United Introduces Illy Coffee to Flights and Lounges

Nov 20, 2015

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Following former CEO Jeff Smisek’s unexpected retirement, United’s been making a huge push to improve the travel experience — rather than simply launching another massive #flyerfriendly campaign, the airline is actually making a genuine attempt to satisfy customers.

Over the past few months, United’s launched a dedicated feedback website, and introduced a program to allow airport agents to issue instant compensation to disgruntled travelers. Overall, these changes and others — some big, some small — are making United a more pleasant airline to fly with, as the airline continues to better its reputation among travelers (some of whom may even be looking for a new carrier soon).

Drink Illy coffee on United flights in 2016.
Drink Illy coffee on United flights in 2016.

This week, United announced it would be bringing Illy coffee to its in-flight food and beverage selection, in addition to United Clubs on the ground. While a new coffee may not sound like a huge tweak, many business travelers drink plenty of it each day they fly, so quality does indeed matter here. The new coffee won’t be available in-flight until next summer, but starting next month you’ll be able to drink both Illy coffee and cappuccinos in mainland-US United hub lounges. The rest of the airline’s lounges will get Illy in 2016.

As part of the announcement, United also released a video explaining the process for selecting its new coffee, which includes a blind taste test by real travelers during recent United flights. The video outlines how the airline approached the selection and took the variables of air travel into consideration when looking for the best type of coffee. Overall, it’s great to see that the airline is working to improve its in-flight service and experience — or at the very least, catching up with the competition to offer one of the best cups of coffee in the sky.

What do you think about United’s new coffee pick?

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