United Airlines will restore hot meal service on more routes and introduce new menu items starting next month. With its move, United becomes the first U.S. carrier to restore hot meals on shorter routes.
Hot Meal Service Returns To Many Domestic Routes On United Airlines In First Class
After over a year without meals (beyond sandwiches and snack boxes) in United’s domestic first class cabins, United is will restore hot, plated meals effective June 15, 2021.
This will occur on the following flights:
- Domestic flights – over 1,500 miles
- Hub-to-hub routes – over 800 miles
Although United has not provided any pictures, it has teased the following menu choices:
- Egg scramble with plant-based chorizo
- Belgium waffle with bourbon berry compote, served with a side of a peach-flavored Greek yogurt parfait
- Grilled chicken breast with orzo and lemon basil pesto
- Vegetarian enchilada with chile verde, served with a side of Spanish rice
Each entree will include a side dish and dessert. To minimize contact, meals will be served on a tray and wrapped up. The grilled chicken breast is an existing entree (pictured above), but the other dishes are new.
United told Live and Let’s Fly the dessert will initially be a “Pie in the Sky” chocolate sky from Chicago-based Eli’s cheesecake.
Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines will begin to reintroduce meal service on premium transcontinental flights next month (American and United never eliminated them on such flights) while American will continue to serve packaged sandwiches or cheese plates. Furthermore, American has made clear it does not ever plan on returning meal service to the way it was prior to the pandemic.
United’s move is an important step in restoring some semblance of normality to domestic flights that have already returned to “normal” in terms of passenger demand. JetBlue proves that airline food does not have to be bad. Hopefully United’s refreshed hot entrees will also be tasty.
Thank you for posting this. While I’m happy to see this, there are several routes that come just under 1,500 miles that I wonder if United will allow into this rule. For example, DCA-DEN. This is approximately 1,476 miles, it leaves DCA at 4-4:30PM, and traditionally there’s been a hot meal. IAD-DEN, since it’s hub-hub and over 800 miles, qualifies. I’d hope they’d include / waive -in DCA. It’s one of my most-flown routes and that would just be an annoying rub if they don’t include DCA for meal eligibility in F.
I do hope DCA is included, though (correct me if I am wrong), UA has no premium competition on the route.
That is hopefully good news, though quality of food has always been a problem for UA. Personally, F food has not been as important to me for domestic. Much more important is business class for international.
One thing is that I suspect people will be less loyal to particular airlines coming out of the pandemic, so if one airline offers a materially better product, more people are likely to find out. On the other hand, UA is not known for competing on quality so much as relying on corporate contracts, so they may not care that much.
They have no premium competition on DCA-DEN (and no competition at all) on IAD-DEN, so I hope to see it.
I agree with @Arthur. If you haven’t maintained status by re-qualifying this year (e.g. if you fly internationally for work and reached status that way, you probably won’t this year since most business travel internationally is still stagnant) since airlines aren’t extending status past this year, there is MORE incentive to fly whoever is cheapest or a combination of nicest and reasonably priced when you do return to travel.
Anecdotally, I flew United as a 1k for years and years and now will be open to other options based on the available and cost weighed together. I’d rather pay a few hundred more for a very good business class overseas than have mediocre experience on Lufthansa, for instance. Their business class food is mediocre, their seats and planes are awful and its the main partner to get overseas via the EU for United. I always hated it but kept flying them and putting up with it because it helped me maintain my 1k status. No more! Even Polaris (excellent lounges aside) is pretty mediocre at this point because of already dated seats that were so slow to roll out and now crappy food (they’ve also pulled back some of the enhancements they added when Polaris first started and fallen back on mediocre as status quo) and their FA’s are either indifferent or rude.
I’m glad to hear that COVID is not an issue in the first class cabin. 🙂
This eliminates most, if not all Express flights and IAH segments to the East Coast and West Coast (which fell under the mid-con classification) although ORD seems to fair better in that anything west of PHX (LAS and CA/OR/WA markets) will be covered. For EWR/IAD this means anything west of DEN will have meals.
It’s not clear from this whether snack boxes and the sandwiches will remain but knowing UA they are going to “enhance” out the 2019 snack snafu (that removed meals from the bulk of flights and replaced them with snacks) by removing all food on anything less than 1500 miles.
Thanks! And does the above menu apply to domestic Polaris flights too?