Skift Take

We'll be excited about two things: 1) if American Airlines rolls this out across the U.S., and 2) We never have to take advantage of it because our flights are never delayed.

American Airlines Group Inc. wants to see if offering free snacks and drinks will calm the jangled nerves of travelers whose flights are delayed, the latest move by a U.S. carrier to improve customer service.

The Gateside Amenities plan is being tested in gate areas at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for some delays. It will be expanded to Los Angeles International Airport later this month, the airline said in a weekly employee newsletter released Thursday evening. If successful, the program will be implemented across American’s routes later this year.

U.S. carriers are spending more on customer-friendly services after reporting record profits, helped by a drop in jet-fuel prices. The programs follow the addition over the last several years of fees that irked some passengers for services such as in-flight food, checked bags and preferred seating.

Gateside Amenities will provide snacks and drinks when weather or operational issues delay a flight for two hours or more. Complimentary sandwiches will be offered if the lag extends to three hours. Serving the goodies in the gate area allows customers to keep track of updates for their flights, the airline said. The program doesn’t include aircraft delayed on the tarmac.

American and United Continental Holdings Inc. resumed free snacks for economy passengers for some flights on Feb. 1, after more than a decade without them.

This article was written by Mary Schlangenstein from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Photo credit: Coach class seating on American. American Airilnes

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