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How Big Airlines Are Trying to Win You Back

American Airlines

For the past several years, our Newark Airport parking company has seen the rise in budget airline popularity. While companies like Frontier and Spirit may have started off with a bad reputation, they’ve taken steps to make their airlines a top choice for many travel lovers. Now, major airlines are starting to notice the business they’re losing to budget airlines and have taken a few steps to win customers back (as Lifehacker has pointed out).

Free Snacks

For years, major airlines offered all of their passengers (regardless of what class) free snacks. But after awhile, they realized they could cut make more of a profit if they charged for them. Now, many are deciding to bring them back as a way to entice more passengers. Airlines like United and American Airlines are now offering things like Asian-style snack mix, caramel-filled waffle cookies, pretzels, and Biscoff cookies.

In addition, American Airlines will be offering free snacks and drinks to passengers who get stuck at the gate because their flights are delayed two or more hours.

Better Coffee

Have you ever had a good coffee on an airplane? Many airlines partner with obscure coffee companies (with the exception of JetBlue and Dunkin Donuts), which tends to leave their passengers wanting more. That will all change, however. United will be getting rid of their long-lasting Fresh Brew contract and introducing coffee from Italian premium brand Illy.

More Competitive Prices

For the past few years, budget airlines have offered many of the same flights as major airlines, but for much cheaper. This year, Delta, Southwest, United, and American Airlines are taking advantage of the profits they have been making (due to lower fuel prices) and are continuing to decrease their flight prices.

Entertainment Options

Today, many major airline planes still don’t have seatback TVs, so passengers are stuck providing their own entertainment. In the ones that do, many only offer access to movies or television shows after a payment. That seems to be changing, however. Several airlines are expanding their entertainment options and some are even offering free wi-fi.

More Rewards Flexibility

If you’re part of a frequent flyer rewards program, you’re in for some good news. This year, American Airlines is switching from a “miles traveled” to “dollars spent” system, so if you tend to buy drinks, snacks, or entertainment, the rewards program will be in your favor. While United already does this, it plans to let customers pay for wi-fi using their rewards miles; Delta plans to let customers redeem their rewards miles for drinks.

So what do you think – are these perks enough to make you choose a major carrier over a budget one? If not, what would make you change your mind?