United Airlines is bringing back meals to domestic first class flights over 1500 miles as well as flights between the airline’s hubs that are 800 miles or more.
There will be a choice of entree, side dish, and a dessert served wrapped on a tray and this will replace the airline’s hot sandwiches and snack boxes. For instance, Zach Griff shares:
Breakfast: Egg scramble with plant-based chorizo OR Belgium waffle with bourbon berry compote, served with a side of a peach-flavored Greek yogurt parfait.
Lunch/dinner: grilled chicken breast with orzo and lemon basil pesto OR vegetarian enchilada with chile verde, served with a side of Spanish rice.
For dessert, United’s partnering with Chicago-based Eli’s Cheesecake on a chocolate pie flavor called “Pie in the Sky.”
When I was a United flyer in the late-90s my body was 5% Eli’s cheesecake.
It’s odd to see United leading here bringing back service. Three years ago they tried eliminating meals on flights under four hours, which struck me as a more typical move for then-airline President Scott Kirby. Yet Kirby, who was responsible for eliminating many meals when he was President of American Airlines, is now CEO of United and investing more in product.
I expect American Airlines to match this. Today American offers meals on premium cross country flights like New York JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and long haul Hawaii flights. It’s been less than a month since American even started offering its ‘Fresh Bites’ protein boxes instead of the old coach buy on board wrapped sandwiches for non-premium transcon flights longer than 2200 miles.
To be sure last summer then-inflight service head Jill Surdek, who made the decision to eliminate inflight meals in the first place, explained that the airline wouldn’t ever bring back the old first class meals and instead would offer something that still “has a premium feel but is different and more modern.”
However Delta already plans to bring back some meals to first class in June, and American has consistently talked internally about monitoring what competitors are doing, which I contrast with focusing on delivering what customers are asking for. Now that United is bringing back meals on routes like Chicago O’Hare – Los Angeles, which American also services, it seems logical to expect the Dallas-based carrier to do so as well.