The days of surf and turf are now numbered for United customers traveling in first class cabins within the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and most of Mexico, because eating chicken and shrimp salads is sooo 2013.
Today, United unveiled its newly-redesigned menu for premium customers starting on September 1, 2014 for flights over 900 miles in length, or two approximately hours and twenty minutes in duration.
Of course, United will still continue to serve mostly sandwiches and wraps on the majority of their short-to-medium haul first and business class flights, but with several upgrades to give premium customers greater choices and new flavors.
Per United’s website, the four major changes entail:
- New, premium sandwiches and wraps, beginning Sept. 1, for United First and United Business customers within North America;
- Addition of Prosecco sparkling wine in premium cabins beginning this fall;
- Introduction of premium-cabin meals to flights of shorter duration, beginning in 2015; and
- Fresh meal options for premium-cabin customers on United Express flights, beginning in 2015.
Instead of receiving two choices for salads, United customers will now receive four options (depending on flight) ranging from a Southwestern salad, an Asian-style noodle salad, a seasonal greens with roast beef and blue cheese salad, or a strawberry fields salad.
United’s new Strawberry and Fields salad picture (source: United)
Doesn’t that make your mouth water just a bit?
In addition, United’s premium cabin sandwiches will feature a selection of new wraps, including an Italian prosciutto on tomato focaccia, a Thai-style chicken wrap, a Cobb salad wrap and caprese on Asiago baguette. Salad and sandwich entrees will still come with a gluten-free soup, bread, warm cookie and beverage of choice.
And – get this – while no word has been mention on the fate of the surprisingly tasty inflight McJeff cheeseburger – United will serve WARMED sandwiches such as turkey and swiss on cranberry baguette, ham and swiss on pretzel baguette, chicken and mozzarella on tomato focaccia and roast beef and cheddar on Asiago baguette at dinner and lunchtime on flights between 900 and 1,299 miles, and at lunchtime on flights between 1,300 and 2,299 miles.
I must say, although I am no longer a United flier, these menu options make me nostalgic for my Chicago days when I feasted on local favorites for lunch, including Hannah’s Bretzel, Freshii, Roti Grill – ah, those were the days! This menu certainly seems to carry some inspiration from those local chains.
The concept of adding bubbly is also long overdue. I was surprised that all these years, American offered inflight champers on their domestic services, yet United did not. Prosecco is definitely going to be well-received, especially after a long work week for business travelers.
Still, no word on updates to any breakfast menu items for United customers, so the Jeff McMuffin may still be here to stay for awhile. Hopefully, United will receive positive responses to their newly designed lunch and dinner menus to make some enhancements to the breakfast menu to be more healthy (or hearty).
Although not elaborated in further detail, United also mentioned that in 2015, premium cabin meals would also be upgraded on United Express flights from the current snackbox offering to freshly prepared food items, and that later on down the road, United Economy meals on long-haul international flights would also receive a “significant” enhancement.
In addition, ABC News reports that passengers will expect to receive full meal services on 13 extra routes, such as Houston to Des Moines, Iowa, starting in February. Special exceptions to the 900 mile route rule will also be key business and hub-to-hub routes such as:
- Chicago to/from Boston, Denver, New York LaGuardia and New York/Newark
- Denver to/from Houston Intercontinental and Los Angeles
- New York/Newark to/from Atlanta (effective November 2014)
The move does come as a slight blow to former United customers who may have transferred their loyalty to American, which announced earlier this month that it would cut food service in its premium cabins on shorter flights. American’s cut-off for hot meal service was raised to over 1,000 miles, with some exceptions, whereas previously, customers in premium cabins could expect to receive a hot meal on flights over 700 miles.
This is certainly a positive piece of news for United, amid a fairly negative 2014. Of course, the bucket list remains with necessary upgrades such as a new website, more on-board Wi-Fi, improved on-time performance rate and friendlier employees, but hey, why not cut United a break today.
Now, time to run over to Cosi today to get a roast beef and blue cheese salad…#Inspiration.