Despite declaring an unexpected quarterly loss, United Airlines is moving forward with more catering improvements in April 2023, including the return of Japanese meals.
Catering Improvements Move Ahead On United Airlines In April 2023
Every month, United has returned elements to its premium cabin meal service that bring it another step closer to its pre-pandemic service.
In a memo to flight attendants reviewed by Live and Let’s Fly, United shared that appetizers will be returning to flights between the USA and Europe and that Japanese meals will return to Japan flights starting on April 1, 2023:
- Appetizer: Flights between the U.S. and Europe will receive a cold appetizer with the main meal tray setup
- Japanese Meal: Reintroducing the main and pre-arrival Japanese meals. The plated entrée and soup will be placed on the red-lined Japanese meal tray with chopsticks
It has been over three years now since the pandemic began and United (and others) drastically cut onboard meal service in the early days of the pandemic. While most carriers have restored their full pre-pandemic service offerings, including American and Delta on longhaul flights, United has only gradually reintroduced service elements like appetizers or ice cream sundaes.
In another move that I am particularly excited about (and have advocated for repeatedly on Live And Let’s Fly), on flights over 801 miles and more the Southwest Wheatberry grain salad will be replaced with a fresh salad and dressing.
United’s meals, including the grain salad, are all frozen and shipped from catering station to station. This saves money, but the carbs served with carbs over carbs with carbs for dessert is a bit much and it will be great to see a green salad.
The standard menu for April 2023 in domestic first class will include:
- Westbound: Thai beef meatballs, Cheese Enchiladas, Sweet Chili Glass Noodle Salad
- Eastbound: Lemon Roasted Chicken Thigh, Rigatoni Pomodoro, Sweet Chili Glass Noodle Salad
United also meal service pre-orders on narrbowdy flights between five days and 24 hours prior to departure.
It is great to see appetizers, Japanese meals, and green salads return. Despite declaring an alarming quarterly loss, catering improvements are moving forward on United. This is an important recognition of the competitive environment United finds itself in.
I hate being right!!
As on all things UA, I will believe it when I see it.
Only the best catering for the best airline inside the Kuiper Belt.
ROTFL!! Just stop it already! Lol! Lol!
Another step – now figure out how to serve the app/salad on their own, with the main afterward so we don’t have to rush through it. Or at least make that an option.
And for domestic, salad is a big improvement, now let’s start differentiating the longer routes like AA does with an appetizer + salad and choice of dessert.
This sounds like such an easy change. I wonder if it’s due to FA contracts.
It is so exhausting seeing these constant suggestions that FA contracts have anything to do with UA’s service policies. There is not a single thing in our contract that has anything to do with inflight service. Most of us are dying to return to pre-pandemic service flows because we are embarrassed at how abysmal it’s become. This lies with United’s policies – stop trying to pin the blame on ~*~~*fA CoNtRacTs**~~~~~
Figure out how to get flight attendants past their lazy attitudes they adopted during the pandemic (and frankly, before) and you’ll see all kinds of things return. You’d be surprised how much corporate would like to do but inflight revolts and refuses… sad!
Interesting take. Are you under the impression that the flight attendants dictate and control United’s service policies, what’s boarded & what isn’t, etc.? I stopped working in first class because I’ve become ashamed of how cheap the product has become. I *want* full service back and to take pride in that delivering that first class experience.
Do you think that the company runs it by the flight attendants, “Hey, we’re going to bring back separate appetizers before main course” and the entire work group breaks out into a frenzy and our union shuts the decision down? Silly, and it accentuates how non-savvy you are with how these things work. You give our union too much credit if you think that’s the way that it goes down. We have no say in the matter of UA’s service policies. Direct your ire in the appropriate direction.
Just did MIA-EWR-MIA this past wknd in F. Pre selected meals in both directions. Northbound the FA gave away my bkfst by mistake to another passenger. She miscounted and gave me a $150 voucher. On the way down to MIA my pre selected dinner was not loaded nor my companion’s. I was compensated with $100 voucher. Way to go United! Please keep it up so that I can spend less money on my flights!
“Every month, United has returned elements to its premium cabin meal service that bring it another step closer to its pre-pandemic service.”
Except for food that tastes above average.
Glad to see United restoring service. However, even pre-COVID they were behind the others, so I’m hoping we will see more.
Note that Delta hasn’t restored full long haul service. Appetizers still have not returned, and on my recent flights, the main meal was served on the salad/soup tray almost immediately after that was delivered (I barely took a bite of salad before the entree was dropped off). The dessert card did recently return though, so hopefully appetizers and the slower pacing will be next.
On the new menu’s though DL still kept the option of serving everything in 1 tray, which is what I actually want. I don’t need a 2-hr meal service, I want to eat everything at once, then rest ASAP.
Drip… drip… drip…
Messed up my meal on IAD – LAX i paid F. Got a $50 credit. I should have pressed for more.
They need to reestablish localized catering and stop with the frozen mess. I shouldn’t have to pay a 5-figure fare for a business class flight that has meals less appetizing than a Stouffer’s frozen entree.
The business class meals that are so bad are exclusively designed by gate gourmet and prepared locally. You’re better off with a frozen product hybrid service than the crap coming out of a local GG kitchen.
Is the Japanese meal in Polaris available as pre-order or special meal?
Or is it only available to select onboard? Thanks
Food at United is so bad that it is hard to make it worse so sometimes just adding something very small makes it a big improvement. My expectations for UA are so low that any improvement will impress me.
I love that the food is so bad and full of carbs that we need to celebrate a simple, basic green salad as a win
Some leaves thrown in a bowl is a salad?
Hey, that’s a colorful improvement. It’s not beige.
If the domestic meals are “all frozen and shipped from catering station to station,” how does one explain the presence of the lettuce, cucumber, and red pepper in the salad? There must be exceptions – or a misunderstanding.
Point is this is a change. The old grain-based salad was frozen.
It has become increasingly difficult to avoid cheese in airline meals. It is even added gratuitously, as shown in the fresh salad picture above. For those of us who find cheese distasteful (that’s polite for vile tasting), it is a sad trend. If airlines want to offer cheese, I would like to see it offered in a separate container so those who like it could add it to their dish, if they wish to, while those of us who detest the taste of cheese could avoid it (or give it to a neighbor).
I just came back from London recently and my salad was frozen. They still need to make so emajor updates to their catering. My mom, dad and I Re vegetarian, however my special meal was totally different to theirs and not as tasty as theirs.
Given the comments here, I’m quite happy that I fly Econ and bring my own food and drink on board, either purchased on the concourse, or nicely done at home ahead.
After 39 years of a minimum of 80 hrs per month in the air I have yet to find an airport that does not provide a food source that exceeds the offering of inflight provisions. Are you folks unable to go without for a couple hrs?
While that is true in most airports, the problem is often that there are waits to get into those restaurants, waits to take your order, and waits to get it, followed by a wait for your bill. Might work if you had 2-3 hours to kill, but not for a 1 hour layover.
What is a “narrbowdy” flight? Try grammarly or spellcheck?
A 30 cent green salad in first class! We’re not worthy!