. airlines have stopped serving hot meals on most domestic flights. The new model has been to offer passengers snacks for sale.

Increasingly, airlines have been charging fees for everything from boarding early to choosing seats. Passengers have complained about being charged fees at every point in the traveling process.

But a fee for a hot meal is one many would be willing to dish out.

"It's pretty amazing that more than half of respondents would pay extra for a meal," says AirfareWatchdog.com president George Hobica. "Do people really like airline food, the butt of countless jokes, that much? Or are we just feeling nostalgic for the good old days."

How much travelers would be willing to pay varies. According to the poll, 29% said they'd pay $5, 19% said they'd pay $10, 5% said they'd pay $15, and 3% would pay as much as $20.

"Personally, I miss the days when you'd get a real meal on an airplane, with those little plastic dishes filled with various treats - a little salad in one compartment, some cheese wrapped in foil, a warm entree, and a gooey dessert, perhaps a mint," Hobica says. "Remember this? "

Some airlines are hoping travelers do and are starting to sell "premium" meals in economy class. US Airways, for instance, last year introduced a premium meal for $19.99 on international flights. There is a chicken and vegetarian option. Both meals come with a glass of wine.

Today in the Sky tried both meals on a flight to Lisbon last year. The food was definitely an improvement from the regular meal in coach. The only drawback: It wasn't hot.

(USA Today)

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