I’ll take to the air again on Monday to see for myself, but was dismayed to read on FT today that UA is revising its landing procedures.
Right now, usually around 20-30 minutes prior to landing, a double chime will go off in the cabin, indicating that passengers should begin to power down their electronic devices, visit the lavatory one last time if necessary, and store their carry-on baggage. Service continues until the cockpit announcement, "Flight attendants, prepare for landing." It is at that time, usually about ten minutes before landing, that remaining service items are collected, the video presentation is stopped, and passengers are instructed to place their seatbacks and tray tables in a locked and upright position.
The new policy, at least according to one former FA, is that the double chime will now mark the end of in-flight service. The "flight attendants, prepare for landing" announcement will still be made, but it will now signify when FA’s should take their jump seats.
I have two observations:
1. Why not leave well enough alone? The system has worked great for the many, many years I have flown on United.
2. Will the double chime now come later in the flight? Service already ends too early on many flights and I would hate to see this new procedure give FAs an opportunity to wrap up service even earlier so they can sit and chat for an additional 20 minutes. I don’t like my beverage glass being collected a half hour before landing.
I have two United flights on Monday, so I’ll report back whether any new policy is in place. Hopefully, this policy change is just a Flyertalk rumor that will not materialize.