An update on the mandatory business class express dining on late-evening flights from Washington Dulles. As it turns out, some items have been cut from the menu.
Last week I wrote about United’s trial of express meal service for each passenger during the month of April in order to maximize sleep onboard. Initially, I was told that appetizer + salad + dinner would be delivered on a single tray, desserts would be served from the galley rather than by cart, but no menu items would actually be cut.
Turns out, that is not really the case. Instead, United has cut the following items from these late-night flights:
- Cheese plate
- Petit fours (2 of 3 choices will be cut)
- Hot breakfast (prior to landing)
Yes, the cheese plate is no longer loaded (United claims passengers were not eating it), only one sweet treat instead of three will be loaded, and now two cold options instead of one cold and one hot option will be available for breakfast. The ice cream sundae will remain.
You can find the expedited service on the following flights:
- Dublin (UA126)
- Frankfurt (UA932)
- Lisbon (UA168)
- London (UA924)
I really think United did this wrong. Although United strongly stressed to me this is merely a trial and the old service will quickly revert back if customers voice complaints, it will instantly come across as an attempt to cut costs. Perhaps that is what it was all along, but I believe most people actually do want an expedited meal service onboard. I cannot stand a dragged out meal service so late at night on a such a short transatlantic flight.
But in cutting choice, United cheapens the product…even if there were very few partakers in the cheese plate or hot breakfast.
A couple more thoughts on that. Concerning the cheese, I love that AA offers a cheese plate as a complimentary snack option to economy class passengers on premium transcon flights, even redeyes.
I’m skeptical that so few people like cheese late at night, because I think a few bites of cheese serves as a perfect late-night snack. United should consider adding fruit/cheese as a menu item on these late flights.
Second, these late flights arrive in the late morning in Europe. For the London Heathrow and Frankfurt flights, these reduced service flights arrive too late to use the arrivals lounges, which close at midday.
If you’re ending in LHR or FRA, that leaves you without a substantial breakfast.
I just don’t see what the harm is in loading a few cheese plate or hot breakfasts unless the goal really is only to cut cuts.
While I strongly support the concept of expedited meal service on late-night flights, I do not support this at the expense of reducing food…especially when Washingon Dulles does not have a Polaris lounge yet.
Now it is up to you, the customer, to let United know if these cutbacks actually matter to you.