I mentioned in October the news from Brian Sumers’s blog that United will phase out drink coupons and start providing a complimentary alcoholic beverage to its Premier 1K and Global Services members seated in economy class as a matter of policy. While it’s a small gesture, I believe moves like this are a great way to recognize a loyal customer in person. Trading in a coupon feels much more transactional.
Now United has expanded this to include a free snack — including hot meals, when available. UA Insider shared the news on FlyerTalk yesterday afternoon.
Beginning today, January 20, 2016, we will be offering Premier 1K and Global Services members 1 complimentary beverage and 1 complimentary Choice Menu food item when seated in United Economy for all UA/UAX flights within North America (all 50-state U.S. flights, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America).
As many of you noted back in October 2015, we began offering 1 complimentary drink to our Global Services and Premier 1K members seated in Economy, and this is an expansion of that program to recognize and show appreciation for your business. We are communicating these changes to our internal teams now and an email communication with more details will also be sent to eligible members in the coming days. Before ordering, let your flight attendant know that you are a Global Services or Premier 1K member and show your digital MileagePlus membership card, Premier membership card, or boarding pass.
This is the most generous food and beverage policy that I’m aware of among domestic carriers. American Airlines has long offered a snack, and Alaska Airlines will sometimes provide a chocolate bar. My understanding is that Delta only offers the free drink — and only if you happen to be seated in its Comfort+ extra legroom section. By offering a choice of anything from the menu, even a $9 breakfast scramble or a $10 sandwich, United is going the extra mile.
It’s just one more example of how I think United has finally started to turn the corner from its disastrous customer service and performance issues after the merger. Is this because Jeff Smisek is gone? I really don’t care who’s responsible for the changes as long as they keep coming!