United Airlines will start allowing passengers on select routes to choose their inflight meal in advance. Customers will be able start preordering five days before their departure date.
Who can use the service?
The Points Guy reports that the US-based carrier is rolling out the service on certain flights from Washington Dulles and Los Angeles International. Additionally, only those in premium seats on these operations will be able to preorder for now.
The airline had previously trialed a similar project for some first-class passengers in the summer. Now, it is expanding on this testing to other segments. United is reportedly adding more markets at the beginning of next year, before eventually having its entire network covered.
This is a useful tool for passengers. During my recent United flight from Washington, I saw many fliers informed that their chosen meals were unavailable. Therefore, by having the chance to reserve beforehand, there will be plenty of stomachs happily filled in the air.
How does it work?
United says that it wants to make travel easier and more enjoyable for passengers. This is one of the key reasons why it has introduced this process. Eligible travelers on these flights will receive an email five days before their flight departs. Here, they will be directed to the menu and be given the chance to preorder.
Those flying with other people on the same reservation can also choose their meals at the same time. Furthermore, they can wait up to 24 hours before the flight to choose for them.
Applicable customers can also visit United’s website and log in with their reservation information to get the process going. After choosing an option, a flight attendant will come and confirm the choice while onboard.
However, passengers will want to make sure that they are sure about what they want before choosing. Once selected, customers won’t be able to change their options until they are on the flight. Going by experience, there is no guarantee that the desired meal will be available if someone changes their mind.
United has shared that if a customer’s flight changes, the original order will be canceled. This will then give the chance to select another dining option as fliers will receive a new notification for the new flight.
This is a handy introduction by United and it would be great to have more of its counterparts follow. Earlier this year, Qatar Airways confirmed that it will be allowing certain passengers to start ordering their inflight meal at the time of booking. With tastes increasingly becoming more particular, many passengers will no doubt welcome this move.
Furthermore, this process could help manage expectations within United’s operations. By knowing what its passengers want before flights, they can account for the correct amount of meal options. This will reduce wastage while increasing customer satisfaction.
Simple Flying reached out to United for comment on its preorder initiative but didn’t hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What do you think of United’s decision to introduce preordering for inflight meals? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.