United Airlines will bring back hot towels on select premium cabin flights starting next month. It’s a small addition, but an important one and another small step toward the full return of the pre-pandemic soft product.
Hot Towels Return To United Airlines
There are few things more refreshing on an airplane than a hot towel before a meal service or after waking up from a nap.
Since March 2020, United has suspended the use of hot towels, blaming the pandemic. Over a year after American and months after Delta restored hot towels service, the carrier will bring back hot towel service on select transcontinental and long-haul flights starting on December 1, 2022, including:
- All International flights in the United Polaris cabin prior to the:
- Main meal service
- Pre-arrival service
- All premium transcontinental flights in the United First/Business cabin prior to the:
- Main meal service
Practically, that means all flights to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America as well as flights between Newark and Los Angeles / San Francisco.
There is something about hot towels and flying in premium cabins that bring a smile to my face. I tend to sleep well on planes and I love waking up from a long slumber to the refreshing feel of a hot towel on my face.
(And yes, I am one of those passengers who will wipe down his tray table after wiping his face. Faux pax?)
United tells flights flight attendants the “hot towels will not be scented,” however, “a new sachet is in production, which is similar to a scent currently available in the United Clubs, and will be boarded next year.”
It’s nice to see hot towels come back (and yes, they should have come back months earlier). Hopefully, they will soon return to all premium cabin flights with meal service, just like before the pandemic. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to offer an elevated in-flight product.
Haha yes I used to do that too – wipe down the tray post face use but in hindsight that’s also pretty unsanitary so always bring wipes now and wipe down all the “high touch” surfaces – beyond the single wipe UA provides. My seatmate(s) must think I’m quite neurotic.
What would be even better was for United to overhaul its premium catering. It is downright disgusting.
Are the long Hawaii flights also going to receive hot towel service?
I would gladly sacrifice a hot towel for catering that was actually respectable. Or more than just barely edible. I mean, who is the genius that came up with the pre-landing (horrid) Cheeseburger paired with a muffin in intl J? Yes, because when I think of a cheeseburger I instantly think of a muffin on the side. Honestly, it seems like some teenager living in his parent’s basement designed the UA food offerings.
There’s no excuse not to bring back every single pre pandemic service aspect if they are bring pre pandemic status requirements
Exactly! Couldn’t agree more.
You just wipe the table? I try to get maximum use of the towel, wiping the armrest, table and much more. It does risk spread, though. If there is fecal material only on one area, it will be spread everywhere
Hot towels that are made with plane water? Gotta pass. Healthline: “Testing found the presence of microorganisms in the water, including the total coliform bacteria. Their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing pathogens could be there as well.” Conde Nast Traveler: “The tap water on both major and regional U.S. carriers was found to be contaminated with varying levels of E. coli and coliform, according to the newly released 2019 Airline Water Study”
Heat kills E. Coli. So the question is, how hot are the hot towels?
Wouldn’t the steam temperature kill off most of the pathogens? I really enjoy the hot towels. And after washing hands I use a disinfecting wipe. It’s always felt safer & use the wipe to open the door.
Drip Drip Drip…..the rate of restoration should be embarrassing to the C suite folks at ual.
I truly do not understand why people are served hot towels on planes. It isn’t like you’re ever given one anywhere else in the world. You don’t greet your spouse at the front door with a hot towel when they come home from work. They’ve been back on AA, even on domestic routes, for a long time, and I always decline. I guess I just don’t see the purpose of being served a hot towel on a domestic flight departing Phoenix in July. A cold towel might be nice.
I’ve been to dinner parties with hot towels!
Yes. Japan has a tradition. And much more useful than the finger bowls at extremely formal western dinners
Tell me you’re poor without telling me you’re poor.
Some responders are germ phobic to extreme. There are “germs” everywhere. Keeping one’s immune system healthy is the answer. One needs germ exposure for immunity. So, the hot towel post face washing is used to wipe down my area if needed otherwise a wipe for the table is perfectly fine.
Yes I am perhaps more careful than most because I need be. However I have seen things in the lav that looked like a crime scene. And the hold water could be disgusting, you cannot be certain.
Imagine thinking everyone else is a germophobe as you wipe down your seat area.
All this for a bug we knew already in February 2020 didn’t spread on surfaces. Science!
What about Hawaii!? And yes, they should focus on catering first. If I have to eat the chicken zatar one more time…why is there only one pair of options in domestic first?? Chicken pesto or fake meatball have been my only options every flight since they brought back food in first. It’s pretty inexcusable at this point.
Spreading your skin cells, dirt, and face germs on your tray table? If you think that’s cool, then keep doing it. As a 37 year International Flight Attendan, I find it disguting.