In another sign that pre-pandemic service is returning, United Airlines will start pouring beverages later this month onboard instead of proactively offering full, unopened cans.
United Airlines Reverts To Poured Beverages Over Sealed, Full Cans
Starting on October 15th, United will transition back to pouring beverages in all markets and cabins. For most passengers, this means the end of being offered the entire can of juice or soda automatically. Instead, you’ll be offered a cup of your preferred drink with ice.
For those who used the pandemic to stock up on liquor minis, those will once again be twisted open before serving.
But fret not if you would prefer your own can. Just like before the pandemic, United will accommodate requests for the full can.
You may still see some individual-sized bottles of water as well as individual cans of orange juice after October 15th, as the cutover will be a “soft” one (meaning the old supply will be exhausted before the new supply is added). Domestically, the smaller water bottles will be used for first class until supply runs out. Furthermore, the small bottles will continue to be available on economy class on longhaul flights as part of the mid-flight service.
As part of the return to poured beverages, San Pellegrino sparkling water will be boarded for United Polaris Business for international markets and milk will be returning to international flights. In addition, 1L bottles of wine will be used instead of individual bottles for economy class on international longhaul flights (Premium Plus, United’s premium economy product, will still receive 187mL individual wine bottles).
The Return Of Glasses?
While not officially confirmed (I’ve seen conflicting information and United does not comment on internal memos), it appears that “real” glasses will soon make a return.
The memo notes that in Premium Plus the “tray set-ups will also have wine glasses boarded.” I can’t imagine United means the blue plastic “wine glasses” that have been in use since March 2020.
Another internal source has mentioned glasses are returning however a separate recent memo on service flows makes specific mention of the disposable cups continuing into November in premium cabins.
Should real glasses and ceramic coffee cups return, this would mark a notable step forward in finally restoring a key element of meal service. It seems to me that if it is safe enough for the flight attendants to be pouring beverages once again, it is certainly safe enough to offer real glasses.
I’ve been on a lot of flights this year where I’ve observed quite a bit of liquid waste. For many people, the full can is just too much, particularly on short flights. Thus, I think this change makes a lot of sense and appreciate the full cans will still be available upon request.
If October 15th also marks the return of real glasses and cups, the news is even better.