United Is Finally Replacing Those Cheap Blue Plastic Cups

Jun 28, 2018

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You book a $13,000 first-class ticket from Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT), have a blast at the Polaris Lounge then board United’s three-cabin 777-200, where a flight attendant asks what you’d like to drink just before departure. Perhaps you order an Old Fashioned — an arguably sophisticated drink for a US-based airline — and then it arrives. In this super-cheap-looking blue plastic cup:

United’s current pre-departure beverage cup. Photo by Zach Honig.

While this might seem like a minor detail to most flyers, some seem to feel that United’s “signature” blue cup really cheapens the experience quite a bit — and that’s absolutely something the airline should want to avoid when it’s charging as much for a one-way flight as you’d normally pay to own a small car, especially considering what you get on most international and even other US-based airlines.

These blue cups have been the go-to for pre-departure beverages in United’s domestic first class and regional biz, and they made their way to the Polaris cabins once the original plastic Champagne flute was retired.

Initially, United served Polaris pre-departure beverages in a special Champagne flute. Photo by Zach Honig.

Fortunately, the airline’s confirmed that those blue cups are finally on the way out.

“A United branded polycarbonate plastic cup will replace the current blue cups which are used to serve pre-departure beverages in Business, Polaris and first class cabins. They are safer since they aren’t glass and lend themselves to better sustainability.”

These new cups will be reusable, and while I haven’t been able to track down a picture just yet, they can’t possibly be less appealing than the blue cups used today. They’re expected to make an appearance on domestic and international flights beginning on August 1.

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