Delta Is Bringing Back Free Meals in Coach

It’s been more than a decade since free coach meals were the industry standard. For its part, Delta stopped its service in 2003. But that’s about to change.

After a months’-long trial, widely reported, Delta will again begin serving complimentary coach-class meals, beginning on March 1, on its flights between New York and both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then, on April 24, the service will be expanded to include select coast-to-coast flights to and from Seattle, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. In all, the free meals will be served on flights in 12 long-haul markets.

Depending on the time of day, coach passengers will be able to choose from several available options. For breakfast: a honey maple breakfast sandwich or a Luvo Breakfast Medley or a fruit-and-cheese plate. For lunch: a smoked-turkey combo or a Mediterranean veggie wrap or a fruit-and-cheese plate. And for overnight flights: a choice of items from a “breakfast bar” during the pre-arrival beverage service.

There’s an upgrade for Comfort+ customers as well. On the same routes, they’ll enjoy a new pre-arrival snack basket and free alcoholic drinks. And on the New York-Los Angeles/San Francisco flights, they will be served from a Greek frozen yogurt bar.

After years of enduring dwindling personal space and disappearing onboard amenities, the restoration of free meals is the best thing that’s happened to coach flyers in recent memory. Sure, it’s only on 12 transcon routes. But that’s a start. Other airlines might match Delta’s initiative. More routes could be added. It could become a thing, again.

Travelers on a budget can only hope.

Reader Reality Check

Do you care about free coach meals, or have you resigned yourself to bringing your own or paying for the airline’s offering?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.