Free booze is now available in coach on all United Airlines and United Express domestic flights – but only if you’re a special frequent flier.
United Airlines told employees this week that its Premier 1K and Global Services customers now receive one free drink on all flights. Most booze qualifies, but United says you’ll still have to pay for the 375ML “premium” wines.
…One of my favorite parts about these United internal announcements are the suggested scripts. Here are two optional lines flight attendants may use:
- “Good afternoon Mr. Johnson, as a Global Services –or-1K customer, I’d like to offer you a complimentary beverage today.”
- “Good evening Ms. Smith, as a Global Services –or- 1K customer, we invite you to have your first drink on us.”
- United has sent out 10 free drink coupons a year to 100,000 mile flyers for eons. You even used to be able to ask for extra coupons.
- In recent years Platinum members have gotten 5 free drink coupons.
- The first drink free for 1K and Global Service members policy may replace free drink coupons. That could mean the end of free drinks for Platinum members.
- In practice flight attendants often didn’t collect the free drink coupons. You could have more than one free drink on a flight with the coupons, and the coupons lasted more than 10 drinks total.
- With coupons you could buy someone else a drink, given them a drink chit. How often are most Global Services members in domestic coach anyway?
United won’t give away their premium wines even to Global Services members often spending $50,000 or more with the airline in a year or directing substantial corporate business to the airline still have to buy those.
And there’s no free snack benefit in coach. That makes United less generous than American and Delta.
Delta got rid of their free drink coupon for non-upgraded elites who checked in online (Delta was the most generous with free drinks, giving those to Golds even). Delta does now offer a free drink/snack in their extra legroom economy section (though elites not in ‘Comfort+’ no longer get a free drink).
American gives a free drink and free snack to their 100,000 mile Executive Platinum members in seated in coach.
Free drinks are serious business, Southwest Airlines just settled a class action lawsuit over their inflight drink coupons…