I wound up in economy class on a recent flight from Los Angeles to London on United…by choice…and want to report back on the latest meal service.
Meal service began shortly after takeoff. Rather than start with drinks and pretzels, meals were offered first and the drink cart immediately followed. There were two meal choices: Asian noodles with chicken or cheese ravioli. Both were served with a grain salad (with parsley and white raisins — a nice combo) and a bread roll.
I think you can rarely go wrong with a pasta dish on an airplane, especially in economy class, and I thought the ravioli was very tasty. While I liked the salad, I would have preferred a green salad.
I nodded off to sleep right after dinner and never received the dessert course, which is always an ice cream or sorbet. United also serves a bottle of water with dessert.
Although I slept though it, United offers a mid-flight snack, which I found on my tray table when I woke up the next morning. It was simply a small turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich. On daytime flights in the other direction the snack is usually crackers and cheese.
A full breakfast was offered before landing: eggs or pancakes. I actually really appreciate this breakfast. The omelet with potatoes and sausage is the same omelet business class passengers receive. So is the Chobani yogurt, in this case peach-flavored. Breakfast also included a very tasty, somewhat healthy blueberry Greek yogurt cake as well as sliced pineapples and grapes.
You can see economy class food is economy class food, but two hearty meals plus a snack on a 10 hour flight is not bad at all. In case you are wondering, I did not upgrade because United imposes a W-fare class requirement (or above) in order to use a Global Premier Upgrade. For whatever reason, that ran significantly more on my flight and a cost/benefit analysis made clear I’d rather use the money elsewhere. I ended up sleeping fairly well in EconomyPlus with an open middle seat next to me, so it turned out okay.