Starting next month, United Airlines will resume in-flight sales of snacks, food, and alcoholic beverages on its longhaul routes to Hawaii. To promote safety, only contactless payment will be accepted.
United Airlines Restores Buy On Board Service To Select Hawaiian Flights
Late last year, United trialed buy on board (BoB) service from Denver, utilizing contactless payment options. Contactless payment requires you to register your credit or debit card in the United App or on united.com, which can then be remotely transmitted to flight attendants in-flight. Per United, customers and flight attendants responded well to the trial and particularly to the new payment option.
While United has stoped its BoB service from Denver, it will start offering it on the following longhaul Hawaiian routes starting on March 4, 2021:
- Chicago (ORD) – Honolulu (HNL)
- Chicago (ORD) – Maui (OGG)
- Houston (IAH) – Honolulu (HNL)
- Newark (EWR) – Honolulu (HNL)
- Guam (GUM) – Honolulu (HNL)
For the Denver trial, buy on board service was limited to beer, wine, snacks (like potato chips and gummy bears), and snack boxes. It is not clear whether the Hawaiian flights will have the same limited choices or include an expanded Choice Menu.
In a memo to flight attendants shared with Live and Let’s Fly, United attempts to walk the fine line between customer comfort and safety, noting:
We continue to keep safety top of mind for you and our customers as we begin to reintroduce food and beverages for purchase. We are committed to providing a safe environment while providing customers an enjoyable travel experience, and we look forward to getting your feedback as we continue to learn and improve together.
Unsurprisingly, many flight attendants are unhappy with this news and believe that passengers sipping alcohol or eating food will create a potential safety hazard.
Complimentary snack packs with bottled water as well as a sweet and salty snack will still be available on these flights. First class passengers will continue to receive hot meals.
United will restore buy on board service on its longhaul Hawaiian routes starting on March 4th. Only contactless payment will be accepted. Although a small step, it marks one more move in return to normalcy.