Update on Reinvented North America Premium Cabin Dining

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, Jan 21, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
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    UA Insider Official Representative

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    Hi everyone,

    As a follow-up to our announcement last year about several of the planned investments being made to our onboard dining experience, we have a number of details to share about the catering changes you will begin to see in our North America premium cabins beginning Feb 1.

    Here are some of the highlights on mainline flights within the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and leisure markets in Mexico:
    • More flights with meals: Flights of at least 800 miles will be catered with a full meal in United First® and United Business® during meal times.
    • All-new menus: We’ve taken inspiration from our hub cities and popular destinations to create entirely new and fresh entrée selections with more of the flavors and ingredients customers have been telling us they want. Some examples include:
      • Southwestern Houston-style skillet with cage-free scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, sautéed pepper mix, sliced New Mexico sausage, potato gratin, and fire-roasted pepper sauce
      • Lobster Macaroni and Cheese with baked crumb topping and a side of broccoli rabe
      • Shanghai vegetable noodles with vegetable gyoza
    • Greater menu variety: We’ve significantly increased the number of menu selections in our new program throughout the day.
    • Three entrée choices on longer mid-cons: On flights with a scheduled length of four hours to five hours and 19 minutes, the number of entrée choices is increasing from two to three, with one entrée choice continuing to be vegetarian.
    • Expanded multi-course meal service on transcontinental and Hawaii flights: Transcontinental and Hawaii flights will feature heartier multi-course meals.
    • Refreshed breakfast breads, snacks, side salads, bake-on-board cookies, and desserts: Beyond our entirely new entrée selections, we are complementing our reimagined premium cabin dining experience with all-new breakfast breads, 25 new premium snacks that will rotate in our snack baskets with fresh fruit where offered, improved side salads on lunch and dinner flights, new signature bake-on-board cookie flavors crafted exclusively for United by Otis Spunkmeyer®, and the introduction of sorbet and gelato or ice cream dessert courses on longer flights.
    To give you a better idea of what to expect on different mainline United flights after these changes, here is a quick summary of the new North America premium cabin dining program with additional details available on united.com beginning January 23:

    • Less than 199 miles:Beverage service with premium biscotti on morning flights or premium snack mix on afternoon/evening flights.
    • 200 to 799 miles: Light breakfast refreshments (such as scones, muffins, or pound cake) on morning flights or a selection of premium snacks and fresh fruit on flights departing after 10:00am.
      • Note that flights from Chicago O’Hare to/from Hartford, New York LaGuardia, Newark, and from Newark to/from Atlanta will receive full meals when scheduled during traditional meal times
    • 800 to 1,499 miles: Full meal service including 2 entrée choices on most flights departing between 5:00am and 8:00pm. Lunch service will consist of a choice of a protein salad served with soup or premium sandwich paired with a side salad, and dinner service will consist of a choice between a hot entrée served with a side salad or a protein salad with hot soup. On flights departing between 1:30pm and 3:59pm, and all flights departing after 8:01pm, a selection of premium snacks and fresh fruit will be offered.
    • 1,500 to 2,299 miles: Full meal service on flights departing between 5:00am and 9:00pm, including 3 entrée choices, with sorbet dessert and mint leaf on lunch flights, and gelato or ice cream with choice of toppings for dessert on dinner flights. On flights departing after 9:01pm, a selection of premium snacks and fresh fruit will be offered.
    • Longer than 2,300 miles: Transcontinental and Hawaii flights will offer a full multi-course meal service with 3 entrée choices on flights departing before 9:00pm, a mid-flight snack selection of premium packaged snacks and fresh fruit on longer-haul Hawaii flights, and a pre-arrival refreshment or snack on all flights.
    • p.s. Premium Service (New York JFK to/from Los Angeles and San Francisco): International quality multi-course meals with 3 entrée choices topped off by our signature ice cream sundae on lunch or dinner flights, with a pre-arrival refreshment service of bake-on-board cookies for afternoon or evening arrivals, and breakfast breads on morning arrivals.
    Beginning in March, premium cabin meals on United Express flights will be upgraded to freshly prepared food on flights of at least 800 miles, and premium packaged snacks on flights less than 800 miles. Later this year, we will also have more details to share on enhancements to our long-haul international United Economy meals and beverages including multi-course meal service, a refresh of our Choice Menu Bistro on Board menu, and new menu choices on our p.s. Premium Service routes in United BusinessFirst®.

