My first experience with United's "enhanced" meal service

Last week, UA announced changes to their premium class meal service on North American flights. I had a chance to try out some of the changes earlier this week.

SFO-IAD, UA792, departing 2300

For years, UA has offered a fruit and cheese plate or deli plate on all redeye flights in domestic First Class. I usually order the Hindu or Moslem meal on these flights, but did not order a special meal this week in order to try out UA's new panini served on overnight flights and all flights longer than 1,650 miles that do not depart during traditional (read: since when is 7:01p too late for dinner, but I digress) meal windows.

Here it is:

I was disappointed by the sandwich. Although the bread has the panini grill marks on it, it was soggy and lukewarm. And although I appreciated the whole wheat bread from a health perspective, it wasn't "panini" bread. Also there was no cheese, only two small slices of turkey, and a few red pepper slices. It tasted like I was eating bread.

The salad, chips, and cookies were fine, though I would have preferred a side of fruit rather than an iceberg lettuce salad before trying to sleep. And why the Knott's Berry Farm packaged cookie along with the hot chocolate chip cookie?

I really do appreciate UA trying hard to spruce up their meal service, but I would like to see a choice on redeye flights: fruit and cheese plate *or* a hot panini. The guy sitting next to me took one bite of his sandwich and left the rest of it. If UA is going to offer a panini, they ought to make it right. I will be ordering my special meal again next time.


DEN-SFO, UA595, 1840 departure

UA now offers a full dinner service on all flights over 760 miles departing during the dinner window. Before last week's change, only a salad or a pasta dish (with no sides) was offered on Denver-West Coast flights. The choices were sirloin steak with rice and broccoli and a side salad or pasta with salad. Hot nuts to start, bread with the meal, and a hot cookie for dessert.

The steak, cooked medium, was excellent (for an airline steak) and the overall meal was very satisfying. A big thumbs up to UA for upgrading the meal service on this route. The new wine glasses are also nice, even if UA is still offering "Two Buck Chuck."


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