With much fanfare, United Airlines announced upgrades to its international economy class meal service last year that included new menu options, better quality entrees and salads, ice cream, and crackers & cheese. In exchange for the enhanced menu, complimentary mid-flight snacks were eliminated. In their place, snack boxes were offered for purchase. Further, breakfast was downgraded on eastbound European flights: a warm croissant with melon was exchanged for a plastic-wrapped, cold croissant. Responding to mostly negative customer feedback, United is rolling back those downgrades.
Complimentary mid-flight snacks and an enhanced breakfast are on the way back—
Bringing back mid-flight snacks
In June 2015, we began offering a more robust, three-course meal and stopped offering a complimentary mid-flight snack to Economy customers on international flights, adding our Choice Menu Snack Shop items in these markets. A year later, on June 1, 2016, we’ll bring back those mid-flight snacks in response to customer feedback. We will offer a small sandwich and candy on flights over 12 hours as well as flights from Europe to and from the U.S. West Coast.
Better snack before arrival
Our Economy customers have told us that they’d like a more robust breakfast offering on overnight flights from the United States to Europe. In response, beginning June 1, 2016, customers on these flights will receive an enhanced snack just prior to landing in Europe that will include a heated croissant with jam and yogurt, rather than simply a pre-packaged croissant.
Considering what Delta and American (not to mention its JV partners) are offering in terms of complimentary mid-flight snack, United really is just catching up.
The packaged croissant for breakfast was really bad…though it probably saved me from eating 400 calories…and the return to warmed croissants and the addition of yogurt (hearkening back to pre-merger United) is a positive step.
These are small changes, but changes in the right direction and I am happy laud United for realizing that two meals on a 15hr+ flight just does not cut it for most people.
Now the unanswered question is whether the main meal service will remain the same or revert back to what it was prior to last year. Will the cheese and crackers go? Will iceberg lettuce salads with mystery meat return? We will find out next month.