Close watchers of the airline industry might have seen it, but some folks no doubt missed Paul Nyhan's story in Saturday's edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that reported Alaska Airlines' (NYSE:ALK) plans to experiment with $5 meals on some of its flights to Mexico next year. Fliers will no doubt have a range of opinions on the story; investors, meanwhile, will likely simply nod their heads in understanding.

That's because airlines are increasingly looking for ways to save money -- from selective routing a la Southwest (NYSE:LUV) and JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), to the no-frills-and-then-some service of Ryanair (NASDAQ:RYAAY), to mergers like that of Air France and KLM (NYSE:AKH) as alternatives to pulling a US Airways, United, or ATA and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Delta (NYSE:DAL), which already sells meals on longer flights, is just one company that's battled back of late.

I happen to enjoy flights on Alaska, which I've found to be a customer-friendly airline with good service and competitive prices on appealing flights. Personally, meanwhile, I have to think that airlines have generally been slow to scale back meal service -- especially since it's difficult to believe that most folks on anything but long flights look forward to much more than a ginger ale or apple juice, two things many grown-ups won't bother drinking anywhere else.

As a flier, however, I suspect that a move like this would be pretty tough to swallow. Airports, especially those that get revamped, are gradually becoming better places to shop and eat; Alaska would have to put together a pretty strong offering, even at $5, for me to bother taking a chance on it at all. Indeed, the company apparently plans "hearty sandwiches," which sounds a lot more appetizing than "chickenorfish."

And I can hear the stand-up comics lining up to take first crack at this move even now. Heck, the marketing to convince me that it's worth a try might not be worth the money spent. Still, you can't fault 'em for trying. Any old airport, you might say, in a storm.

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this article.