US Airways Officially Ends Snacks

US Airways has decided that the $.03 per package that they were spending on your snack is just too much money! They’re officially discontinuing free snacks for coach passengers as of June 1st.

US Airways’ management has always been unapologetic about the grossness of US Airways’ free snacks. As they told employees who requested better tasting pretzels:

“We’ve worked with our purchasing team,” management explained, “to bring in many companies to compete on our main cabin tidbit item (pretzels). To date, no one has been able to match our current cost, about 3 cents per package.”

US Airways Ends Free Snacks For Passengers [Bizjournals](Thanks, Peetah!)
(Photo: Zonaphoto )

PREVIOUSLY: Employees May Hate US Airways More Than Their Customers Do


Edit Your Comment

  1. ryan89 says:

    How about they sell them for a nickel? Then they would make 2 cents per package of profit! Might help to eliminate some fees! /sarcasm

  2. darkrose says:

    Meh. I usually bring my own snacks from home anyway.

  3. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    I would have been upset if this news came out in 1990, but today it pretty much means you go from 4 tiny cardboard pretzels to 0. Eh.

  4. lincolnparadox says:

    I hope that the next time the government decides to bailout the airlines, they just flush that money down the Amtrak toilet.

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    Okay, how difficult is it for airlines to offer (free) ‘tidbits’ with an advertising message on the packet?

    Enjoy these Oreo cookies, compliments of US Airways, Nabisco & Hertz Car Rental.

    Gee turn expense into revenue stream.

    How hard is this? US Airways, please send me a check, since your marketing department isn’t bright enough to think of this.

  6. hills says:

    I remember back in the day (10 years maybe?) when I was usually given a whole Nutri-Grain bar on shuttle flights for a snack – now, not even 3cent pretzels!

  7. squatchie44 says:

    I kinda like pretzels, but i only fly Midwest (when i can afford it) or Southwest so i don’t really care how much more crappy USAirways gets.

  8. weakdome says:

    Shit. Now what am I going to snack on when I’m sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours while my USAir flight is delayed AGAIN?
    I have NEVER flown US Air and had my flight leave or arrive on time.
    I hate them. But they are often cheap. Which means, next time they save me a nickel, I will be right back on their airline. Ugh.

  9. backbroken says:

    Awesome! So the US Airways 3 oz bag of peanuts I found in my spring jacket is a collector’s item now!

  10. Rando says:

    Guys, you can’t blame the airlines. Gas is ridiculous and airlines are losing money. We’re lucky the ticket prices haven’t been jacked up yet.

  11. am84 says:

    Will we still be getting free soft drinks? This is a serious question – I need my Diet Coke.

  12. boss_lady says:

    I still remember hearing about the airlane that saved hundreds of thousands by taking olives out of their in-flight salads a few years ago.

  13. B says:

    What a coincidence, I’ve officially ended flying on Us Air. And the way things are going US Airways will soon be officially ending operations.

  14. imaLttlGrl says:

    This is crazy, I would want my $.03 back, I’m sure it is included in the ticket price. If I’m paying for it, I expect it. No matter how dry and distasteful it is. What is the world coming to?

  15. dawime says:

    @Rando: But the prices have – in the form of extra fees for checking in baggage, fuel surchages, extra leg room , etc – That way they can charge all those items at check-in time and still advertise “lower” prices.

  16. Mr_D says:

    I remember when you used to get MEALS with ACTUAL SILVERWARE that they let you keep. My parents still have a few United forks and knives.

    Then they switched to plastic silverware.

    Now they give you a “snack box” for an extra $5.

  17. darkrose says:

    @weakdome: “I have NEVER flown US Air and had my flight leave or arrive on time.”

    Just last Friday I flew from JAX to PHL and the flight was 10 mins early. Return flight (Southwest, on Monday night) was 15 minutes early.

