United is bringing complimentary midflight snacks in economy back to international and improving economy pre-arrival breakfast on Eastbound transatlantics.
It’s one more step United is making, albeit this is one that only brings them up to par with the offerings of their major competitors.
Bringing back mid-flight snacks
In June 2015, we began offering a more robust, three-course meal and stopped offering a complimentary mid-flight snack to Economy customers on international flights, adding our Choice Menu Snack Shop items in these markets. A year later, on June 1, 2016, we’ll bring back those mid-flight snacks in response to customer feedback. We will offer a small sandwich and candy on flights over 12 hours as well as flights from Europe to and from the U.S. West Coast.
Better snack before arrival
Our Economy customers have told us that they’d like a more robust breakfast offering on overnight flights from the United States to Europe. In response, beginning June 1, 2016, customers on these flights will receive an enhanced snack just prior to landing in Europe that will include a heated croissant with jam and yogurt, rather than simply a pre-packaged croissant.
United will be introducing illy coffee onboard in a few weeks. They’ve brought back snacks — stroopwafels — in coach. And they’ve improved meals the quality of premium cabin meals.
Their competitors have snacks in coach and have upped their meal quality too although of course complaints remain. (Stroopwafels, though, are delicious.)
Ever since replacing Jeff Smisek, United CEO Oscar Munoz has sought to create a narrative that he — and thus United management — ‘gets it’.
Under previous leadership they went so far as to give their effort to cut $2 billion in costs the Orwellian name, “Project Quality.” Munoz says he wants to serve customers and employees and build a strong culture.
At the same time, United is about to introduce Basic Economy fares that take away benefits from elites. They’re also likely to roll out a new and improved business class seat that’s behind the competition.
And they’ve yet to complete the merger between United and Continental, getting a single contract for flight attendants, which still influences the operation (which planes can go where) and the culture.
There are lots of little things going right at United. I’m flying them much more this year and expect to again next month. But there’s still so much work to do.
It seems interesting that United releases details on meal improvements now, though, rather than saving them for Oscar’s Big Day next week.
United brought back ‘the Friendly Skies’ without friendly people, describing their features and benefits as ‘flyer friendly’.
The actual friendly part doesn’t really cost more, but it’s much harder to create a culture — and the incentives — which foster it.
There’s a long way to go, and the most little things that dribble out separately, the greater the pressure on Munoz to have a big thing when he presents next week in New York.