I was dismayed to read about Lucky’s dismal meal last week from Tokyo to Seoul last in United’s three-cabin international first.
United has worked hard the last few years to upgrade the premium cabins on all its international 767 and 747 aircraft. The new lie-flat seats in business class and "suites" in first class are among the best in the business.
Yet the hard product isn’t everything and UA’s meal service in Asia continues to dissapoint. Consider the following:
Lucky’s NRT-ICN meal in three-cabin first departing at 6pm with a flight time of 2hrs and 50mins (784 miles).
photo courtesy: onemileatatime.net
Hot nuts, a cold turkey and bacon sandwich, and cake. Come on UA! I’m not saying the food doesn’t look good: it looks like a good…appetizer. But not a dinner in international first class. Not even close.
In North America, UA recently upgraded their meal service and now offers a full dinner on all flights longer than 760 miles that fall within the dinner window.
Last week the dinner choices on my 6:40p DEN-SFO flight, a 965 mile flight, were cheese tortellini or steak with wild rice, broccoli, and warm bread. Hot nuts to start and a warm chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
If UA is going to continue to offer three-cabin first on international routes, they need to improve the meal service. Unfortunately, I think that tri-cabin service will slowly be phased out as the CO-UA merger progresses and eventually we will see the end to First Class on United. But until that day, it is imperative that UA make its product competitive if it desires respect among it peers and return business from high revenue customers.