FIRST
Choice is to charge separately for in-flight meals for winter 2004/05 for the
first time.

The
operator, which is introducing Morocco to its Winter Sun 2004/05 brochure,
claims this follows the upgrading of its standard in-flight meal. Customers can
choose between paying £10 per adult or £5 per child for “upgraded” meals on
return flights or pay on board for snacks and refreshments.

First
Choice is also looking to strip out meals for summer 2004. Currently only lates
and flight-only customers are charged for meals as an optional extra. Thomson
was the first of the big four to make the controversial move to strip out meal
prices for this summer, while MyTravel has introduced a similar £10 charge on
short-haul Standard and Sundeal packages for next summer.

Thomas
Cook only charges customers booking economy deals, while standard packages in
brochures include meal prices.

First
Choice product director Tim Williamson said: “It’s not a case of taking the
standard meal out, it is genuinely on the back of an upgraded meal. This gives
customers choice.”

Although
prices have come down by removing in-flight meal charges, this has been
cancelled out in some cases by increased costs within eurozone countries
because of exchange rate fluctuations.

However, as an early booking offer, First Choice will
initially offer the upgraded meals for no extra charge on all first edition
bookings. From the second edition brochure all meals will be charged separately.