Stay hungry

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Delta is introducing a new innovation in customer service: starvation. According to the Associated Press, the carrier, displaying the miserly panache of a classic Dickensian villain, is cutting back culinary offerings on shorter flights and on flights scheduled between meal times. In coach, the sandwiches in SkyDeli bags will be replaced with crackers or carrots. In first class, beverages will replace snacks, which is like calling ketchup a vegetable. Spearheading the commission-cutting frenzy back in '95, depriving passengers of sustenance -- one wouldn't think these to be the actions of an airline that logged a net income of $1.8 billion in 1998, up 11% over the previous year.

Northwest worked with Michigan Gov. John Engler to launch a flat-rate program, offering special fares for passengers traveling within the state. This is a capital idea. I mean, if you're in Michigan, and you're going to buy a plane ticket, you're going to want an incentive to stay within state lines and endure that weather, rather than give in the urge to buy a ticket to Barbados.

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