MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.
Early during the pandemic, U.S. airlines quickly moved to scale back their inflight service offerings. It was part of an effort to minimize interactions between passengers and crew, improve sanitation and reduce costs at a time when some airlines were losing as much as $100 million per day.
Now, as more travelers take to the skies, carriers are beginning to add amenities back in. American is offering sandwiches in premium cabins on most longer flights, for example. But Delta is still a mixed bag — literally, passengers get a mixed bag (or, in some cases, box) of snacks, even in first class.
Similarly, United has been limiting premium-cabin passengers to snack boxes on most flights, though the airline is stepping up its offerings beginning Oct. 1. As of that date, passengers can expect a handful of service boosts.
First, on domestic flights over two hours and 20 minutes departing from United’s “catering hubs” — Chicago (ORD), Cleveland (CLE), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington, D.C. (IAD), plus Honolulu (HNL) to LAX and SFO — premium-cabin passengers will have a choice of the following:
- Morning flights: Everything bagel baguette with veggie cream cheese or Turkey Monte with Raspberry Jam
- Afternoon/evening flights: Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Focaccia or Carved Roasted Chicken on Italian Flatbread
- All flights: Snack box, if preferred
First-class passengers will also be served a hot entree, along with a salad, bread, nuts and dessert on fights to Hawaii from Chicago, Denver, Houston, Guam, Newark and Washington.
Sign up for TPG’s new biweekly aviation newsletter
As for economy, the airline will once again offer coffee and tea on any flight with beverage service and cups of water will be available, in addition to the small bottles provided in the airline’s all-in-one snack bags.
Meanwhile, on long-haul international flights, United is already serving a full meal in all cabins. Now, the airline will be adding ice cream to most flights from the U.S. as well, except for flights to Dublin (DUB) and India. Ice cream will also be available on flights from Europe, except Dublin, and in premium cabins on premium transcon flights.
The big challenge with serving larger meals, of course, is that passengers will need to remove their masks for a longer period of time.
That’s why TPG’s Summer Hull argues for less service during the pandemic, not more, and I’d have to agree — the risk of being stuck near a passenger who’s removed their mask is the biggest thing keeping me from flying right now.
Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.
And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Gallery: Inside Thai Airways’ new restaurant that’s serving in-flight meals for customers who miss eating plane food (INSIDER)