Once upon a time, passenger air travel commanded people's wonder. In that era, crossing the oceans or the country in hours instead of days seemed nothing short of fantastic. The Disney film The Aviator hints at some of the glamour of commercial aviation's earliest days. As technology progressed further and jet planes became common, it probably seemed like it wouldn't be long before people had their own rocket ships. Zowie!

While that didn't happen, a plane trip remained a big deal for a long time. People would even put on a coat and tie for the sole reason that they were getting on a plane. Air fares were expensive, so for many people, plane travel was a rare treat.

Anyone who has flown lately can see that things have changed substantially. Air travel is common, fares in coach are relatively cheap, and many, if not most, people don't even like to fly. Passengers are primarily interested in getting to their destination in the cheapest way possible and have little to no interest in the flying experience itself.

That's why Delta Air Lines' (NYSE:DAL) recent decision to drop its food-for-sale program makes perfect sense. Sure, people want a flight to be pleasant. But it's a stretch to believe that a lot of people will purchase food in hopes of making a flight on a crowded airplane more pleasurable. To soften the blow, Delta is offering free snacks instead. That will bring its service in line with Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), which recently bragged about its free in-flight snack and beverage service.

Let's face it, neither company's snacks are going to bring in customers. Price, not amenities like food, free or otherwise, will continue to be the overwhelming factor when it comes to ticket-buying decisions. In fact, when people fly, more often than not, they just want to be numb. Perhaps that makes Delta's other recent decision -- a hike in drink prices -- another good move.

Want to read more about the issue of free food (or lack thereof) on airlines? Try "Would You Pay for Airline Food?"

Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.