Alaska Airlines Is Eliminating Snack Boxes In Premium Class

Over the past few years we’ve seen US airlines pretty consistently introduce an extra legroom economy section. This is due to a couple of factors:

  • Economy seats are shrinking, creating demand for seats with a bit more room
  • We’ve seen elite upgrades become tougher to get, meaning that an extra legroom economy seat is a “bone” that an airline can throw to elite flyers

In late 2015, Alaska Airlines first announced Premium Class, which is the name of their new extra legroom economy section. This section features 3-4″ of extra legroom and additional amenities.

Up until recently Premium Class passengers received free alcoholic drinks as well as a snack box. The snack box was pretty basic, and just contained a few packaged snacks, and not anything fresh.

That’s not anything to get too excited about, though it looks like even that has been reduced. As of this week, Alaska Airlines is no longer offering snack boxes in Premium Class. Instead passengers will be given the option of two packaged snacks. One FlyerTalk member reports being given the option of a fig bar or trail mix.

Alaska Airlines says that their “in-flight research indicated some items were more popular than others, so the snack boxes were removed.” Did they really have to do research to determine that not all snack items are equally popular?

For context, here’s what Alaska’s website used to say about Premium Class:

Here’s what it says now:

As you can see, it doesn’t reference free snacks of any sort. This is no doubt a cost saving measure. If this really came down to the popularity of items then they should have a big snack basket and encourage people to take as many of each snack as they’d like. That would solve the issue of people not eating certain things in the snack basket. The way things are structured right now, passengers are encouraged to take just one thing from the snack basket.

What’s interesting about Alaska is that they have the best buy on board catering in economy of any US airline, in my opinion. You can buy hot meals in economy, and they’re quite tasty. Of course it would be nice if they offered these for free in Premium Class, but I’m of course not surprised that they don’t.

How does this compare to the policies of other airlines when it comes to their extra legroom economy section?

  • American Main Cabin Extra just offers extra legroom, though soon they will introduce complimentary alcoholic drinks in the cabin
  • Delta Comfort+ offers extra legroom as well as complimentary alcoholic drinks and a selection of free snacks (you can typically take as many as you’d like)
  • United Economy Plus just offers extra legroom, and doesn’t offer any additional free snacks or drinks

I guess as of now in terms of amenities Delta still ranks first, then Alaska, then American, and then United.

It’s a disappointing move on Alaska’s part nonetheless.

Comments

  1. Looks like we have another airline to avoid, Ben. I miss Virgin America so much. Looks like I’ll have to stick with Jetblue and Potter.

  2. So they’re keeping “hand-selected wine.”

    What, specifically, is “hand-selected wine?”

  3. I have a stack of these snack boxes in my cupboard at home. I fly AS almost every week – this is not a significant downgrade IMO.

  4. I’m really excited about the “hand-selected” wine and beer. Why must every noun be modified?

    Furthermore, hands don’t actually ‘select’ wine or beer. They’d be selected by a palate. Unless you’re legally blind you don’t typically select drinks with our hands.

    No word at press time on whether the cocktails are ‘handcrafted’…

  5. Flew Premium from Seattle to Maui yesterday and received threee different snacks – fig bar, cookie, and nuts, which seemed about the same as the snack box I got 4 months ago.

    Also – pre-arrival mai tai service has been cut. Cabin crew said it stopped last week. Although those premixed drinks are terrible, I was sad to see the service cut.

  6. I barely touch any items inside snack boxes because most of them are pretty unhealthy and not that appetizing to begin with.
    Personally I couldn’t care less about the elimination of snack boxes.
    I normally don’t eat anything outside my regular meal windows at home or at the office, so I don’t care if I cannot snack on unhealthy items in an airplane.

  7. I got a choice of a fig bar or snack mix from Seattle to Baltimore yesterday. I noticed almost everyone in my row put down the snack mix after just a few nuts. It wasn’t good.

  8. “I guess as of now in terms of amenities Delta still ranks first, then Alaska, then American, and then United.”

    DL’s version is so completely different from UA’s you’re definitely comparing apples to oranges here. UA’s version is open to Gold elites while DL’s gold’s have to wait till 72hr mark. DL also lists C+ as a distinct column on cash and mile price quotes.

    And that’s before we get into the drastically different cabin sizes – e.g. DL has 40 C+ on their 333 while UA has 88 E+ on their 789

    and now that DL as decided to reward long-haul Premium Econ pax with domestic First, the choices many DL Golds and Plats face will be “accept a middle-seat as an *upgrade*”, or slump it in the back

  9. Lucky, your statement: *in terms of amenities* [emphasis added] Delta still ranks first — seems accurate to me. But not all DL flights are equal. According to Delta:

    You can snack better with Delta Comfort+. Enjoy fresh fruit and other premium snacks on many routes over 900 miles when meal service is not available. Plus, on flights over 350 miles, Starbucks® coffee, beer, wine and spirits for 21+.

    So on flights <900 miles, you might not see the snack basket in Comfort+.

  10. I really want to say “about time.”

    I am (very *very* mildly) irritated about 1 thing with upgrading while flying Alaska: their meals for purchase almost always sound better than the free meal, but I feel terribly wasteful to purchase these T_T.

    I know, it sounds like a jackass’ first world (first class?) problem. But I would rather save a few dollars and use it to purchase those goodies instead. They are good!

  11. “Although those premixed drinks are terrible, I was sad to see the service cut.”

    Isn’t there a comedy bit along these lines? “Oh, the food is awful, and such small portions…”

    Yes, if they are moving to a snack basket that includes the same pretty-good fig bar, almonds, and chocolate, and basically saving on the box and wrapping (ie trash), that’s not even a service cut IMHO.

    I agree with magice too – the BoB food is frequently better than the F food, especially West Coast and mid continent flights. Sometimes you just want a fruit and cheese or vegan snack pak box.

  12. @Magice
    I agree Alaska coach for sale products are almost always better offerings in quality and taste then their First Class offerings
    I spoke to Cistomer Care who didn’t have much interest in my thoughts
    Having said that Alaska has been sending emails about material improvements to First Class dining and catering fingers crossed
    Hopefully it would get me to buy more First Class tickets
    I prefer to support Alaska as opposed to the other more hostile carriers but Alaska truly up to now doesn’t understand premium cabin customers and what quality food and beverage are
    Their wonderful flight crews struggle to please their passengers none the less with what little Alaska provides them to work with
    My last flight included no salad dressing for the salad and pathetic sad food that would make fast food seem highly desirable
    We purchased food from coach and it was decent enough on our near 6 hour flight

  13. The snack box was lousy. The chocolate square was good but, overall, not as good as Southwest Airlines bag of chips.

    Recently, I had a choice. Exit row seat or premium class. I chose exit row seating.

    Too bad Alaska doesn’t just give Premium Class passengers a bag of chips and a soft drink.

    In regular economy, I do know that Alaska comes with the drink cart 2 or even 3 times on a transcon, which is nice.

  14. It is unfortunate that AS seems to believe “BS baffles brains” with their latest ‘improvements’. Sad to see it going the way of the other US 3.

    Devaluation sooner than later? It would fit the pattern for sure.

  15. So, the little airline that thinks they invented First Class,
    takes away the Premium snack box, but still shows a photo of a fruit and cheese item.
    Anyone know if they are still parking their metal at two different SFO terminals?

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