United Is Testing Pre-Order Option for First-Class Meals

Jul 31, 2019

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“Southwestern omelette, please.” It’s a delicious spicy-cheese-stuffed egg dish, with flavorful potatoes and chicken sausage, and my United premium-cabin breakfast go-to, whenever it’s on offer. But more often than not, my request is immediately followed by a curt “what’s your second choice” by the flight attendant. “Uhh… the cold fruit tray, I guess.”

Sometimes, meal requests are prioritized based on elite status, sometimes they’re not. Generally, your best chance of getting the meal you want is to sit near the front of the cabin, or order a special meal — kosher, vegetarian, and so on — in advance. But with American and Delta, you can confirm your in-flight entree before departure, based on the menu planned for your flight. Now, United’s thinking about rolling out a similar option, assuming the carrier’s test this Wednesday goes to plan.

According to United:

A select group of customers seated in United First class with travel scheduled for July 31 from Los Angeles and Washington Dulles received an email inviting the customer to visit a meal reservation page on united.com to select their meal preference from a menu of available options. Customers can select their meal five days before departure and up to 24 hours before their flight. If they choose not to choose a meal they can request from the flight attendant once on board. Our teams will follow up with our customers, review test feedback and adjust as needed.

The airline’s currently working through a “test phase,” though the description above was followed by an offer to share more “when the product is ready for prime time,” so United’s clearly considering a larger rollout. And I’m all for it — while my free same-day change addiction will likely throw a wrench in the works, I’ll certainly be pre-ordering meals whenever possible. Though heartier options on regional-jet flights would be a welcome addition, too:

We’ll be anxiously awaiting the results of this test and hope to see a pre-order option expanding to other United-operated flights in the not-so-distant future.

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