    I’ve actually gone from JAX to PHL and have been almost an hour early due to a nice tail wind (this was on Thanksgiving day last year). The problems with late flights getting in and out of PHL is because of PHL, not because of US Air. I’ve had family fly out of PHL and sit on the tarmac for an hour before takeoff due to traffic. On Southwest.

    Now the airlines say the flight from PHL to JAX is 2.5 hours when it’s only 2 (but more often about 1.75 hours). The flight from JAX to PHL is always scheduled for 2 hours and takes about the same time.

  18. satoru says:

    I wonder if they’ll ever stop giving out complimentary drinks on a flight? With the air being so dry inside a plane it would be a lucrative way for the airlines to make money. On trips from Asia, I have seen that before boarding a plane to the USA, you must get rid of all your bottles and crap before boarding. It’s quite annoying and it would force you to buy their drinks on the 12+ hour flight back to America.

    The pricing is so equalized now that I’ll probably be flying JAL or Cathay Pacific exclusively just so I know I won’t be nickeled and dimed in fees. They also have superior service…. and superior stewardesses :)

  19. drewby2008 says:

    Lets do a bit of math:

    $0.03 x 3800 flights x (150 passengers per flight guess) equals $17100 in additional profit per day or wait for it …. $6.2415 Million dollars per year. It’s crazy how a $0.03 snack can add up. I agree with Skokieguy above however in that I’m sure some company would pay $0.06 cents per pack to advertise on and take that $6.2415 Million Dollar loss and turn it into profit.

  20. dragonvpm says:

    @Rando: Fine, fuel goes up, raise ticket prices, don’t nickel and dime us and then pare down the service to the point where an activity which is already (often) stressful and frustrating becomes that much more aggravating.

  21. B says:

    @Rando: Actually I can blame the airlines. Look at how the rising fuel costs are effecting the airlines differently, it’s caused by the inefficient business models some of the airlines have adapted.

  22. jusooho says:

    @satoru: Above posters are correct about the snack not being missed. However, you will probably find some huge complaints about stop giving out free drinks on your flights. Especially water, on a long flight. I think customers would not allow it, and also begin to bring empty bottles to fill at the bathroom.

  23. P_Smith says:

    Why not bring your own snacks? Even when I fly on airlines that I know to have passable food, I bring something. How hard is it to pack a granola bar or somesuch? The weight of one in your carry-on bag or pocket is negligible.

    With or without an in-flight meal, I always bring along an extra sandwich or sub-sandwich (cheese and/or vegetables so it won’t spoil). Even if the meal is good, I’ll end up eating it anyway, and if isn’t edible, the sandwich saves the day.

    I once had a five hour flight that had abominable food, grease dripping off it, and the diabetic meal I ordered NOT delivered to me. I was very glad I planned ahead.

  24. HrPingui says:


    That sounds like a better plan than giving to the airlines, with some more funding amtrak could actually be a competent and useful service.

    Look at Europe

  25. satoru says:

    @jusooho: I was just thinking why it wasn’t done earlier. From a cost perspective those canned drinks they take on are much higher than 3 cents a pop. I suppose they can’t do the syrup based dispensers because of the compressed CO2 which would act like a potential explosive. You’d get complaints, but in this environment with the way the airlines are behaving, and with flyer apathy at an all time high, they might be able to get away with it.

    I just wonder if there is some kind of actual regulation that would prevent this? I agree that most people would probably start making runs to the bathroom to steal water from the tap, but is that water even remotely drinkable?

  26. backbroken says:

    @darkrose: Getting to PHL early is nothing to be happy about.

  27. basket548 says:


    Not really business models. In fact, it has much to do with which airlines hedged their fuel purchases and which did not.

  28. weakdome says:

    @darkrose: So… moral of your story is, we should start going on vacations together? Maybe the average of your early flights plus my late ones will mean we always arrive on time!

  29. darkrose says:

    @backbroken: Getting to PHL early is nothing to be happy about.

    This is true, but the point remains that is it a problem with the airport, not the airlines.

