United Revamps First Class Meals With Fresh Sandwiches, Salads And Italian Wine

One of United's new meal options for first class passengers includes a caprese on asiago baguette sandwich - and Italian wine.  Photo courtesy of United Airlines.

One of United’s new meal options for first class passengers includes a caprese on asiago baguette sandwich – and Italian wine. Photo courtesy of United Airlines.

Less than a month after American and US Airways announced they would be cutting first class meals for shorter flights, rival United Airlines is gearing up to take its offerings for top-dollar passengers back a few decades – champagne-like drinks and all.

On Thursday United unveiled new food and beverage options for its premium domestic passengers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The changes will roll out in a series of stages beginning this fall when the airline plans to start pouring complimentary glasses of Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco.

Also this year, revamped meal options will be available for premium passengers on flights lasting longer than two hours and 35 minutes. Those options include new salad entrée choices, chilled sandwiches and wraps, as well as warmed sandwich selections.

Specifically, the changes mean that instead of serving shrimp or chicken salads, passengers can pick from seasonal greens with roast beef and blue cheese, an Asian-style noodle salad and a “Strawberry Fields” salad of greens, chicken, citrus and berries.

The new sandwich options include prosciutto on tomato focaccia, caprese on asiago baguette, and turkey and Swiss cheese on a cranberry baguette, among other choices.

Beginning next year, the airline will expand its new offerings to first-class passengers on flights as short as two hours and 20 minutes. Officials with United say expanding to the shorter flights means the new meals will be offered on more than 100 flights daily.

Top-paying passengers on even shorter flights shouldn’t feel left out. The airline plans to eventually swap out the traditional snack boxes on United Express flights with fresher food options.

United’s revamped food options are still a far cry from the multi-course dining experience offered when the age of flight first began. But the move may prove to be a step above other airlines, like American, that are cutting back on their first class meal options.

Starting Sept. 1. only first-class passengers on American and US Airways-operated flights of at least 1,000 miles will receive three-course meal options. Those on flights shorter than 700 miles can expect to receive “a light snack such as a fig bar, cookies or pretzels,” while flights between 700 and 999 miles offer a “heartier selection of snacks such as sandwiches and fresh fruit.”

United to Serve Up Improved Food on Domestic First-Class Flights [The Wall Street Journal]