United is Eliminating Stroopwafels From Domestic Flights

When Oscar Munoz took over from disgraced United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek the airline rolled out modest customer experience improvements as part of an overall attempt to change the narrative of the airline.

  • Illy coffee
  • Stroopwafels as complimentary snacks in coach

Illy coffee is a fantastic brand, a personal favorite, though the water that goes into making coffee and cabin pressurization present challenges to delivery. Stroopwafels are delicious.

Now however United is out with word that stroopwafels are being pulled from their aircraft in favor of new maple flavored cookies, starting this weekend.

Credit: United

This cookie will be available on flights departing before 9:45 a.m.

This new snack, created especially for the airline by Byrd Cookie Company, is a maple wafer cookie that combines a crunchy texture with a sweet maple flavor. The new snack will begin to roll out on flights as early as this weekend.

…Google Trends data [shows] an increase in searches related to maple and many heralding it as the “next pumpkin spice.”

“We know that maple is an increasingly appealing flavor, and we are always looking for ways to capitalize on trends in taste buds,” Vice President of Catering Operations Charlean Gmunder said. “We are excited to offer our customers a light, crisp snack that is created by a woman-owned bakery.”

Stroopwafels will remain on flights departing Europe prior to 9:30 a.m. which includes flights like their first London – Newark and London – Chicago services, and United says “[t]he Stroopwafel will be available again in the future as the airline rotates between morning snack options.”

Last month United eliminated meals on domestic flights under 4 hours outside of dinner time, and then brought them back under customer pressure. Though they claimed this is what customers wanted, it was clearly a cost-cutting measure.

From a customer standpoint there’s no reason to swap out stroopwafels. And United’s release, in promoting how awesome maple flavor is, does nothing to explain why this change is a benefit. So I take it as a decision being made for reasons other than that.

We’re a long way from the time when United replaced galley carts with ones specially-designed to keep McDonald’s burgers warm while the lettuce and bun stayed cool.

Stroopwafels were framed by the airline as symbolizing improvements in the customer experience that were going to be made by the new regime, so seeing them pulled — whether for mere ‘rotation’ or not — is striking. Still I’m looking forward to tasting the maple.

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. That stinks, these were so good. My daughter loved them and a friendly flight attendant on our last afternoon flight even smuggled us a handful of them leftover from the morning flight. booo

  2. Cookies don’t stick (like glue) to your teeth. This will be an improvement. Now about restoring transcon JFK service. 😉

  3. These constant revisions to minuscule aspects of F&B services gives new meaning to the reference how the airline is run by “bean counters.”

    How many work hours were spent on the tomato juice caper; now this?

    When do they focus on real customer experience issues?

  4. Simple: Byrd’s is willing to pay United more than Daelmans to feature its product.

    Must be a slow news and affiliate link day.

  5. I think rotation is good, and the thought crossed my mind recently that the stroopwafels have been in place for nearly three years, and no matter what UA eventually does to replace them, it will be viewed as a negative, or cost cut, unless the replacement is a clear improvement (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0i773w9egk).

    Perhaps these are lower-cost than the stroopwafels, but I admit to a little bit of stroop-fatigue.

  6. Christ, what a ridiculous complaint. The new cookies aren’t obviously better or worse… just different.

    Yes, stroopwafels are tasty. But like anything else, they get boring after a while. I applaud airlines’ efforts to inject variety.

  7. Those were the best, and was something that was uniquely associated with United like Biscoff and Delta except better. This is of course a cost cutting initiative, just look at the bag: net weight 17g vs 29g for the stroopwafel.

  8. @Mark, if they really wanted to inject variety, they’d offer both, which would please everyone and anger no one.

    Everyone knows this was another “change you’ll like”, driven by some bean counter explaining how UA can save a few $$$ by further “enhancing” the product to crap.

    I’m totally amazed how Oscar seemingly gets a pass on the way he has incompetently run this company. He’s in many ways worse than Smizek, with the only difference being he’s seemingly likable to employees and hasn’t been indicted for anything (yet), unless you count his theft of sand for his FLA beach house.

  9. This is getting ridiculous. Stroopwafels are obviously more expensive since they’re imported from Holland. As a Platinum flyer with EWR as my local airport, I have little choice but to fly UA. They brought back Sprite Zero after complaints & now it’s gone again. Also in one of their few UA Clubs open at EWR Airport which I visited a few days ago they only offered Wall St. Journal – no more NY Times. I asked a rep there who told me they got rid of the NY Times. Are you kidding me? A major carrier in a NYC area airport no longer has the most popular newspaper for their pax? I complained to them on United Premier Voice but haven’t heard back yet. They are nickeling & diming us & this is getting really pitiful

  10. Every time a domestic airline makes a cut to the product offering, the reason is always “this is what our customers wanted”…..

    No, Oscar, it’s not what we wanted. Go pound sand, including the sand you illegally stole from the beach in front of your Florida home.


  11. Lol “A woman-owned bakery” yeah, because that’s what I care about when biting into a cheap snack on an airline with horrible customer service. “Hey! this cookie tastes like sh*t, but it’s made by a woman-owned bakery but I’m so PC and progressive so I like it.” says the brain damaged passenger – 2018 ladies and gentlemen (insert imaginary third gender).

  12. +1 on the noooo. Loved them. ONly problem getting upgraded was getting the crappy muffins instead. Sometimes I asked for the stroopwafel.

  13. I love those Stroopwafels!! Thank god I found their webshop, it is us.stroopwafelsbydaelmans.com. I order once a month a box from them. Just can’t live without

  14. If there are any left on my LGA/IAH flight, I’ll ask the F/A for a goody bag. This way I can mail them to the posters above that enjoy them. 😉

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