My friend Ryan just pointed out to me that the united.com meal page, which previously had the blurb about about IAD-Europe flights being buy on board, no longer mentions that. Now it once again says that “We serve complimentary meals on most international flights between the United States, South America, Europe, South Pacific and Asia,” which is the same thing it said before all of this started.
Furthermore, it’s also interesting to search IAD-Europe flights after October 1 and look at the flight details. Early in October most of the flights still show as serving complimentary meals, while later on in the month most flights show as “food for purchase.” Or, if you want to see something really strange, look at November 14 for IAD-LHR. The first and last flights show as “food for purchase,” while the middle flight shows as offering dinner and a snack. Now I assume UA doesn’t plan on doing food for purchase on two flights but not another, so that part has something to do with the system not being totally updated. That being said, until recently all flights after October 1 from IAD to Europe showed as “food for purchase.” The fact that they’ve changed this is quite interesting.
So what does this mean? Well, maybe they’re just trying to get less publicity for their “enhancement.” It’s also possible that they’ve either noticed a decrease in advanced bookings for Europe flights or have probably seen that no other airline has followed, even US! So is this a glitch or an actual change? I’m not so sure, but I’m actually leaning towards UA reconsidering this or at least buying some more time to think this over. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them announce that they’ve reconsidered the decision on Tuesday so that it gets a bit more attention.
Update: Based on this post on FlyerTalk it seems like they really have reconsidered their decision.