American, TWA to end meal service
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Sept. 20, 2001 | FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) --
American Airlines and Trans World Airlines said Thursday they would stop serving meals in the main cabin on most domestic flights by Nov. 1.
The food cutback came one day after the airlines' parent company, Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., said it would lay off at least 20,000 workers, more than 14 percent of its work force.
American and TWA said eliminating meals was a cost-cutting step made necessary by a falloff in travel business since terrorists hijacked and crashed four jetliners last week.
"We simply cannot ignore the new operating realities that have risen from last week's tragic events," said Mike Gunn, American's executive vice president of marketing and planning.
The end of most meal service also should help keep flights on schedule, the airlines said. Among new security measures are tougher inspection of food vendors that have access to planes.
American, the world's largest carrier, said its first-class customers would continue to get meals except on flights under two hours. But coach passengers would get meals only on coast-to-coast flights that have a first-class section, it said.
Meals would also be served on international flights that have first-class, business and coach seating, the airline said. American said it would continue to serve beverages and snacks on all flights.
Airlines are struggling with a loss of business since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and near Washington. The nation's aviation system was grounded for two days, and passenger counts have been light since then.
Major carriers, anticipating a lengthy decline in air travel, have already said they would cut their flight schedules by 20 percent.
In addition, American warned investors that it faces huge potential liabilities stemming from the hijacking of two of its planes, which crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.