Continental Airlines has discontinued giving out free mini bags of pretzels to economy class passengers in a move to save the company about $2.5 million bucks a year.
Seriously, will anyone really miss those little packets? They actually seemed more like an insult than an amenity as airlines steadily cut back their services. They practically screamed, “We're being cheap with you, and there's nothing you can do about it.”
Passengers took them by rote and ate them out of obligation — mechanically and unenthusiastically, like zoo apes treated with an extra stalk of celery.
At a mere 50 calories, it's not like the pretzels satisfied you if you were hungry, and it's not like they tasted great, so they weren't a treat like, say, a chocolate left on your hotel pillow. Very much like the airline experience overall, they were bland and workmanlike, frustrating more often than pleasing, but infinitely less annoying than the sardine can seating, the mysterious delays and sudden cancellations, the inscrutable connections and the ever expanding list of fees and surcharges.
In fact, it's probably as close to addition by subtraction as this troubled industry can get…