    When I left on Friday I noticed we took off from 27L which was new, we usually got out of there on 27R. Looks like 27R was being used for arrivals only, so maybe things are changing (still was like #12 for takeoff)

  30. Zaos says:

    my trip from us air got bumped up 1 hour early, good thing we got there 1 hour 30 minutes early.

    the trip got delayed 1 hour because
    “our first officer is not here and not responding to phone calls”
    aka he was leg deep on girls in vegas while the rest of us wanted to leave vegas :(

    this whole problem started with not being able to pay pilots overtime IMO. they have no need to jack prices cause planes that used to carry 100 people and have a limit of 150 now carry the limit. all planes are fully booked when previously you could build a fort in an airplane as a kid =/

  31. Sirened says:

    Will first class passengers still get pretzels??

  32. ThinkerTDM says:

    How much does the CEO make again? How about all of the upper management combined?

  33. satoru says:

    A smarter airline might be able to take advantage of the current situation. Airlines like JAL and Cathay Pacific cost more but are actually nice experiences on the plane with actual edible food and good customer service. Perhaps and airline can try to rebrand themselves as going to the ‘golden age’ of air travel. They can say “look we cost a bit more but let’s compare: them cheap ticket + 100 for bags + 10 lunch + 10 dinner. us : ticket + good service + good food + no hidden fees”

    The problem with the airlines is everyone is playing the “Me Too” game instead of trying to actually differentiate themselves from the crappy industry they are perceived to be.

  34. rpm773 says:

    I love US Air. They were awful when United was good. They were awful when United was bad and American was good. Now, as United gets better and American swirls the drain, they’re still awful.

    They just manage to scrape together enough cash from time to time to threaten to buy another airline…kind of like the sarlacc reaching a tentacle out of the abyss to pull in another hapless soul.

    And the fact they have their hub in Philadelphia is very fitting. It’s like the antithesis of those old Reeses peanut butter cup commercials – two great tastes in one.

    Except US Air and PHL are two horrible things in one.

  35. jusooho says:

    @satoru: Yes, water from the airplane tap is very drinkable. Some times flying on a 16 hour flight it is preferable for me to fill a bottle from there, than to ask for several bottles of water from the attendent.

    Also I like my bottle much more ^^

  36. m1k3g says:

    The ideal scenario for the airlines & TSA would be: You go to the airport, check your bags, sit down in a comfortable chair at the gate area. A mask is then placed over your face and you fall asleep. Whilst you’re asleep, they wheel the chairs onto the plane and leave. At the other end of the flight, you’re woken up, you collect your bags and off you go (unless you have a connecting flight, in which case you’re wheeled over to the other plane). No shoe bombers to worry about, no movies, snacks, crying babies, overcrowded restrooms, stressed out flight attendants, the pilot has nothing to do but fly the plane. Why no one in the Bush administration came up with this plan is beyond belief!

  37. beavis88 says:


    I’d sooner drink jet fuel than that water.

  38. lemur says:


    With or without an in-flight meal, I always bring along an extra sandwich or sub-sandwich […]

    Is a subsandwich a sandwich in a sandwich? Like a subdirectory is a directory in a directory…

    I once had a five hour flight that had abominable food, grease dripping off it, and the diabetic meal I ordered NOT delivered to me. I was very glad I planned ahead.

    Right on! I usually plan for my own snacks when I travel. Saves a lot of headaches. So I don’t really care if they stop serving their pitiful snacks.

  39. Ugh, stop complaining about this. Seriously, its a bag of very low quality pretzels that I *know* at least half of you don’t even eat. We should have started complaining sooner if we were bothered by losing our “flying experience” i.e. pillows, blankets, quality attendant service. Its not like you can’t bring pretzels from home, or fork over the 3 bucks for a bag in the terminal. I know, to some people 3 dollars is the world, but really, most people fly once or twice a year. Get over it.

  40. mammalpants says:

    the title of this article should be adjusted in 6 months to “Humans Officially End Flying on US Airways”

  41. ARP says:

    I just flew AA from Canada to Chicago and they wanted to charge me $5 for a blanket I could keep. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this for short hop flights only?

