A chagrined United Airlines relents and won't charge for meals after all

Jason Cochran

Did you ever think we'd see the day when people would beg for airline food? Yet here we are.

In mid-August, United announced it would start forcing coach passengers on international flights to pay for their meals. Customers went ballistic. First U.S. Airways makes people pay $2 for so much as water, and then United deigned to lock people up in a steel tube for eight hours without providing free grub. United rebuffed the complaints saying the changes were "necessary."

The new "test" charge was supposed to begin on many transatlantic flights as of Oct. 1. But after fierce feedback from would-be customers that the airline politely described as "candid" but were actually downright scalding, United announced Tuesday that it would not, after all, charge customers to eat on long-haul flights. Some passengers who protested the new fee, many of whom travel for work, were e-mailed a capitulation today ("We heard you," it reads, "and have decided not to move forward," before prattling on about its business class amenities).