A guide to airline meals and snacks

I love travelling, especially flying. I’ve tried so many Airlines in my life, American, United, Delta, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Lufthansa, Austrian, Spirit and Southwest. In fact, I used to work for the Hungarian Airlines, MALEV.

Different airlines have different snack and food selections. My absolutely favourite was peanuts on the Southwest Airlines. It tasted so good. It was different, just lightly salty and yummi. But I’ve just got the sad news: Southwest Airlines is no longer serving peanuts. The last day was July 31. In an announcement made July 10, the company said it was concerned about passenger peanut allergies. Some travelers are treating the little blue bags of salted peanuts as a collectors item. I can understand as I just loved them!

Even if you fly regularly, it can be difficult to keep track of what food might be available in the air these days.

If you’re flying in business or first class (except on very short flights), or on an overseas international flight, you can usually assume there will be a variety of dining choices.

U.S. airlines long ago stopped serving meals in coach on most flights. Many switched to buy-on-board food in a bid to turn food from an expense into a moneymaker.

American Airlines

American Airlines recently began offering free snacks in economy class on all domestic flights (cookies or pretzels), as well as free meals on flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hawaii. Complimentary meals are also offered aboard flights between the U.S. and Europe, Asia and some destinations in Latin America.


Delta offers one complimentary snack (pretzels, peanuts or cookies) on most economy-class flights, as well as a menu of for-purchase items such as Pringles chips, sandwiches, wraps and fruit/cheese plates ($3.49 – $9.99) on U.S., Caribbean and Latin America flights of at least 900 miles. Complimentary meals are available on longer international flights.


United offers complimentary meals in coach on most international flights. In coach class on North American flights over two hours (including flights to the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico), snacks are available for purchase for $3.99 to $8.99. On Northern American flights over 3.5 hours, fliers can purchase more substantive options such as sandwiches and salads ($5.99 – $9.99).

Virgin America

Virgin America charges $3 to $5 for all snacks in economy class, and $4 to $9 for meals such as sandwiches or salads. Most of these items are complimentary in first class or Main Cabin Select (premium economy). Meals are available on all flights over two hours.


Spirit doesn’t serve meals and snacks (muffins, candy, chips, nuts) are offered for $2 – $6.50. Spirit also charges for all drinks, including soft drinks and water ($3). Hot drinks like coffee and tea are $2.

I always carry my favourite snacks, like protein bars, nuts, organic pretzels with me, just in case.

Grab a snack and enjoy your flight!

Marianna Jackson / Las Vegas, NV