United Airlines Testing New Amenities For Coach Passengers

In November Delta launched a whole new economy service on international flights of 6.5 hours or more (and some shorter international flights offering international business class or premium economy).

Economy passengers receive welcome cocktails and hot towels. There are printed menus, customers can mix and match appetizer and entree choices, and dessert is served as a separate course. At the end of the flight customers are thanked and given chocolates.

Competitive pressures being what they are it looks like United Airlines is at least testing some increased coach investment. Aleksandra Mietus, United Manager of Onboard Expereince, tweets out a photo of coach amenities from Chicago O’Hare – Tokyo Narita: a toothbrush and tooth paste, ear plugs, and an eye mask.

Before Delta ramped up their coach service they began with a nicer coach amenity kit. I’m not sure United will be able to match the service flow that Delta’s flight attendants deliver. A year ago United even scaled back flight attendant service in business class.

However it’s nice to see U.S. airlines investing in their economy product, which after all is where most passengers sit.

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. United is so pathetic. They literally copy everything Delta does. United’s only “innovation” was basically gutting its frequent flyer program, which hopefully Delta and American won’t copy. Delta has offered cheap eye masks and mini-dental kits in economy on flights to Asia for years. I think they’ve even offered slippers in economy on select Asia flights for what must be at least 5-6 years.

  2. OK, this might be a little nasty.

    But I submit that many pax forego bringing a toothbrush in their carry on. Supplying a toothbrush will have the effect of encouraging people to spend yet MORE time in bathrooms whose aisles already fill the Y aisles.

  3. @ jfhscott — I agree. No airline should do anything to encourage coach pax to spend more time in the lav. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to wait an absurd amount of time to use a lav on an int’l flight because somebody (always a woman) “needed” to get their pre-arrival makeup right. Toothbrushing isn’t that time-consuming, but if it’s really important to the customer, let them bring their own toothbrush. Otherwise, do your business and move along. I would also note that the waste on inflight amenity kits is enormous. Most people who truly value things like facemasks bring their own. If you want to be nice to your coach pax, use the amenity kit money to improve the food. Almost everyone eats it.

  4. Really United, you’re going to brag about just meeting the bare minimum? But thanks for reinforcing my decision to place you on my do not fly list.

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