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

Mar 17, 2021

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.

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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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.

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.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.