What Would You Care for on Your Flight?

Physician's Money Digest, January15 2004, Volume 11, Issue 1

In a recent survey conducted byHideaways International (603-430-4433x175; www.hideaways.com), sophisticatedtravelers were asked how much servicethey want when traveling by air. Of thenearly 100 respondents, 36% want adrink, a meal, and a movie; 26% are happywith just the essentials (ie, peanuts andmaybe a drink); and 26% want nothingbut low airfare. Only 12% want it all, fromInternet access to pay-per-view movies.

"The results are a testament to the ideathat everything old is new again," saysMike Thiel, president of Hideaways. "Themajority of airline passengers want the oldstand-bys, like dinner and a movie."

But airlines seem to be offering toomuch. Delta Airlines recently announced itwill test the sale of meals and snacks tocoach passengers later this month onselect roundtrip flights. According toSharon Wibben, Delta's in-flight servicesenior vice president, they are "testingcustomers' willingness to buy reasonablypriced, restaurant-quality food."

Prices will range from $1 to $10 andDelta will accept cash and credit cards forthe purchases. Song, Delta's new low-costcarrier, plans to introduce video screens onwhich passengers can create a playlist ofMP3 music, watch pay-per-view moviesand live satellite television, or play interactivevideo games with other passengers.

"So now we're paying extra for asnack and a movie, but we can play videogames with other passengers for free,"Thiel comments. "If you look at our surveyresults, this seems to be exactly whatthe majority of sophisticated travelersare not looking for."