Earlier this week, Midwestern favorite Frontier Airlines announced the discontinuation of their complimentary fresh-baked cookies. The cookies will be served until inventory runs out (around mid-May), and afterward, only Goldfish or animal crackers will be available for purchase in Economy Class.
This is hardly surprising news; airlines have been phasing out complimentary snacks in economy domestic flights for years. American Airlines started phasing out free food in 2004; Continental made the jump in 2010.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in between 10 of the largest U.S. airlines, food expense per passenger has decreased $0.86 over the past 10 years. That's a total of $1,105,541,290 saved just between those 10 airlines (which include American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, etc).
Of course, there are still a select few airlines that do offer complimentary peanuts or snacks. Of the top 10 performing airlines in 2011, five of them still have some tasty free snacks.
AirTran, which ranked number one in 2011 performances, offers Biscoff cookies in the morning, pretzels at night, and animal crackers for kids upon request.
Hawaiian Airlines offers full meals for their continental U.S. flights, including breakfast wraps, pasta, and sandwiches. Of course, any flight to or from Hawaii will be long enough to necessitate a meal, so this doesn't really count.
JetBlue, however, famously offers their blue chips, as well as cookies, nut mixes, and animal crackers.
Both Delta and Southwest offer peanuts and pretzels; Delta gives out Biscoff cookies while longer Southwest flights offer chips, pita chips, Lorna Doone cookies, and kettle mix.
Virgin, which is not on the top 10 list, does offer a choice of popcorn, chips, nuts, Chex Mix, or cookies.
Of the top 10 performing airlines in the states, Frontier, Alaska, US Airways, American, and SkyWest all do not offer complimentary food. SkyWest, however, does occasionally have some complimentary wine or microbrews, so they get points for that.