I saw this story a couple days ago, but Gray beat me to it and sums up my thoughts nicely–and with a good dose of humor.
On Wednesday, United announced a new dining option for economy class passengers on Premium Service flights between San Francisco/Los Angeles and New York Kennedy. Competition remains fierce on these routes and UA is upping the ante by offering two new BOB choices that sound refreshingly tasty:
A quiche entree, a fresh fruit plate, a cheese plate with dried fruit, a croissant with jam, salmon over cucumber dill salad and sparkling wine. The second includes a tomato and mozzarella sandwich entree, shrimp cocktail, a cheese plate with dried fruit, Israeli couscous salad, Ghirardelli chocolate and sparkling wine.
But these meals come with a steep price tag: $24.99 each. They also must be ordered at least three days prior to departure. Recall that UA tried out a "premium" BOB menu on select p.s. flights as well as the daily SFO-FRA flight earlier in the year. We never heard how well that test program went, but UA is trying again–at higher prices this time.
I frankly can’t picture economy passengers forking over $25 for an airline meal, even if it is as tasty as it sounds. Additionally, while I understand why UA would require that the meals be ordered 72 hours in advance, that presents a problem–what about irr/ops or if an upgrade clears? The BOB options actually sound better than the fare in business class, but I’d much rather have an "asbestos omelet made from reconstituted egg-mix" served with "pieces of wall insulation stamped in the shapes of croissants" than spend $25 for something marginally more nutritional. Then again, I’m still a student.
We need more details. Other than the press release, UA has been mum about the new BOB options and the dining section of UA’s website has not been updated. Maybe I’ll change my mind after I see a larger picture, but I still doubt that very many will be willing to pay $25 for an airline meal.