United Airlines to offer ‘free’ snacks

United Airlines to offer ‘free’ snacksUnited Airlines Inc. will restart offering free snacks to passengers aboard flights within North America and Latin America starting February 2016, the Chicago-based airline announced on Wednesday.

In a statement released yesterday, the airline the airline said that passengers aboard flights departing before 9.45 a. m. will get a "stroopwafel," a kind of Dutch, caramel-filled waffle. After 9.45 a. m., passengers will receive savory snacks like rice crackers, soy nuts, sesame sticks and mini pretzel sticks.

Jimmy Samartzis, vice president of food services at the airline, said, "We're refocusing on the big and little things that we know matter to our customer." Spokeswoman Karen May said food was a "very important part" of the customer experience.

Those breakfast snacks are among the free munchies that the airline will offer to economy fliers. Christopher Elliott, who authored a book about how to avoid shady deals titled "Scammed," welcomed the announcement but argued with the use of the word free. He said the cost of 'free' snacks would be included in the price of fare.

United Airlines hasn't served free snacks to passengers since the year of 2008. Continental Airlines used to offer snacks, but it stopped the service shortly after its merger with United Airlines in 2010.