In-Flight Meals–What You Will (Or Won’t) Be Getting

If you read my blog, “No Such Thing As A Free Ride… Or Free Pretzels,” then you know that the majority of the airlines no longer offer free meals on domestic flights unless you’re flying in business or first class. Dining choices are also offered on international flights.

So what should you expect (or not expect) on your next flight? Take a look.

Air Canada
On North American flights longer than 4.5 hours you will be offered a choice of two meals and complimentary water, coffee, tea, fruit juices, soft drinks, or milk. Alcoholic beverages are available for $4.

On North American flights from 1.5 to 4.5 hours: A variety of snacks, cereals and sandwiches are available for purchase. Prices range from $1-7.

AirTran does not serve any meals, but offers complimentary coffee, juices, soda and snacks. Alcoholic beverages are $4 on all flights.

American Airlines
On U.S. and Canada flights that are three hours or longer and depart from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., you may purchase a snack box filled with crackers, cookies and dried fruit. On transcontinental and Hawaii flights, a fresh sandwich or wrap is also available. (I have eaten the wrap. It includes turkey, sprouts, cheese, and tomatoes wrapped in a spinach tortilla. It was pretty good… especially five hours into a nine-hour flight.) Snack boxes are available on American Eagle and AmericanConnection flights in the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Complimentary meal service is provided in the main cabin on Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Japan and some Mexico flights greater than four hours in length.

America West
Sandwiches and snacks can be purchased for $2 – $5 on flights departing between 6 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary on all flights. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased for $5.

On domestic flights over two hours in economy class, passengers will get a complimentary meal or snack during these times:

– Breakfast / Snack: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
– Lunch / Snack: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
– Dinner / Snack: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

If your flight is not during the scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner hours, a light snack may be offered on flights longer than three hours in economy class.

On flights less than 90 minutes, you will be given one complimentary snack. On flights ranging from 90 minutes to 3.5 hours, you’ll be given a choice of snack. On flights four hours or longer, you’ll be given both the standard snack and a snack choice.

Complimentary meals and snacks are offered on Alaska and Hawaii flights longer than five hours. Standard beverage service is offered on all flights.

Snacks (ranging from bagels with cream cheese to crackers and cheese spread) are served on flights longer than 90 minutes. On flights more than 2.5 hours, sandwiches or wraps are served.

Jet Blue
The airline does not serve meals on flights, but does serve a variety of snacks and has standard beverage service.

Midwest Express
See my blog: “New Menu Options at 35,000 Feet.”

Snack boxes are for sale for $3 in coach class on domestic flights over 600 miles. On flights to Hawaii, Alaska, and most of the Caribbean and Mexico, sandwiches can also be purchased for $5.

Southwest Airlines does not serve sandwiches or meals on any of its flights. On flights less than two hours long, passengers get peanuts or pretzels. If your flight is longer than two hours, you will be served a packaged snack. Standard beverage service is offered on all flights.

United offers complimentary meals in coach class on international flights. In coach class on North American flights (including flights to the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean and everywhere in Mexico except Mexico City) of 3.5 hours or longer, snack boxes are available for $5. The airline has just introduced a new snack box option aimed at health-conscious passengers; called “Right Bite,” it includes items like tuna, organic crackers, hummus and raisins. Fresh sandwiches and salads are also available for purchase on most North American flights over five hours.

Passengers in first and business class get a complimentary meal on all international flights and on all North American flights longer than two hours.

US Airways
On flights longer than 2 hours, snack boxes are available for $5. On flights to and from Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle, meals are available for purchase for $7.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.