United is ditching glass bread dishes but provisioning more Champagne on select transatlantic flights. It will also increase snacks, vegetarian, and hot breakfast entrees on select flights.
A flight attendant shared a catering update with me, with changes effective March 01st. Among them:
Increased Champagne quantities on all tans-Atlantic flights before 09:00
It’s 5:00PM somewhere…United has found that even on early-morning transatlantic departures customers want more Champagne and are increasing provisions accordingly.
Increased seltzer water on all premium transcontinental flights
Sparkling water is catching on in the United States. United will add one extra draw of seltzer water on 757s and 767s and two extra drawers of seltzer water on 777s and 787s on premium transcontinental flights.
New clear polycarbonate plates
United will replace current glass and plastic dessert/bread plates with a clear polycarbonate plate, similar to its ice cream bowl. United says this is to prevent breakage and these plates are reusable. I don’t like plastic in premium cabins, but the glass plates are fragile and the polycarbonate plates don’t look much different.
Here’s the glass ice cream bowl (and the glass plate about to be replaced):
And the new one:
See, not too bad.
Increasing vegetarian meals from U.S. to India
In all cabins on flights from the U.S. to India, United will increase vegetarian meals by 20% (and reduce meat choices by 20%) in all cabins.
United First hot breakfast entrée ratios
More customers prefer the hot entree and United will respond by increasing the hot entree by 10% (and decreasing the cold entree by 10%). Pre-ordering meals should eventually eliminate this problem.
Increasing Untied Polaris mid-flight snack ratios
United will increased packaged snacks on flights from Europe to the United States.
Increasing mid-flight snacks on India and SFO-SIN routes
United will add a new sandwich option on four of its longest routes. The selection will rotate, but start with a sweet roll with apricot chai cream cheese on flights from San Francisco to Delhi and Singapore and from Newark to Delhi/Mumbai.
It seems with the exception of the plastic plates, this is is all good news.
What other changes would you like to see to catering onboard United Airlines?
I’d argue that its all good news, even with the plastic plates. The glass plates chip and break too easily and that can lead to a very dangerous situation should someone get glass in their ice cream or other dishes as has happened before. These aren’t single use Solo picnic plates, so simply dismissing them as cheap plastic is a bit of a misnomer.
We all agree that single use plastics are to be avoided, but this is a good use of plastic – re-useable, safer and lighter, therefore using less fuel to fly them.
On the catering, I’m sort of amazed that they don’t continually adjust quantities, rather than make these sorts of changes a big thing. Surely they should have algorithms that look at same time/same day/same season movements from previous weeks and years and they should simply inform ratios accordingly. It’s not that difficult. And, that sort of approach will quickly highlight unpopular dishes which need to be culled before too many people experience them.
On a side note, when in Polaris I always find I’m the first person (even back in row 5 or 6) to order Champagne. I always sense the FA’s heart sink as they realise they need to open it, and often I’m punished ordering it by being made to wait until the end!
What is defined as Premium, according to United?
Isn’t Premium Plus given economy meals (and isn’t really premium seeing as it’s not mentioned in the article)?
This implicates Premium Plus too, since they receive bread dishes.
“United is provisioning more Champagne on select transatlantic flights.” Now tell me if there is any wine/champagne served on any US airline that is worth drinking. I will keep my sparkling water and wait until I get home or a nice restaurant to drink something decent.
I suggest, beyond safety, to run the flights on time. they are really lousy at that.
Makes me wonder with how much they will increase the Champagne supply…..
Hope other airlines such as BA F, SQ F and Asiana F take note…. as they tend to run out of their stuff and gladly offer stuff from the back!
The midflight offerings are really overdue, In fact I would argue that airlines should completely eliminate dinner when a TATL or TPAC flight departs after 10pm, simply offer substantive cold food on request (i.e. sandwiches and salads) and instead offer the “dinner” after everyone enjoys a good night’s sleep.