    We hope many of you have the opportunity to experience these new dining options and provide some fresh material to share online!

    UA Insider
     

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
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  2. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Hmm.
     
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  3. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Looks like I might be able to sample the new product offerings next month on several flights. :D
     
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  4. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    Praises be to the dear respected Supreme Leader Jeff Smisek for this glorious enhancement to our in-flight nourishment! @UAInsider, I hope you will continue to share such wonderful news throughout 2015.
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Cautiously optimistic because a change, any change, could only be for the better...;)
    I am taking the JFK-SFO p.s. three days after this launches, and will be sure to report on the new "International quality multi-course meals with 3 entrée choices topped off by our signature ice cream sundae on lunch or dinner flights.."
     
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  6. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Thanks for sharing, UA Insider. We appreciate the info.
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    My read of the announcement is that the p.s. meals are going to be the same as they are today until an as-yet-unannounced date where the new entrees will be introduced:
    I wouldn't expect too much different on February 4th from what has been served in recent months.
     
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  8. UA/Travel_!_Junky

    UA/Travel_!_Junky Active Member

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    So I see Hawaii is mentioned in the article but I see nothing about Alaska.... I'm flying F from DEN next month which is a 6hr flight I hope I see this service on that flight since it's in the range of the Hawaii mileage 2,405 to be exact. Just saying.....
     
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This is confusing, at best. The way I read it is that they will have
    • Expanded multi-course meal service on transcontinental and Hawaii flights [that] will feature heartier multi-course meals
    on February 1 and then from March and beyond there will be enhancements to long-haul intl meals and new menu choices for p.s.

    We'll find out soon enough...
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    In that the p.s. flights are called out separately I do not believe they are included in the "transcon" designation. Those would be the EWR/IAD transcons, I believe. UA has used similar terminology distinctions in the past.
     
  11. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I would hope that flights between the West Coast and select markets on the East Coast fell into this categorization such as i.e SFO-FLL, SFO-BOS, SFO-RDU, and so on.
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The following also supports my interpretation that there will be change on Feb 1, even on p.s.:
    • p.s. Premium Service (New York JFK from Los Angeles and San Francisco): International quality multi-course meals with 3 entrée choices topped off by our signature ice cream sundae on lunch or dinner flights, with a pre-arrival refreshment service of bake-on-board cookies for afternoon or evening arrivals, and breakfast breads on morning arrivals.
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Is any of that different from what's on offer today in the p.s. BF cabin? It sounds a lot like what I've had there for a while now.
    Yeah...those, too. :)
     
  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The language is clearly open to interpretation but it's no biggie. We'll find out soon enough...
     
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  15. eap
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    eap Silver Member

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    Sadly, as I found out today, there are downsides to this "enhancement". UA1025 (3:59pm departure, IAH-IAD) no longer includes dinner service. According to the new North American Premium cabin dining rules this is correct: 1,190 miles at 3:59pm. Were the flight one minute later, a meal would be provided.

    To make things worse, this flight had dinner service through January 31st, and the confirmation on United.con shows "Meal: Dinner". The flight attendant working first class was dumbstruck as well -- she has worked the evening flight to DC for years, and could not believe that a meal service was no longer provided.

    Yet another "enhancement" gone awry.
     
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  16. chrislacey
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    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    Some have reported that the in-flight amenities page when looking at flight status does show the newer updated meals (or lack thereof), while reservations and also the flight search tool aren't showing them correctly (at least of yesterday when I checked). I'm still interested in hearing about/seeing pictures of the new meals. The one set of pictures posted @ TOBB were just so-so. Who knows when they'll have everything updated. We all know the website isn't always a good source of accurate information :D
     
  17. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    I've flown UA, DL, and AA all in domestic F over the last few weeks. Food alone, the offering across the carriers was pretty comparable ...with some items better than others at different times.

