United is making some positive changes to onboard service on Japan flights. Two changes are route-specific trials while one is a permanent, systemwide change.
Pajamas Will Be Proactively Offered To All Business Class Passengers On ORD – NRT Route
If you recall from my recent San Francisco to Sydney trip report, a flight attendant literally whispered to me to be very discreet with my pajamas since only a few pairs were loaded for the entire 60-seat business class cabin.
That’s simply embarrassing.
The problem is not solved systemwide, but United is at least thinking about it.
Starting on February 1st, United will provision pajamas at 100% on flights between in Chicago (ORD) and Tokyo (NRT) in business class. These will be offered proactively before takeoff or just after takeoff.
I’d like to see this roll out systemwide, but this is a good start.
In a memo to flight attendants, United noted this was just a trial and would be collecting flight attendant and passenger feedback to determine whether to continue or expand this offering.
Economy Class Passengers Will Receive Amenities
In a move that appears to be a response to Delta’s enhanced amenities for economy class passengers, United is trialing a number of amenities for economy class passengers on the same ORD – NRT flights.
Starting on February 1st, economy class passengers will be offered:
- eye shades
- ear plugs
- dental kits
These will be distributed a la carte after takeoff.
New Japanese Dining Option In Economy Class
While the two items above are trials, United is rolling out a new meal service option on all routes to Japan, except for Guam.
A new Japanese entrée option, a shrimp rice bowl with vegetables, will be offered in economy class. Passengers will also be able to choose a chicken entree.
These Japanese meals were tested on the LAX-NRT route in late 2019 and received positive feedback.
From what I can tell, there are no corresponding cutbacks with these enhanced amenities onboard. In the competitive Japan market, offering pajamas to all business class passengers and amenities to economy class passengers is an important step. We’ll see if this expands beyond the Chicago to Tokyo market.