United Airlines has launched a new service enabling economy customers to pre-order meals, snacks and drinks before their flight.
The service – which United says is a first for a US carrier – has launched on selected flights from Chicago to Honolulu, Orange County, Sacramento and San Diego, with plans to roll out it out to all flights over 1,500 miles by early autumn.
Customers can pre-order items up to five days before their scheduled departure, either via the carrier’s website or mobile app.
Eligible customers will see an option in the Reservation Details section of their account, and will also receive an email notifying them when the service is available.
They will be asked to enter credit card information when pre-ordering, but will not be charged until the items are served to them onboard.
In premium cabins customers can select their meal option via United’s website or app.
Earlier this year Spanish flag carrier Iberia launched a similar ‘Deliverfly’ pre-order inflight food service.
United’s new service builds on the carrier’s contactless payment platform, which allows customers to store payment information in a digital wallet attached to their account.
The technology means that customers placing orders inflight can simply confirm their name and seat number to make payment, rather than handing the crew member their credit or debit card.
Commenting on the news Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United, said:
“Our new pre-order option reflects the customer experience transformation taking place at United – customers in our economy cabins will have an easy, convenient way to choose their snack or drink, and our flight attendants can move through the cabin faster, delivering more personalized service.
“This new feature also builds on our existing contactless payment technology, which has enabled us to safely resume our inflight food and beverage programme on select flights.”
United also recently unveiled its refreshed buy-on-board menu, with items including three new Tapas, Takeoff and Recline snack box choices, and new beer options including Breckenridge Brewery Juice Drop Hazy IPA and Michelob Ultra.