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United will begin offering free economy meals on select Hawaii flights

July 29, 2021
3 min read
United will begin offering free economy meals on select Hawaii flights
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From gate to gate, United's longest domestic flights clock in at over 10-and-a-half hours. Factoring in time to board and deplane, flyers will spend some 11 hours onboard the aircraft — that's a long time to go without an inflight meal.

As Live and Let's Fly reports, the airline's finally doing something to fix that.

Beginning Aug. 1, economy passengers will get a full meal on select flights to and from Hawaii, bringing United's coach offering closer in line with that of Hawaiian Airlines. The move follows United's earlier sandwich "trials" on select Hawaii flights in 2019 and 2020.

As of this Sunday, passengers on morning flights can expect a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, a croissant and granola bar. For lunch and dinner, the airline will serve Hawaiian quinoa salad with grilled chicken, fresh fruit, Hawaiian bread and dessert. Vegetarians will have the option of Hawaiian-style sweet potato and macaroni rainbow salad, instead of the chicken salad above.

The last time I saw full economy meals in a domestic United cabin was on the carrier's special 747 retirement flight — TPG's Nick Ellis was served the relative feast pictured below.

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Notably, this latest offering won't quite compare with what flyers got on that special Honolulu (HNL) hop — all of the meals be served cold, and will be available on the following routes:

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  • Chicago (ORD) to and from Honolulu
  • Chicago to and from Maui (OGG)
  • Newark (EWR) to and from Honolulu
  • Newark to and from Maui
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) to and from Honolulu

Several other flights will include economy meal service as well, but only on the flights from Hawaii. Those include:

  • Honolulu to Denver (DEN)
  • Honolulu to Houston (IAH)
  • Maui to Denver
  • Maui to Houston

As for what to expect on other carriers, Hawaiian Airlines serves a full hot meal in economy on its flights from Austin (AUS), Boston (BOS), New York-JFK and Orlando (MCO), and a hot sandwich on flights to and from the West Coast. American Airlines offers a meal to coach flyers as well, but only on flights to and from Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW).

United passengers on other Hawaii flights may have the option of purchasing snacks onboard, but inventory is typically limited, so be sure to make your request as early as possible. The airline will also offer a new pre-order option beginning this fall.

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

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more