updated 9/2/2008 1:46:16 PM ET 2008-09-02T17:46:16

United Airlines travelers across the Atlantic can leave their money in their pockets when the food cart comes down the aisle.

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The nation's second-largest carrier on Tuesday backed off a plan to begin charging for coach-class meals on its flights to Europe after hearing criticism from customers. The carrier's letter to customers on Tuesday began "Thank you for your direct, candid feedback."

"We heard loud and clear from our corporate and our Elite frequent fliers that they value our hot meal service," United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.

Although many carriers have stopped serving free food on coach domestic flights, customers on long-haul flights have been able to count on being fed.

The letter said that with fuel prices so volatile, United would "continue to be proactive in testing new ideas."

United said that on Oct. 1, it will still begin serving cold sandwiches or snack boxes instead of hot meals to business-class customers on about 16 domestic flights a day. United said it would "evaluate the results and determine next steps by the end of the year."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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