Taking Bare Bones to a New Level.

I’m not sure this actually qualifies as a complaint. Maybe I’m merely reporting on an inevitable sign of the times and by deploring it, just mark myself as an old fogey.

 OK, so I’m now in St Paul after five hours on an American Airlines red-eye from Maui to Los Angeles, a three-and-a-half-hour layover at LAX, followed by another four hour flight from there to Minneapolis.
While waiting at LAX for my flight to Minneapolis, I kept thinking about the flight from Maui and a comment made by a man sitting in the row behind me as we were descending into Los Angeles. An announcement had just come over the plane’s P.A. system advising us that we were getting ready to land and that flight attendants would be coming through the plane “to collect any unused service items”. That’s what prompted the guy behind me to say in a kind of snarky tone, “And what exactly might those service items be?”
I knew just what he meant: Start to finish, take-off to landing, there were no “service items” on that flight . . . meaning no plastic cups, no water, no paper napkins; no cheap ear buds. There were no service items because there had been no service. I suppose the folks in first class may have gotten something to drink after take-off and maybe coffee and a pastry before landing–but those of us riding in economy got nothing but our transportation.
For years, most of the flights from Hawaii to the mainland were red-eyes, leaving from Honolulu after 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. There was no meal service for economy passengers, but a flight attendant came through the plane a couple of times during the night offering plastic cups of water on a tray. And an hour of so out of L.A. they would provide a mini-breakfast: hot coffee and maybe a muffin. Clearly, those days are long gone.
When we finally came to a stop at the gate in Los Angles Tuesday morning, there was a final announcement over the plane’s P.A. system thanking us for choosing American Airlines. It was pre-recorded.