Let’s give United Airlines a little credit — the carrier has improved the quality of meal service in domestic premium cabins over the last year and has now announced another series of improvements that represent, if nothing else, a new reality in the race to win over discretionary travelers in this era of airline profitability.
United Airlines Improves Domestic Meal Service
Here is what is coming up:
- Offer a variety of new premium-cabin selections, including a salad with grilled salmon for lunch, on flights in other North America markets; and
- Introduce new fresh selections in United Economy, including a bistro bowl with braised beef, vegetables and steamed rice on the airline’s Choice Menu Bistro on Board for United Economy customers on flights departing North America.
Better Meals on United p.s. Flights
Premium Service (p.s.) moves from New York Kennedy (JFK) to Newark (EWR) on 10/25 and lunch and dinner is will see new menu options:
- New Appetizers
- roasted duck with stone-ground mustard and fig
- peppered goat cheese with pumpernickel bread
- New Salad
- butternut squash with haricots verts, pumpkin seeds, bleu cheese, cranberries and pickled onions or granny smith apple with shaved fennel and beets
- New Entrees
- flat-iron steak with grilled broccolini, gigande beans and red chimichurri
- duck confit ravioli, mushroom ragout, semi-dried tomatoes and sauteed asparagus
- lamb shoulder with sauteed gnocchi, eggplant confit and lamb jus.
- Sundaes and pre-arrival cookies will remain
These new meal choices sounds very good and a nice improvement over what is currently offered.
Meals on Shorter United Airlines Domestic Flights and Redeyes
The one incredible downside to what were otherwise positive enhancements to United’s meal service earlier this year was the elimination of plated snacks on flights departing in the afternoon hours that were under 4 hours. Redeyes also lost the snack plate. Those will return along with new dinner options.
New dinner options on shorter flights:
- Spanish paella
- mushroom risotto
- seafood cioppino
Meals will return to:
- Lunch flights longer than three hours, departing between 1:30 and 3:59 p.m., which will offer options that include seasonal entree salads like a Napa salad with grilled salmon, goat cheese and fig and an arugula salad with Milanese-style chicken
- Late-night flights between Hawaii and Houston, Chicago, New York/Newark and Washington, which will offer full dinner service with new entrees, such as hoisin short ribs with wasabi grits and stir-fried vegetables
- Late-night non-p.s. transcontinental flights and service between Hawaii and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, as well as other late-departing flights of at least five hours and 20 minutes, will offer hearty sandwiches after takeoff, such as a pretzel burger with bleu cheese dressing, arugula and pickled onions, followed by warmed pastries before arrival
It is true that on transcon redeyes most people just sleep, but having a meal available is a nice thing, even if it is a carb bomb (hamburger after takeoff, pasty before landing!). These changes, both in menus and expanded meal hours, will also affect United Express flights.
Even an Improvement to Economy Class Meal Service
Even economy class will see new menu options that sound actually worth buying:
- Southwestern bistro scramble for breakfast
- rustic Italian sandwich for lunch/dinner
- French country-style bowl with slow-cooked beef, roasted carrots, onions, parsnips and steamed white rice for lunch/dinner
The Southwestern scramble is already on the menu, but the French dinner sounds pretty good.
Another round of positive improvements to United’s meal service — the new food sounds tasty.