United’s bringing back plated meal service in domestic first class
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Premium-cabin passengers traveling with United this summer are in for a big (culinary) upgrade.
On Wednesday, United announced that it’s bringing back plated meal service for domestic first-class flyers starting on June 15.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!
The new meals will include a choice of entrees, as well as a side dish and dessert. United teased some of the menu items in its announcement, including:
- Breakfast: Egg scramble with plant-based chorizo OR Belgium waffle with bourbon berry compote, served with a side of a peach-flavored Greek yogurt parfait.
- Lunch/dinner: grilled chicken breast with orzo and lemon basil pesto OR vegetarian enchilada with chile verde, served with a side of Spanish rice.
For dessert, United’s partnering with Chicago-based Eli’s Cheesecake on a chocolate pie flavor called “Pie in the Sky.”
To minimize contact and promote safety, all meals will be served individually wrapped on one tray. First-class passengers can also enjoy a full selection of complimentary beverages, including new alcoholic options, like mango-flavored White Claw or Breckenridge Brewery Juice Drop Hazy IPA.
When the new meals launch on June 15, they’ll exclusively be available in the forward cabin on domestic routes over 1,500 miles and on hub-to-hub flights over 800 miles or two hours or longer. United’s seven domestic hubs are Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington Dulles (IAD).
United didn’t have any pictures to share of the new meals, but they’ll almost certainly be an upgrade compared to the snack boxes and hot sandwiches that are currently offered on select routes.
These sandwiches have received poor reviews from both readers and TPG reporters alike. On a recent United flight from Chicago (ORD) to Bozeman (BZN), TPG’s Zach Honig selected the 650-calorie carved chicken sandwich, only to find it filled with more cheese than chicken.
When United reintroduces first-class meals, it’ll become the first of the Big 3 U.S. airlines to do so. American serves fresh snacks and light bites in the forward cabin, while Delta only offers pre-packaged snack boxes, though the Atlanta-based carrier is planning to offer fresh boxed meals beginning in early July, with more details to come.
First-class passengers aren’t the only ones receiving a meal upgrade — United’s also expanding its buy-on-board alcohol and snack program to even more domestic flights this summer.
Starting June 1, coach passengers on flights over 800 miles will be able to purchase any of the following:
- White Claw Mango ($8)
- Breckenridge Brewery Juice Drop Hazy IPA ($8)
- Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale ($8)
- Michelob Ultra ($8)
- Stella Artois ($8)
- Red, white and sparkling wine options ($9)
Roughly two weeks later, on June 15, United will then expand its for-purchase snack options for flights of similar length, including:
- Pringles ($4)
- Trü Frü Banana Bites ($5)
- Food Should Taste Good Chips & Salsa ($5)
- GourmetNut Mega Omega Trail Mix ($5)
- Tapas ($10), Takeoff ($10) or Recline ($8) snack box
Previously, these snacks and drinks were only available on select premium transcon routes and on flights to Hawaii.
As United expands its revamped dining offerings, the carrier will exclusively accept contactless payment through the United app.
When the flight attendant passes by your row, you’ll be asked if you want to purchase a snack or drink. If you do, the crew will pull up your profile on a mobile tablet and charge your stored payment method. Receipts will be emailed, keeping the purchase process completely touchless — in line with guidance from the Cleveland Clinic.
Top-tier Premier 1K and invite-only Global Services members seated in coach will continue to receive a complimentary snack box and alcoholic drink, subject to availability.
Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees