United Airlines Now Offers First Class Passengers Two Ways Not To Eat

Delta lets passengers choose in advance the option to skip a meal, and save the airline money. Japan Airlines even suggests that doing so is a moral imperative.

This is a trend sweeping the industry, reducing food cost by getting passengers to pre-committing not to eat. United is a part of it too, and they are offering customers more than one choice now to nudge them not to eat. Both of these options that appear when pre-ordering mean the same thing, United can spend less on catering:

  • I’m not going to eat
  • I’m going to eat before my flight

I’m not sure I’d consider United Club offerings to be a meal. And I’m also not sure it’s a good idea to decide in advance that you’re going to make it to the airline early enough, and not face a backup at security, so that you’ll have enough time to do so. You could face traffic on the way to the airport! It might take longer than usual to get an Uber! You might get to the United Club and remember that what they’re offering is… barely food?

At least Japan Airlines gives you an extra amenity kit when you don’t take the meal this way, and China Southern has compensated passengers with miles. United gives you nothing – except not having to eat their food.

(HT: @airmarietta)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We approached our airline mgmt of donating unused meals to a homeless shelter.
    It was complicated by
    Who would gather up meals, who would deliver, etc.. plus, the concern of liability of food poisoning, allergic reactions, etc. Idea scrapped, unfortunately.

  2. On my MIA-BOS flight last week, I was in 2C. 2A next to me, and both 2’s across the aisle from me passed on the meal on-board. It was a 3:35 pm departure and 7 pm arrival, so it was full dinner too.

  3. 2 times I have flown united in January 2023 they have sent me an email that allowed me to select a meal and drinks…….they also encolourage you to post a credit card on line to cover any food or drink cost

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