Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Breath of Fresh Air

Just when you thought air travel had become a commodity, along comes Midwest Airlines. Actually, Midwest has been around since 1984 but it has gradually expanded its unique service. The Milwaukee- and Kansas City-based airline makes standard amenities found only in business class on most airlines. “Signature” service features 2-by-2 leather seating aboard Boeing 717s, ample leg room, chocolate chip cookies baked on board and “gourmet”—at least for an airline—meals available for purchase. The food reportedly compares favorably to other airlines’ first class meals, though this correspondent has not had the opportunity to sample first class fare in recent years. For breakfast, try scrambled eggs with Asiago cheese, roasted peppers, grilled sausage gravy, and fresh chives next to hash browns, fruit and yogurt. For dinner, you can sample, grilled beef antichuco, Asian noodles with toasted coconut and chilis, or grilled marinated portobello. The menu is designed by Shawn Monroe, executive chest at Milwaukee’s Mader’s restaurant. The menus are available here.

While most airlines provide a “pitch” or distance between seats of 30,” Signature service offers 33-34” with a width of 21” compared to 17-18” on most carriers.

These luxuries are not without a price, however. The airline is often slightly more expensive than competing carriers—though your company’s accounting office may not notice. In addition, travelers usually have to fly through Milwaukee or Kansas City, and when flying coast-to-coast, as on a recent trip to San Francisco, travelers may endure “saver” fare coach service on one leg of the trip. The “saver” service is more like the coach seating found in most airlines, though with the addition Midwest’s warm chocolate chip cookies. No word on whether the cookies are alkali-free or whether they taste good with one’s morning coffee.


Blogger Ben said...

Thanks for the post. I don't think we've had any discussion of Midwest on here.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Does Midwest still fly into Boston? It was here as of last December, as a plane made breaking news one night when its landing gear wouldn't come down. All was fine in the end, however.

Chocolate chip cookies BAKED ON BOARD?? More carriers should do that!

7:57 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Yes, they should; it's a simple and cheap 'extra' that customers appreciate and return to. Delta's mojitos are similar; I wonder if they'll keep serving them now that summer is winding down.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

It's funny that Patrick titled his post "a breath of fresh air", but didn't mention one of the features of Midwest's Boeing 717 service. The plane was introduced to airliners 7 years ago as the first commercial jet designed to circulate 100% fresh air throughout the cabin - no more recirculated air, and fears of circulating airborne pathogens, on this airline's flights.

9:38 PM  

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