This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s no secret that we at TPG are fans of first class. Sure, we still get a thrill from the wonder of flight, but flying first-class makes that experience even better. How else can you shower in the sky or sleep in a double bed in a private suite sailing over the Pacific?

Domestic first class doesn’t bring nearly the perks of international first class. However, a more-comfortable chair, a refreshing “PDB” (pre-departure beverage) and a tasty snack or meal sure makes the trip more pleasant than economy. Well, United is cutting back on part of the benefit, at least on “select flights.”

Reports emerged on FlyerTalk on September 1 that United has made some substantial cuts to its meal offerings on domestic first class flights. Here are the full details of the reported changes:

Flights 2:30-2:59 hours [in length]: 
Breakfast: Remove breakfast breads only
Lunch: Two cold meal options and a chocolate truffle (versus one hot and one cold option, mixed nuts/bread/side)
Dinner: One hot meal/one cold meal option (versus two hot options); offers mixed nuts/bread/salad/dessert

Flights 3:00-3:59 [hours in length]
Breakfast/Lunch: No change
Dinner: One hot meal/one cold meal option (versus two hot options); offers mixed nuts/bread/salad/dessert

Flights 4:00-5:24 (excluding transcons) 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner have cold and hot meal options (versus two hot meals)
Pre-plated dessert replaces ice cream/sorbet on lunch/dinner flights

We reached out to United for confirmation of these changes and a spokesperson responded: “We are testing adjustments to meal service in select premium cabin domestic and Canadian flights. This is a test on select flights only.”

It seems like at least some United flights between California to Chicago are among the affected routes. FlyerTalk user jayzala reported receiving two hot meal options on this route a week ago; a week later, he received one hot and old cold option flying the same route.

Another user reported substantial cuts to the catering on his Chicago (ORD) to Houston (IAH) flight. Scheduled for two hours and 40 minutes, this block was seemingly most affected by the changes. He reports:

On Sept. 1st I was one of the first victims of the “improved” menu. This is the “lunch” I was offered on ORD-IAH flight at 12.40. Literally 3 cold, small chicken slices, a leaf of lettuce and “salad.” Nothing else. No dessert, no cookie, no nuts. Crappy, crappy, crappy.

While these changes may seem minor to some, the changes certainly seem to be angering United frequent flyers online. In one forum, some flyers went so far as to say these changes drop United to the bottom of the big three (American, Delta, United) when it comes to on-board meals.

This is a disappointing turn from an airline still recovering from a major PR blunder earlier this year. And it’s a confusing change coming from an airline promising improvements to frequent flyers — who are exactly the ones most angered by these cutbacks.

H/T: View From The Wing

Have you flown United first-class since September 1? If so, have you noticed any differences?

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.