Yesterday I noted that American is ramping up its investment in onboard cookies.
Implicit is an acceptance that soft product matters, even if the most important things are, in order:
Premium cabins need some minimum standard meal, and minimum standard of attentive service.
Onboard entertainment is believed to matter, which is why airlines continue to either install heavy expensive equipment or hand out tablets. Most frequent flyers I talk to say that it continues to matter, though I don’t understand it myself, I’d rather take control of my own entertainment and download shows in advance to my personal devices.
I’d take onboard internet over entertainment, even when the internet won’t stream video, every day.
On long flights, seat power matters.
On my piece on cookies, I noted that United is bringing back bread plates in domestic first class.
United’s not a free spending airline, last summer they were talking $2 billion in cost cuts and getting as granular as buying cheaper nuts and eliminating garlic bread and ketchup from certain flights.
But they’re seeing the importance of passenger experience, and as the economy improves there are more premium customers to compete for.
Matthew Klint offers a good synopsis of several improvements that United announced, some of which go into effect today.
New menus including a newly-redesigned breakfast menu
Examples include french toast, steel-cut oatmeal, and a new southwestern skillet for breakfast plus lobster macaroni and cheese for lunch
More menu choices including three choices on longer mid-con flights and sorbet or gelato for dessert
Expanded meal hours on mid-con and transcon flights
Flights departing before 9:01p will have full meal service (previously it was 6:59p)
Multi-course meal service on transcon and Hawaiian flights
Three meal choices, mid-flight refreshment, pre-arrival snack
Starting in March 2015, meal service on regional jets flights over 800 miles, served on chinaware
Enhanced meals in long-haul economy class coming later in the year
See Matthew’s post for the full announcement from United. I’m not impressed by ‘Lobster Macaroni and Cheese’ – the Westin near my office offers that as an evening bar snack special for $5, and I’m confident that’ll be better than what United is able to replicate in the air. Clearly they’re buying the ability to say ‘lobster’ in their meals.
We’re not talking about any of these, of course:
Lobster thermidor, Singapore business class, Singapore – Bali (1037 miles)
- Lobster Pad Thai, Thai Airways first class, Bangkok – Beijing (2056 miles)
- Lobster thermidor, Singapore first class, Tokyo – Singapore (3324 miles)
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