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United to increase meal service on domestic flights

United Airlines' Strawberry Fields salad is one of four new premium-cabin entrée salads on North America flights.
United Airlines' Strawberry Fields salad is one of four new premium-cabin entrée salads on North America flights.
Photo provided by United Airlines and used with permission.

United Airlines announced yesterday it will be increasing or upgrading the meal service on many flights within the United States. Some of the changes will take place in August or September but the majority will not take effect until February 2015. The airline will offer a new assortment of premium salads for customers flying United First and United Business within North America. New, premium sandwiches and wraps will begin next month.

"These changes mark the beginning of an extensive overhaul of our North America and international food service, offering travelers a level of service above that offered by our peers," said Lynda Coffman, United's vice president of food services in the company’s press release. "Our new selections offer customers more of what they tell us they want when they travel – variety, bold flavor combinations and higher quality."

The change will only affect flights of 800 miles or more. Unless a Detroit passenger is making connections to longer domestic flight the only market that will see an impact will be the nonstop service between Detroit and Houston.

Due to the cost of a premium class ticket, most traveling in the first class cabin are frequent or business travelers. Those taking United flights that are members of competitive airline alliances, normally business travelers, know to check the ticket price difference as often it can be very small. Those in upper economic cultures also fly first class often.

Earlier this year Delta announced an upgrade to the food service at its Sky Club lounges in the United States. This will bring the lounges operated by Delta into alignment with other lounges operated by Sky Team members by adding hot foods during meal times throughout the day. Previously Delta only offered limited cold foods GUY Team members and other countries have offered anywhere from one or two hot selections to entire buffets.

Sky Team’s European travelers going through Amsterdam enjoy hot cereal and eggs in the morning with soup, sandwiches and another revolving hot selection later in the day. In Korea gold, platinum and diamond members enjoy Ramen noodles, soups and several other hot dishes throughout the day. Tokyo always features delicious Ramen noodles. At the Kenya Airways lounge in Nairobi an entire hot buffet is served featuring local beef and chicken entrées.