United announced some enhancements to their international economy service, which will kick in for flights as of June 1, 2015. These changes apply for all of United’s transatlantic flights, most of their transpacific flights, and their flights between the United States and Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
So what changes are in store? Per United’s press release:
New Multi-Course Meal Service
United will expand the primary complimentary economy meal to a hearty three-course service, beginning with a beverage and snack of cheese and crackers, baked whole-grain bruschetta chips or Kiri cheese spread and crackers, followed by a generous main course served with refreshed salads and artisan bread.
Main-course meals will include new dishes designed by United’s team of chefs, including:
- Home-style turkey meatloaf in spicy barbecue sauce, served with sweet potato mash, mixed vegetables, an artisan ciabatta roll and amaranth mango salad;
- Tuscan ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce, served with a petit artisan ciabatta roll and mixed-grain salad; and
- Udon noodles with stir-fried vegetables and ginger soya sauce, served with a petit multi-grain baguette roll and apple wheatberry salad.
For the final course, customers may enjoy a premium dessert, such as gelato, sorbet, ice cream or mousse.
Complimentary Beer and Wine
United will offer beer and wine at no charge in United Economy on intercontinental flights with multi-course meal service, and each customer will receive a complimentary bottle of water to stay refreshed throughout their flight. Additionally, customers may purchase half-bottle premium wines, and United will continue to offer spirits for sale.
Choice Menu Snack Shop Expansion
The airline will also introduce snacks for purchase in United Economy on long-haul international services. Along with enjoying complimentary meals, customers will be able to purchase packaged snacks and snack boxes throughout their flights through the airline’s Choice Menu Snack Shop – currently available in United Economy on most North and Central America flights scheduled for more than two hours, flights to and from northern South America and service between Honolulu and Guam.
Complimentary pre-arrival service will continue. Depending on the market flown, United Economy customers will receive a croissant with jam, a warmed sandwich or a hot meal served with fruit and a roll. On flights where a hot meal is available, new options, such as cinnamon-swirl French toast and a Tuscan skillet with scrambled eggs, will join current offerings.
Overall these are no doubt positive changes:
- The addition of free beer & wine on all longhaul international flights is great news; this change is interesting since United eliminated free beer & wine on flights to Asia just a bit over a year ago
- I wouldn’t read too much into the positive food changes; we are taking about economy on a US airline, after all
- The fact that they’re going to start selling snack boxes in longhaul economy is interesting; others are pessimistic about this change, but given how bad economy food can otherwise be, having that option might not be a bad thing
Regardless, kudos to United for investing in improving the international economy product. Some free beer & wine might just make those 747s slightly more tolerable in the rear.