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Delta Considering Free Meals in Coach

Free meals in coach—that relic of a bygone, gilded era of aviation—might be making a comeback.

“Might,” of course, is the operative word here.

According to USA Today, Delta is exploring the idea. The carrier recently began testing complimentary inflight meals between New York’s JFK and both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The trial launched November 1 and will conclude December 15, but “could become permanent if it’s well-received by fliers.”

If it’s well received by flyers?

USA Today reports that “morning passengers can choose between a honey maple breakfast sandwich or a ‘breakfast medley.’ Lunch options include a mesquite-smoked turkey combo with chips or a whole-grain veggie wrap.”

“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,” Delta’s SVP for In-Flight Service, Allison Ausband, said in a statement. “Testing meals on Transcon flights is part of our commitment to be thoughtful about our offerings and make decisions based on customers’ needs.”

Complimentary inflight meals have all but disappeared from domestic coach flights over the past decade-plus. In their place, airlines have added a wide range of food options to purchase onboard, admittedly giving customer greater choices and often more appealing options.

But even if it were limited to longer flights, bringing back complimentary meal service, perhaps alongside onboard-purchase options, would represent a welcome and unexpected shift away from the recent trend of charging for individual services.

And if free meals do come back, we can bring back that beloved, lost tradition of complaining about airline food.

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