CHICAGO – Adios, rubber chicken. Sayonara, salisbury steak.
American Airlines, the world's largest airline, and TWA, both owned by Dallas-based AMR Corp, added yet another casualty in the ailing U.S. airline industry on Thursday: that wonderful airline food.
Both carriers said by Nov. 1 they will stop serving meals in the main cabin on most domestic flights, in an effort to cut costs as the U.S. airline industry loses millions of dollars a day in the wake of last week's airplane attacks.
The two airlines will also chuck the chow in first-class on domestic flights of two hours or less.
The airlines said elimination of meals includes flights to Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and two-class services to Central and South America.
American, which on Wednesday said it would cut at least 20,000 jobs to stave off slowing air traffic, will still provide meals in all classes of its domestic nonstop transcontinental flights and its international flights to Europe, Asia and South America. All flights will still have beverages, along with a ``beverage accompaniment,'' presumably peanuts or pretzels.
``We remain steadfast in our commitment to provide the public with the best travel experience in the industry,'' said Michael Gunn, executive vice president of marketing and planning. ``But we simply cannot ignore the new operating realities that have risen from last week's tragic events.''
Prior to the crash of hijacked planes last week, airlines throughout the country had already cut back on amenities like special children's meals and hot towels.
The move to stop serving food comes as the industry seeks $17.5 billion from the federal government to keep it aloft amid deep drops in air travel demand.
While he would not quantify the benefit to AMR, ``it's safe to say substantial savings,'' said spokesman Todd Burke.