    But where UA is in a distant third place is the "sales/marketing" by their FA's when it comes to food & drink options.

    On AA, the FA's went through great length to explain the wine offering, even giving a little back story on the origin of the wines/winery. I didn't think the quality of the AA wine was much better than DL or UA's, but the story and presentation made it so much better than UA's typical "well, we have red wine and we have white wine. what color do you want?"

    On a recent DL flight, for a departure drink, I asked for a Jack & Coke. The Flight Attendant pointed out that they stocked Jack Daniels Honey Whisky and asked if I ever tried it; I said no, and he suggested I try a Honey & Ginger ale --it was delightful! During the dinner selection, the FA described in great detail the dinner options, using colorful adjectives to describe each component of the meal...even suggesting an option that'd compliment my drink preference. To contrast, on my last UA flight, the choices were "chicken, fish, or some vegetarian thing"; when I questioned what exactly were each dish, I got a shrug and a "well, what do you want?"

    Why can't the UA FA's learn a little bit about the catering and present it better? Rather than "red or white", why not explain what the bottle is and where it's from? A "pinot noir from the Heller winery in the Carmel Valley of California" sounds better than "red." Rather than "chicken or fish", why not be knowledgeable of what it is and explain that the "fish" is really a "grilled salmon with a lemon/cream/dill sauce, accompanied by fresh grilled asparagus spears and zucchini slices"?

    It's a disservice that UA is investing in revamping the premium dining experience when it comes to the menus, but not into the FA's who talk up and present such.
     
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  18. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    No doubt because of the line, "We're here for your safety only." And therefore service is secondary/non-essential. I've heard that line so many times.
     
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  19. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Because the same is true for why FA's are on DL/AA, perhaps United flights are that much more dangerous and require that FAs be ready for the next emergency moreso than the competition?
     
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  20. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    DEN-EWR today had three very good sounding choices (I had the chili with cornbread & very much enjoyed it). After dinner, there was sundae service (choices taken and made in the galley rather than on the cart in the aisle).

    Very much a change I like!
     
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  21. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    hello all:
    recently, I flew a hub-to-hub (IAD-IAH) on the 767 (dinner flight). The two entree choices were Chicken salad or Chicken Tandoori.; No veggie options (the salad was pre-plated with chicken..in case anyone wondered).

    However, today I flew IAH-SEA (lunch flight). 3 entree choices - two chicken; one spinach ravioli (veggie option).
    Meal was followed by a sorbet, which was presented at the correct temperature.

    I wish UA would make a veggie choice as standard.....I know it is unlikely they will do it for domestic flights.
    I do pack my own food if flying UA domestic. (and if I know I will be hungry during flight).

    Here are pics of my meal from IAH-SEA today.

    UA IAH-SEA Spinach Ravioli.jpg UA IAH-SEA Sorbet.jpg
     
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  22. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    While it's nice UA has more and more gluten free choices available, it'd be even nicer if they had dairy free options too. It seems that they sneak in cheese at any chance they can, including in the melon salad. Maybe they can make cheese a plating option where FAs can include or exclude tossing it on whatever. There are far more people with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance than there are with gluten sensitivity, and I for one would appreciate a dish option that wasnt drowning in dairy.
     
  23. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    I will report Hawaii choices soon. I am making two crossings in F shortly.
     
  24. snod08
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    Oatmeal breakfast - SEA-DEN
    The oatmeal as such was fine.

    Yogurt and milk were Kosher-Dairy.

    There was a small pack of dried fruit pieces (in that white paper bag); I did not eat it as it was very high in sugar content.

    A biscuit was offered. I did not eat that either as the biscuit was incredibly salty!

    Some of the fruit had some black-ish stuff on the side (not visible in picture). i did not investigate further.

    UA SEA-DEN breakfast Oatmeal.jpg
     
  25. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    The meals are more interesting and have slightly higher quality ingredients than they used to. But I have had shaji paneer 3 times in a month now. I seem to remember a big announcement about their menus several years ago, followed by the same dried out rosemary chicken with overcooked green beans, for years, until they changed it last month. I hope that they don't serve shaji paneer for the next 5 years, but something tells me that they may.
     

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