  42. Donathius says:

    I’m not too terribly bothered by this. It’s like we’re going through a process of weeding out the really horrible airlines. I understand that fuel is expensive, I’m paying more for gas for my car so it makes sense that the airline is paying more for their jet fuel – so charge more. I find it interesting that while some of these airlines (like USAir) are citing this as being necessary due to rising fuel cost when Southwest generally has better service, more pleasant employees, AND record profits WHILE being significantly cheaper AND I still get to check two bags for free!

    I’d be willing to bet that there is plenty of corporate fat they could trim that would save a lot more than .03 cents/passenger/flight.

  43. FatLynn says:

    Keep in mind that there are also soft costs associated with the serving. So the actual pretzels cost 3 cents/package, but someone has to order pretzels, receive pretzels, store pretzels, and load the plane with pretzels.

  44. Szin says:

    The best airline for snacks is EASILY Midwest Express. Hell, it’s the best airline in general, IMO, however they serve freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookies. Good ones too!

  45. Disturbedearth says:

    @Szin: Amen! Midwest rocks. I swear it’s like flying on a Limo. And those cookies… MMMMM! Plus their seats are designed by Recarro!

  46. TheLadyK says:

    I love Midwest – my current home airport is MKE, so I getto see a lot of them.

    I’m moving to Philly. The only downside (job, personal wise) is going to be 80% travel with PHL as my home airport. I don’t count them as bad as Atlanta… but nothing takes off on time out of PHL.

    Personally, I think of going to the airport as a survival experiance. I don’t check anything, I take one carryon, I pack my own pillow, blanket, food and water bottle. I wrap myself in my own personal bubble and understand that its going to be miserable until I hit the rental car place at my final destination.

  47. drewby2008 says:

    Hmm. $0.03 x 3800 flights per day x 150 passengers per flight =$17100/day x 365 days =$6.2415 Million loss per year. I can see why they are cutting it.

    I’d highly agree with the above advertising suggestion. Charge an advertiser $.06 per bag and turn that loss into a 6.2415 Million Dollar profit.

    As a side note, Southwest hedged there fuel costs long ago and is the main reason they are still so profitable.

  48. TechnoDestructo says:

    As long as you can’t bring your own beverages, charging for that will be very tempting to the airline industry.

    As soon as they start, you can bet that “security” concerns over liquids will remain in place.

  49. darkrose says:

    @TheLadyK: I’m moving to Philly. The only downside (job, personal wise) is going to be 80% travel with PHL as my home airport. I don’t count them as bad as Atlanta… but nothing takes off on time out of PHL.

    Depending on where you’re going try Atlantic City. Generally cheaper (depending on where you’re going), even when you factor in gas and tolls on the AC Expressway. My GF sometimes flies down via Spirit to MCO (Orlando) and then we spend a weekend down there vs flying into JAX.

  50. TechnoDestructo says:


    That’s doubly annoying coming from Asia, where they DON’T gouge you at the airports.

    There is nothing about flying in Japan, Korea, and China that isn’t better than flying in the US. NOTHING.

  51. shockwaver says:

    I usually bring my own snacks on a plane, been doing it since I started packing my own carry-on bag because I wanted candy on the plane. Now I pack them because paying $5 for a blue snack box with some fake cheese and a slimjim just isn’t my idea of a good time. Now if I could just bring my damn water bottle on the plane, I’d be happy. I was flying back from Vegas at one point, and had a little stubby water bottle buried in a backpack I forgot about (it’s the damn desert, I had water stashed everywhere), I’d say it had 110ml if I remembered correctly.. the security guard at the scanner looked like I was carrying a bomb. He called like 5 people over, and they gingerly took my bag and emptied everything out of it. I thought they were going to shoot me, because I had some damn water.

  52. ludwigk says:

    Somehow, international airlines have managed to continue offering competitive prices, great service, included meals and food, snacks, “wings” pins for kids, free headphones for the flight duration.. why must our domestic carriers suck so much?

    I always use my “get to airport 2 hours early” time to pick up a few amenities from the airport before boarding, such as a litre of water and maybe a fastfood burger for later. Its more convenient to have my own water than bother the waitstaff for 8 oz bottles, and the burger is a much better deal than $7 for a partially thawed tv dinner.

  53. whydidnt says:

    Unfortunately, until American consumers stop making every purchase decision based upon cost we will see more and more of these types of decisions. Seriously, why should USAir, Delta or whoever spend the $ on snacks? It’s not like any one decides to fly their airline because a $0.03 bag of pretzels is included.

    This is a perfect example of the “Wal-Mart” economy – Everyone makes their decisions based upon cost, at the expense of service and then complains about how lousy the service is. It’s getting harder and harder to find a corner hardware store because everyone buys from Wal-Mart or Home Depot to save a few cents. Never mind the helpful advice you always get from the corner store. The same holds true in the airline industry. If the airlines knew that providing extras could sell more tickets at a higher price they would do it. However, the reality is something different.

    Airlines have mis-managed themselves into this corner and until our govt. grows the seeds to allow a couple of major carriers to fail, we’ll continue to hear about fuel-surcharges, luggage fees, etc. As soon as enough of them fail, new competitors will emerge an take up the slack of those lost flights, hopefully with new ideas on how to compete in this industry. It’s pretty obvious the current hub and spoke system is NOT the best solution to air travel, but the current airlines have so much invested in it that none of them are willing to walk away from the arrangement.

  54. dmuth says:

    Time to start packing MREs with me when I fly.

  55. b612markt says:

    When I drove my car to Texas from Chicago two weeks ago I brought all the snacks I wanted and had plenty of bottled water and sodas for the road. I could pull over anytime I wanted and use the bathroom without squeezing down a horrible little aisle. I could listen to my music as loud as I wanted. I could leave whenever I wanted and arrived on my own schedule and didn’t have to rent a car at my destination.

    I might never fly within the USA again.

  56. joellevand says:

    WTF? I hate US Airways, but not as much as American, which is not as much as United.

  57. synergy says:

    On one hand, do we really need to be fed on what’s (hopefully) only a few hours of flight at most??

    On the other hand, is it really going to kill us to buy a packet of peanuts?? Assuming it can get by the super-duper security TSA *rme*.

    Man. I’m so glad I’ve only flown twice in 5 years!

  58. LUV2CattleCall says:


    Yep! It was actually 1987, AA eliminated 1 olive from each 1st class salad and saved $44,000. When word got out, there was a mini-boycott out of spite. Since over 50 pax mailed in copies of tickets on other airlines to show their discontent, AA made a big deal about how they are INCREASING the olive count by 2, for a net gain of 1. For a short bit of time, Delta poked fun at them by having an olive platter for F/J int’l pax featuring various types of olives!


    Doug Parker, the CEO, made $550,000 last year, and DECLINED a bonus

    Mark Everson, former CEO of the Red Cross, had an annual salary of $651,957.

  59. Jesse in Japan says:

    This also saves them money on fuel because all those pretzels add a lot of weight.

  60. ampersand says:

    I like being able to fly places. I applaud airlines that are trying to save money by getting rid of things that really aren’t a big deal to do without (like pretzels) instead of charging me $700/ticket or going out of business completely. Go US Airways!

  61. Difdi says:

    I always pack my own lunch when traveling. A couple small bags of trail mix for snacking, some double-wrapped sandwiches, and a couple bottles or cans of soda from inside the security zone. I haven’t relied on an airline snack in two decades…

  62. darkryd says:

    Has anyone looked into designing more fuel efficient jets and planes?

    If the car industry can make a car that expends nothing but water, why can’t airlines?

    Might keep them from having to cut silly things like snacks.


  63. Wasn’t the snack to THEIR benefit? Keeping passengers from being cranky and so forth?