More Airlines Jump on the Free Snacks Bandwagon

As we reported earlier, United is bringing back free cookies and crunchies in economy class. Apparently, other airlines have noticed and are upping their snack game, too.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney? Also a snack expert.

Where to Find Free Snacks in Economy

This little perk used to be commonplace in the cramped confines of coach and while it’s nice snacks are making a comeback, don’t expect these little bags of fun to substitute for lunch. Keep bringing your own (or pay for it on the plane if you’re feeling rich).

  • United: As of this month, economy passengers get either a Stroopwafel (caramel cookie) or a bag of ‘savory snack mix’. Hey, it’s free.
  • American: In February, economy passengers on transcontinental flights get free Biscoff cookies or bags of mini pretzels; everyone else will be able to chow down starting in April.
  • Delta: This airline never stopped offering free snacks and continues to provide pretzels, peanuts and Biscoff cookies.

Airline Snack Hall of Fame

We have zero statistics to back this up, beyond comments from travelers.

  • Southwest: They don’t give away free bottles of booze like they used to (back in 1973, to entice business travelers) but they never stopped offering free peanuts, pretzels and “complimentary Nabisco selections” (yum). Based on anecdotal evidence [i.e., when your editor flies Southwest], flight attendants are more-than-generous with these little freebies.
  • JetBlue: For sheer variety and tastiness, many place JetBlue atop the snack-heap, thanks to selections like Doritos, chocolate chip mini cookies, popcorn and potato chips – all of which is free.

Why are Airlines Bringing Back Snacks?

Good question. The airlines are making money – a lot of it – and much of this has to do with the low price of oil. But, beyond the usual airfare sales, there have been no big drops in ticket prices. Maybe it’s like the Christian Science Monitor says, that these are “token investments in the passenger experience that will not cost airlines a lot of money.” Granted, it’s not much. But we’ll take it.


Updated: February 4, 2016