Free Snacks While Flying Exist Again!

Remember when air travel was full of bells and whistles for everyone? The free perks abounded — but those days are sadly behind us, with almost no legroom, luggage storage, or refreshments in site for those in economy class. But although the legroom and the storage situation may not be changing, the snack situation is: United Airlines is bringing back free snacks to economy class. The company announced in a press release on Wednesday that they will be restoring the once-common perk of supplying nosh to hungry coach travelers on all flights to North and Latin America starting in February. According to the company, they made this decision in "direct response" to employee and customer feedback. “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,” United VP of Food Services and United Clubs Jimmy Samartzis said in the company's press release.

If you're wondering what kinds of snacks you can expect to see onboard, they will vary according to local takeoff time. Flights that depart prior to 9:45 a.m. will include a morning stroopwafel — a waffle-like pastry stuffed with caramel that's popular in the Netherlands. Stroopwafel are meant to be warmed by being placed directly on top of a hot cup of coffee; they've been designed to fit the cups perfectly, utilizing the warmth and steam from your beverage to heat the snack up. For those with flights departing after 9:45 a.m., you can expect to receive savory packaged treats with either an "Asian or zesty ranch" flavoring, such as wasabi peas and sesame sticks.

It's pretty cool to see United bring back free snacks; over the decades, particularly in recent years, it seems air travel has been stripped down more and more as perks that were once complimentary fall by the wayside. Remember these five gems, for example? Fingers crossed they reemerge soon, too!

1. Free Checked Bags

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In the not-so-distant past, airlines used to allow you to check your bags free of charge. Now that almost every airline charges for checked baggage, we find that the overhead compartments are always filling up, causing even more of a headache during the boarding process. It seems airlines are starting to bring back this perk, though; Southwest offers two checked bags for free, and many airline credit cards offer free checked baggage as a perk.

2. A Complimentary Toiletry Bag

Nowadays, we have to bring our plethora of travel size, three-ounce bottles with us on board airplanes, but back in the '60s, airlines used to give customers free toiletry bags full of everything they'd need for the trip. What a luxury!

3. Free Booze

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Since flying used to be seen as more of an adventure in and of itself, free booze was usually a part of the package deal. Nowadays you'll have to shell out some cash to get your tipple on (or more accurately, break out your plastic, since most flights don't accept cash onboard anymore) — but hey, guess what? Some airlines do still serve free booze! Who knew?

4. Free Meals

Forget snacks — vintage airlines like PanAm used to offer full meal service during flight for all passengers. Now, we're all stuck buyingit from airport kiosks and restaurants.

5. Fine China And Fancy Flight Attendants


In the 1960s, often coined the "Golden Age of Travel," flight attendants used to wear high-society-like outfits (including white gloves!) as they served travelers with fine china and glass dishwear. A far cry from the disposable plates and plastic cutlery of today's world, no?

Images: United/YouTube; Ackerman, Kennard/Flickr