When Oscar Munoz took over from disgraced United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek the airline rolled out modest customer experience improvements as part of an overall attempt to change the narrative of the airline.
- Illy coffee
- Stroopwafels as complimentary snacks in coach
Illy coffee is a fantastic brand, a personal favorite, though the water that goes into making coffee and cabin pressurization present challenges to delivery. Stroopwafels are delicious.
Now however United is out with word that stroopwafels are being pulled from their aircraft in favor of new maple flavored cookies, starting this weekend.
This cookie will be available on flights departing before 9:45 a.m.
This new snack, created especially for the airline by Byrd Cookie Company, is a maple wafer cookie that combines a crunchy texture with a sweet maple flavor. The new snack will begin to roll out on flights as early as this weekend.
…Google Trends data [shows] an increase in searches related to maple and many heralding it as the “next pumpkin spice.”
“We know that maple is an increasingly appealing flavor, and we are always looking for ways to capitalize on trends in taste buds,” Vice President of Catering Operations Charlean Gmunder said. “We are excited to offer our customers a light, crisp snack that is created by a woman-owned bakery.”
Stroopwafels will remain on flights departing Europe prior to 9:30 a.m. which includes flights like their first London – Newark and London – Chicago services, and United says “[t]he Stroopwafel will be available again in the future as the airline rotates between morning snack options.”
Last month United eliminated meals on domestic flights under 4 hours outside of dinner time, and then brought them back under customer pressure. Though they claimed this is what customers wanted, it was clearly a cost-cutting measure.
From a customer standpoint there’s no reason to swap out stroopwafels. And United’s release, in promoting how awesome maple flavor is, does nothing to explain why this change is a benefit. So I take it as a decision being made for reasons other than that.
We’re a long way from the time when United replaced galley carts with ones specially-designed to keep McDonald’s burgers warm while the lettuce and bun stayed cool.
Stroopwafels were framed by the airline as symbolizing improvements in the customer experience that were going to be made by the new regime, so seeing them pulled — whether for mere ‘rotation’ or not — is striking. Still I’m looking forward to tasting the maple.