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Continental Airlines ends free snack service

March 4, 2011 |  1:05 pm

Continental foodAP  One year after ending complimentary meals on most domestic flights, Continental Airlines has stopped serving free snacks to coach passengers.

The airline, which is merging with United Airlines, said it stopped serving free pretzels and cookies on Tuesday to save money and keep in step with other major network carriers.

The airline estimates that the snacks were costing them about $2.5 million each year. Continental still offers free beverages on all flights and complimentary meals on all transatlantic and transpacific flights.

Continental was the last major airline on the continent to offer free meals on most domestic flights. It ended that service in March of last year.

Many airlines still offer free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, including Southwest, JetBlue, Delta, Alaska and AirTran.

Coach passengers on Continental who get the munchies can still pay for a selection of snacks, including almonds, pretzels, M&Ms and beef jerky.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Food is loaded onto a Continental Airlines plane at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Credit: Associated Press