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Signature Food and Snacks

Onboard meal and snack options get aligned

IN MERGING UNITED AND CONTINENTAL, we’re making thousands of changes, large and small, to build the airline that people prefer to fly. Our customers are noticing the repainted airplanes and the new signage in several of our largest airports. Other changes that directly affect the customer experience are the food and beverage options presented by our flight attendants.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2012, we will align our premium-cabin North American menus for United and Continental flights. Those changes will give customers an improved in-flight experience. Some of the highlights include the following signature food, snack and service offerings:

* Warmed nuts served in a china ramekin on lunch and dinner flights

* Premium snack baskets on selected flights

* Ice cream sundaes on most long-haul flights

* Warmed, all-natural cookies and scones on selected flights

* Pre-meal refresher hot towel service

A great example is our lunch and dinner service on transcontinental flights between New York-JFK/Newark and Los Angeles/San Francisco. United First and United Business customers will be served multicourse lunch and dinner meals featuring a cold appetizer, a choice of three entrées and an indulgent ice cream sundae. On longer-haul flights between Hawaii and destinations like Chicago, Houston and Newark, customers may satisfy their appetite with refreshment snack baskets and end their journey with a delicious meal of a hot sandwich or wrap served with fruit, salad and dessert.

Earlier this year, we aligned and expanded our alcoholic beverage offerings by introducing top-shelf spirit brands and domestic Budweiser beer in all cabins. We also offer popular specialty cocktails including Salvador’s Margaritas and Trader Vic’s Mai Tais in select markets. Premium-cabin pre-departure services have been standardized and we now offer customers more beverage options during boarding while settling into their seats. We also aligned our North America Choice Menu snacks and fresh food offerings in United Economy, offer sparkling wine in United Economy on flights between the mainland and Hawaii and most international flights, and introduced new and aligned international United Economy meals.

ASK THE PILOT

With Captain Mike Bowers

Q: As a frequent flyer, I’ve noticed that sometimes we encounter turbulence during our initial descent. It may be light or a bit choppy, but it always seems to happen on descent. Why is this?

A: Turbulence is related to either air currents that change in direction or speed, or something called “vertical lifting” that’s usually associated with cumulus clouds. During level flight, we search out the smoothest altitudes available and stay there. In a descent, however, we have to pass through altitudes where air currents are changing in order to land at our destination. While we always try our best to avoid turbulence because we’re aware it can be uncomfortable for passengers, sometimes it’s just unavoidable. At no time, however, would we fly in a weather situation that would put our passengers in any form of danger.

Do you have a question for Captain Bowers? Write to him at askthepilot@united.com.

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