Predeparture drinks, glassware are making a comeback on United
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.
It’s the day that many United premium-cabin flyers have been waiting for.
The Chicago-based carrier is officially bringing back predeparture beverages in time for the holiday season, a company spokesperson confirmed to TPG.
Beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 23, those seated in the pointy end of United flights will enjoy the choice between sparkling wine and water during the boarding process. This includes both domestic and international routes.
Then, just over a week later, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, beverages will once again be served using glassware and ceramic coffee mugs in premium cabins.
Two varieties of glasses are reintroduced in domestic first class and six different types for international routes, including Champagne flutes and cordial glasses.
Predeparture beverages on domestic routes will be served in plastic cups, and United will use polycarbonate glasses for welcome beverages in Polaris cabins.
The return of predeparture beverages and real glassware has been high on the list of requests from TPG readers and staffers who are also United flyers.
The airline stopped using real glassware and suspended predeparture beverages at the outset of the pandemic. The airline moved to a low-touch service process, which included just a single tray of food served with plastic cups in long-haul Polaris cabins.
Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how the virus is spread. With mask mandates and increasing vaccination rates, many flyers have said that the move to restore glassware and predeparture beverages is long overdue.
You can find the full list of what’s returning below, and note that all United’s glassware is coming out of storage — a spokesperson told TPG that the airline stored its original stock of glasses during the pandemic.
Of the Big 3 U.S. carriers, United has already brought back much of its pre-pandemic inflight catering offerings. The airline is once again serving real meals in domestic first class, and the service in the Polaris and Premium Plus cabins continues to improve, too.
Notably, American Airlines beat United to the punch on restoring glassware; the Fort Worth-based carrier started stocking its jets with real glasses once again on Nov. 10.
Either way, the great news is that United continues to bring back its pre-pandemic offerings, one glass at a time.
United’s glassware offering
Domestic first class
- Highball glasses
- Wine glasses
United Polaris business
- Rock glasses
- Wine glasses
- Flute glasses
- Cordial glasses
- Ceramic mugs
- Polycarbonate glass: used for the welcome beverages on international flights.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
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.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- 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