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United’s inflight food and beverage offerings are getting a makeover

March 17, 2021
4 min read
United’s inflight food and beverage offerings are getting a makeover
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The next time you fly with United, you might want to check the menu.

On Wednesday, the Chicago-based carrier announced a host of updates to its inflight food and beverage offerings, according to an internal memo confirmed by the airline.

Starting on April 1, the revamped onboard dining menu will be available on select flights between Hawaii and several hub locations, with the full list of eligible routes below. Flyers will have a choice of new snack boxes, a la carte snacks and a variety of alcoholic beverages, including White Claw, making United the only airline serving this fan-favorite drink onboard.

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United also is unveiling two new snack boxes, Takeoff and Recline, joining the existing Tapas box which will continue to be offered for purchase.

The Takeoff box includes protein-filled fare, including salami, cheese and dried fruits, very similar to today's Select snack box. The assortment will sell for $10.

(Photo courtesy of United)

The new $8 Recline box will include popcorn, pretzels, Oreos and gummy bears.

(Photo courtesy of United)

In addition to snack boxes, United has historically sold individually packaged munchies, like chips and mixed nuts. The carrier is introducing three new options, to join the existing $4 can of Pringles.

This will include a trail mix, dark chocolate-dipped dried bananas and sweet potato chips with salsa. Each will retail for $5.

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Finally, on to the good stuff.

UA's got four new alcoholic beverages available for purchase for $8 each, including Michelob Ultra, Breckenridge Brewery juice drop hazy IPA, White Claw mango hard seltzer and Kona Brewing Co. big wave golden ale.

Related: Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight

Domestic premium-cabin flyers can enjoy all the new beverages, including White Claw, for free. The only new beverage for international Polaris cabins will be Michelob Ultra, replacing Miller Lite.

When United debuts the revamped dining offerings, the carrier will exclusively accept contactless payment through the United app for those seated in coach.

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.

(Screenshot courtesy of United)

MileagePlus frequent flyers can store a debit or credit card in their traveler profile, and it will automatically be available for all future trips where contactless payment is available. If you’re not a MileagePlus member or choose not to save a payment method to your profile, you’ll be prompted to temporarily store a card during online and in-app check-in.

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.

Starting April 1, the new for-purchase menu offerings will be available on flights between Honolulu (HNL) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR) and Guam (GUM), as well as on service between Maui (OGG) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD).

Less than two weeks later, on April 12, United will expand the options to all Hawaii flights over six hours, as well as premium transcon service, including:

  • Flights between Denver (DEN), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Newark (EWR), Houston (IAH), Guam (GUM) and Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kona (KOA) and Lihue (LIH)
  • Transcon flights between Newark (EWR), Boston (BOS), New York-JFK and San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX)

You can find the full menu details in the soon-to-debut app-based digital menu, or on United's new dedicated webpage: United.com/snacktime

United's all-in-one snack bag (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

As for when we can expect these new offerings to debut network-wide, United told TPG that the current plan calls for a gradual ramp-up this summer. Of course, that timeline likely assumes infections remain low and the accelerated pace of vaccinations continues.

Until then, most coach flyers should consider purchasing some food in the airport before departure. Otherwise, snack choices will be limited to United's all-in-one snack bag.

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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023