You pay to check your bags. You pay to standby for an earlier trip home. You pay for extra legroom. When you’re flying, your wallet tends to do a lot of work. However, if United is a trendsetter, you might be able to begin enjoying one small perk: a free snack. In December, the carrier announced that it will start offering free snacks on thousands of daily flights in North America and Latin America in February.
"We're refocusing on the big and little things that we know matter to our customers and shape how they feel about their travel experience," Jimmy Samartzis, United's vice president of food services and United Clubs, said in a statement. "We're bringing back complimentary snacks that are a nod to our global presence. They also add that extra level of service our employees will be proud to deliver and will make a big difference for our customers.”
In 2011, many road warriors remember when airlines cited rising fuel costs as a reason for reducing travel perks. Now that oil prices are falling, airlines are seeing some serious growth in revenue. In fact, the industry’s year-over-year total operating profits increased by 61 percent in the third quarter of 2015.
Will all those earnings translate to lower ticket prices, too? Not so fast. The most recent Global Business Travel Association Price Outlook indicates that average airfares in North America are expected to increase by 0.5 percent in 2016. So while you may not pay any less to get from here to there, at least your stomach will feel slightly fuller. It’s a good step toward an even more important piece of air travel: making travelers feel more valued and more satisfied.
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