On US Airways flights, blankets and pillows are still in -- but pretzels are out.
The Arlington-based carrier told employees in an internal memo yesterday that passengers in coach will no longer get free bags of pretzels. It's the latest turn in the long-running saga of airlines taking back once-standard amenities from passengers: hot meals, paper tickets, pretzels.
US Airways Group Inc. executives said the move will save the airline about $1 million a year.
Pretzels will vanish from all of US Airways' New York and Boston shuttle flights, but passengers will still receive free doughnuts on early morning departures. Free pretzels will remain on transatlantic flights.
Amy Kudwa, a US Airways spokeswoman, said the airline decided to end the pretzel giveaway after meeting with the carrier's focus groups.
US Airways, which has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since September, plans to resume serving hot meals next month to passengers in its first-class cabins. On its transcontinental flights, flight attendants sell single items such as Kit Kat bars, Pringles, beef jerky and power bars for $3. US Airways also offers a cafe service on domestic flights two hours or longer, with sandwiches for $7 and snacks for $5.
The pretzel question may arise again once US Airways completes its planned merger with America West Holdings Corp. later this year. America West, which still offers free pretzels and peanuts to its customers, said it has not made a decision about whether to adhere to US Airways' new pretzel policy after the merger.
"When the merger concludes that will be another thing among many details we'll have to look at," said Carlo Bertolini, an America West spokesman.