United Airlines will begin offering free in-flight snacks to economy customers flying within North America and Latin America from February 2016.
The complimentary snacks are part of the Star Alliance member’s campaign to improve its in-flight dining experience, which begins with the rollout of Illy coffee to United Clubs in the US mainland this month, and onto flights worldwide next summer.
While complimentary snacks are traditionally offered to passengers flying on domestic full-service flights in Asia-Pacific, the situation is very different in the US. As a means of cutting costs, many US-based carriers do not offer gratis onboard food to economy passengers. According to NBC News, this cost-saving measure has saved United about US$2.5 million a year.
The types of complimentary snack offered will depend on the time of departure of individual flights. Customers departing before 0945 will receive a morning stroopwafel, a Dutch, caramel-filled waffle, while those departing after 0945 will be offered packaged savory snacks such as an Asian-style snack mix of rice crackers, sesame sticks and wasabi peas or a zesty-ranch mix of mini pretzel sticks, Cajun corn sticks and ranch soy nuts.
Snack mix of rice crackers, sesame sticks and wasabi peas
“We're refocusing on the big and little things that we know matter to our customers and shape how they feel about their travel experience," said Jimmy Samartzis, United's vice president of food services and United Clubs.
"We're bringing back complimentary snacks that are a nod to our global presence. They also add that extra level of service our employees will be proud to deliver, and will make a big difference for our customers."
For more information, visit united.com