After a successful trial last month, United will expand its free meal offerings to more Hawaiian flights starting in March.
Live and Let’s Fly broke news in January that United would be testing complimentary sandwiches on flights between Chicago and Honolulu. The trial has apparently gone well, with customers expressing overwhelming positive feedback about the free sandwiches.
As first reported by Brian Sumers and confirmed by my inside sources, United will add complimentary sandwiches to flights between Honolulu and:
- Washington Dulles
This will not replace the buy-on-board meals offered, but augment them. Both a meat and vegetarian option will be available. The expanded service begins March 1st.
Guam flyers have been livid since the United – Continental merger over the elimination of free food. In fact, Guam mounted a formal campaign for United to restore complimentary meals on the Honolulu – Guam flight.
> Read More: Guam Demands United Airlines Improve Service
Noticeably absent from the list are Los Angeles and San Francisco, United’s two west coast hubs. These flights to Honolulu are not only shorter, but American, Delta, and Alaska compete head-to-head and do not offer complimentary meals (Hawaiian Airlines does).
While hardly a gourmet meal, it is certainly a recognition that both Delta and American offer complimentary food on their longer Hawaiian routes. Hawaii is and remains a very different, primarily leisure-based market compared to Europe, but Newark to Honolulu is an 11.5-hour flight. That’s a long time to go without eating for those who did not bring a credit card to buy food onboard. It’s no surprise that passengers have responded well.
And as Gary Leff points out, this is not just an issue of convenience. He notes a passenger flying from Houston to Guam via Honolulu currently travels over 17 hours without a complimentary meal. There’s only 45 minutes between flights and the Diamond Head Concourse (G Gates) at HNL have few places to buy food. With buy-on-board food boarded in limited numbers, a traveler who did not plan ahead may find himself very hungry.
Have you tried the free sandwiches on United? What did you think of them?