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Predeparture drinks, glassware are making a comeback on United

Nov. 16, 2021
3 min read
Predeparture drinks, glassware are making a comeback on United
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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.

(Photo courtesy of United)

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.

United Polaris mid-pandemic meal. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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.

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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.

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

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 image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
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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  • 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
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    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

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

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