Backlash: United Drops Plan To Ax Hot Meals On International Flights

United Airlines said it would listen to feedback from customers about its proposed plan to ax hot meals for coach passengers on international flights… and it did. The company has decided not to go ahead with the plan. Reader Jason forwarded us the following email from Graham Atkinson, United’s Chief Customer Officer.


Thank you for your direct, candid feedback on the test we had planned to launch in the fourth quarter for food choices on some of our flights. We heard you and have decided not to move forward with the test of offering customers buy-on-board options in United Economy on certain trans-Atlantic flights. We will continue to offer complimentary hot meals on those flights.

The response from you and many of our corporate customers, even before we launched the test, told us what we would have undoubtedly learned had we proceeded – you value our hot meal service in economy class for international flights.

In this environment, where higher costs driven by volatile fuel prices are now the norm, we must continue to tailor products and services so that we provide you with choices and competitive fares. As such, we will continue to be proactive in testing new ideas.

On October 1, we will proceed with the test of new, complimentary options for United Business customers on three-cabin aircraft used for domestic routes, which represents 16 daily flights. Customers on these flights will receive complimentary fresh sandwiches, salads, breakfast, snack boxes or snacks, depending on the length of flight and time of departure. They will also continue to enjoy complimentary beverages, including beer, wine and cocktails. We will evaluate the results and determine next steps by the end of the year.

It’s also important to note that full meals will still be served on our p.s. transcontinental flights.

Thank you again for your feedback. We will continue to listen and make changes that enable us in this environment to provide you with the choices you value.


Graham Atkinson
Chief Customer Officer

The $9 sandwich plan is still in effect domestically, but at least you won’t be starving on a transatlantic flight. If you’d like to let Graham know what you think of this move, here’s some contact information for you.

(Photo: SoCalMetro )