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Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 811
reviews: 53
Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

I've travelled all my life and have seen the change in airlines cutting costs in order to survive. The meals seemed to be the first things to go. I remember as a kid getting a full meal served on china in economy and developing a love of smoked salmon because of it. Gone are those days!

Just wondering which domestic airlines still serve "free" meals (not peanuts/ snacks) as part of the fare?

In Aus I can only think of Qantas (mainline). You still get a hot dinner in economy if you fly between certain hours in the evening which is pretty decent.

Are there any others? What are they serving?

Edited: 10:56 pm, February 26, 2013
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,765
reviews: 5
1. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Here's an article that covers (most of) the US carriers. The only one not covered is Virgin America. No free meals in economy on domestic flights over here. "Snacks" mean those little bags of peanuts, pretzels and possibly a small cookie.

independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/air-trav…

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,539
reviews: 29
2. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Virgin serves meals domestically in Aus.

Dependent on your ticket and destination they are free (all east - west and west - east flights all food is free, and business is free).

Melbourne
posts: 1,407
reviews: 7
3. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Also for Aus domestic, Virgin serve a complimentary hot meal and drink if you're flying economy between Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane and Perth (with beer and wine available after midday).

Edited: 11:34 pm, February 26, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
posts: 811
reviews: 53
4. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Is that Virgin hot meal between Perth and East coast for all fare types?

Melbourne
posts: 1,407
reviews: 7
5. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

msmegmog - yes it is, you'll get the meal whether you're on the cheapest economy ticket or in business class (obviously what you get in economy is different to what you get in business).

Virgin food info is here:

virginaustralia.com/au/…economy

Qantas food info is here:

qantas.com.au/travel/…domestic-economy

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 811
reviews: 53
6. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Given it's a 4 hour plus flight it's nice they offer it.

From the USbusinesstraveller's post above it seems you can't get a free hot meal in economy on domestic carriers anymore (other than Delta's Alaska/Hawaii flights)...

What about some of the other larger countries out there with long flights ie. China, Russia, Canada? Has anyone flown (and eaten) on them?

Edited: 11:54 pm, February 26, 2013
Hong Kong, China
posts: 2,226
reviews: 126
7. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

Not sure if it was ever different, but full-service Japanese carriers only serve drinks on domestic flights, even on long ones.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,765
reviews: 5
8. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

>> What about some of the other larger countries out there with long flights ie. China, Russia, Canada? Has anyone flown (and eaten) on them? <<

Good point.

China : I've had free hot meals on Air China domestic between Hangzhou and PEK, and hot breakfast on HKG-PEK.

India : Jet Airways serves a hot meal (although it's basically a couple of samosas) on domestic. My experience was DEL-BLR.

Thailand : last time I flew Thai Airways domestic (Dec. 2010), BKK-CNX and back, we were served a free cold meal.

Canada domestic : Air Canada is buy on board.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,765
reviews: 5
9. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

^^^^ I should perhaps clarify my comment regarding India and Jet.

The free meal service is only available on flights operated by the full service Jet Airways (9W).

On flights operated by its low cost sister carrier JetKonnect/JetLite (S2) it's buy on board everything, including drinks. And the (purchased) coffee is served as a cup of hot water and a sachet of Nescafé.

So, if you want the meal (and it's very convenient for evening flights where you don't get to your hotel until 11pm) make sure you're on a 9W **operated** flight and not a codeshare on S2.

New Delhi, India
posts: 938
reviews: 23
10. Re: Which airlines still serve "free" meals domestically?

In India, 9W and AI serve a free meal. Sadly the demise of KF has reduced the legacy airline options here. On a seperate topic, luggage (20kg) is free on all airlines in India