Effective 01 October 2011, special meals will no longer be available on most United domestic, Canadian, Central American, and Caribbean flights. Special meals will still be available on transcontinental flights between LAX/SFO-JFK/EWR and Hawaiian flights.
Furthermore, the following special meal categories will be eliminated completely:
- Diabetic (DBML)
- Low Calorie (LCML)
- Low Fat/Cholesterol (LFML)
- Low Sodium (LSML)
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian (VLML)
These special meals will continue to be available on longer international flights and the domestic exceptions above:
- Gluten Intolerant (GFML)
- Hindu Vegetarian (HNML)
- Kosher (KSML)
- Muslim (MOML)
- Asian Vegetarian (AVML)
- Vegan (Strict) Vegetarian (VGML)
- Child’s (CHML)
- Japanese (JPML)
Labeled as “a matter of convenience for the corporation and as part of the ongoing ‘harmonization’ between the UA and CO subsidiaries,” the changes bring United special meal policies in line with Continental Airlines.
When the United-Continental merger was announced, CEO Jeff Smisek said, “This combination brings together the best of both organizations and cultures to create a world-class airline with tremendous and enduring strengths. Together, we will have the financial strength necessary to make critical investments to continue to improve our products and services and to achieve and sustain profitability.”
Apparently, the “sustain profitability” objective will continue to take precedence over “improve our products and services.” I find it quite sad that in so many areas the world’s largest airline has taken the worst of Continental and combined it with the worst of United. That is not the way to engender loyalty and win over business from the likes of Singapore, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific.
I hope for the sake of vegetarians that United will at least offer a meat-free option with every meal now. Too often, the choice on domestic lunch and dinner flights on both Continental and Untied is meat or meat. I am going to miss my Hindu and Muslim meals…
(tip of the hat to Lucky)
Agreed, I’m a regular of the Hindu meal, and almost always get comments from the FA’s about how much they like that meal for their own crew meals.
I’m not a vegetarian by any means, but I do (did) enjoy these special meals as a nice alternative, usually healthier and much more flavorful than the typical offerings.
@Brad: Absolutely. I don’t mind the redeye snacks (as long as we don’t get what CO serves), but I’ll miss my Indian dishes!
Even though I’m not vegetarian I fully agree that the “meat or meat” meal choice is not acceptable, especially on flights beginning or ending on the coasts. On a recent CO SFO-IAH flight in F one of the meal choices was a cheeseburger, which seems a bit inappropriate for first class.