On A Wing and Some Air

United trying to raise the bar in Economy?

United trying to raise the bar in Economy?

united 787 2

Recently, United announced that it was going to try and improve service on their international flights in the Economy class section. This might sound like a huge undertaking but over the past few years United has reduced service in Economy to what seemed like bare bones.

I reached out to a few friends who had recently taken United for their long haul international travels and see if there were things that stood out to them that should be changed. One friend had flown with his partner from San Francisco to Israel for holiday and when I asked him about the journey, he said, “Never on United, again…ever.” While he wouldn’t give me exact details, he said the food and service were way below what was expected. He went on to tell me that the reason for choosing them was that they were the cheapest and assumed that all of the big 3 US carriers would most likely be the same. That was however not the case, and that while they were the cheapest choice, “you really do get what you pay for.”

Flash forward a few months and now United I guess has finally heard the complaints, as United is now pushing information out in a press release that they will be changing their inflight service on long haul and transoceanic service (Check here for differences: Transpacific, Transatlantic, and deep Latin America- NOT Canada, Central America, & Mexico, Sorry guys!). While we were excited at a change in any increase of service at any capacity, we were more than excited to see that it’s going to mean an actually 3 tier service.

Here’s the breakdown of what we’re being told to expect:

  • Drink service with a snackatizer, expect cheese spread and crackers.
    • Trash collection
  • Salad and main course and side/bread
    • Trash collection
  • After dinner dessert
    • Trash collection

While we aren’t expecting china and fancy cutlery this is a huge change from the one walkthrough followed by a trash pickup. From what we’re being told there will be a few trash pickups between each one which should help save some space on that tray table.

From the United’s Website we found the following effective April 15th of 2015:


New Multi-Course Meal Service

United will expand the primary complimentary economy meal to a hearty three-course service, beginning with a beverage and snack of cheese and crackers, baked whole-grain bruschetta chips or Kiri cheese spread and crackers, followed by a generous main course served with refreshed salads and artisan bread.

Main-course meals will include new dishes designed by United’s team of chefs, including[but not milted to]:

  • Home-style turkey meatloaf in spicy barbecue sauce, served with sweet potato mash, mixed vegetables, an artisan ciabatta roll and amaranth mango salad;
  • Tuscan ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce, served with a petit artisan ciabatta roll and mixed-grain salad; and
  • Udon noodles with stir-fried vegetables and ginger soya sauce, served with a petit multi-grain baguette roll and apple wheatberry salad.

For the final course, customers may enjoy a premium dessert, such as gelato, sorbet, ice cream or mousse.


Now, the big surprise here is that United has reversed an earlier decision where they removed free booze from international flights. They will now be offering free beer and wine, but you’ll feel like you’re living in NYC if you want the hard stuff as you’ll still need to shell out $8 for a cocktail, which is still free on most other transoceanic airlines.

Here’s what their site says:

United will offer beer and wine at no charge in United Economy on intercontinental flights with multi-course meal service, and each customer will receive a complimentary bottle of water to stay refreshed throughout their flight. Additionally, customers may purchase half-bottle premium wines, and United will continue to offer spirits for sale.

In addition in case those pint size packaged meals just don’t cut it they’ll have additional things for purchase as well.

Choice Menu Snack Shop Expansion

The airline will also introduce snacks for purchase in United Economy on long-haul international services. Along with enjoying complimentary meals, customers will be able to purchase packaged snacks and snack boxes throughout their flights through the airline’s Choice Menu Snack Shop – currently available in United Economy on most North andCentral America flights scheduled for more than two hours, flights to and from northern South America and service between Honolulu and Guam.

Now if you’re sitting in a premium cabin on a domestic flight, you’re in luck, they announced back in August of last year that they would be doing a cabin and meal refresh. You can read all about that in their press release from last year.

While United isn’t out of the woods yet, they seem to be finally realizing what a few other carriers have already found and that you make money by spending money on your passengers, give them more and they get a better experience. A better experience means they’ll come back which means more revenue.

They are apparently trying so we’ll give them credit as it’s certainly a start, they are certainly heading in the right direction.

Have you flown United Airlines recently? Tells us about your experience.


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