Review of Upgraded United Club Food

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A couple of months ago it was announced that the United Clubs were getting a (much needed) upgrade of their complimentary food offerings to include “a modernized menu, higher-quality ingredients, and hot items in both morning and afternoon/evening.”  The new food rolled out in Chicago first, but was said to the other domestic hubs until summer, and all locations by the end of the year.

Since I hadn’t been through Chicago in the last few months I hadn’t yet seen the new offerings in person until today.  To my surprise, the United Club in Terminal C in Houston was devoid of the normal packages of cheese, crackers, and carrots, and in their place were new offerings including hummus, breads, hot soup, and more.

Before I get to a review of the items I tried, here is what United official reports as the daily offerings, as well as their official photo.

  • Morning: A Greek yogurt bar and hot oatmeal station, with assorted toppings of mixed fruit, granola, cinnamon, raisins, and brown sugar, assorted cereals and milk, scones and bagel sticks with cream cheese and assorted jams. Cage-free hard-boiled eggs with paprika and fresh chives will also be available during key morning hours.
  • Afternoon/evening: Garden vegetable soup; Mediterranean salad; fresh hummus with pita chips, Greek olives and freshly-sliced red peppers; cheddar cheese with hearty wheat crackers; all accompanied by artisan breads with olive oil and additional condiments. Sliced, cured salami will also be available during key afternoon/evening hours.

United Airlines Food Offering

Review of the New United Club Food:

I visited the club around 2:30 in the afternoon and found most of the afternoon items described above.  There were greek olives, red peppers, pita chips, cheddar cheese, hummus, trail mix, brownie brittle, skittles, crackers, breads, and soup all out for display and consumption.  There were also plenty of bowls and small plates to serve yourself.

New United Club Food

New United Club Food

I wasn’t hungry enough to try everything, but I tried a few items to get a feel for the quality.  The hummus and pita chips tasted exactly how they looked, which was totally fine.  There was also olive oil you could add to the hummus if you desired.  The cheddar cheese was also pretty much exactly what you would expect and should be a hit with the kid crowd.

New United Club food

New United Club food

The brownie brittle was pretty interesting as it was sort of like a brownie had a baby with a pita chip.  It broke like a cracker or chip, but had the flavor of a brownie.  I liked them, but it was certainly a new combination for me.

new united club food

The only really nasty thing I tried was a piece of the “artisan bread” that was cold, hard, soggy, and all around gross.  That may just be bad luck, but it was the standout for being not for my tastes.

new united club food

Overall I think the food is an improvement for those who want a more substantial snack to be consumed in the lounge, but the improvements are not across the board better for everyone.  For example, if you have kids there are probably fewer popular kid options on the menu now than before.  I also have benefited from throwing a few packages of cheese, crackers, and carrots in my purse before boarding a flight as an easy snack for my daughter (and husband).  Now nothing available in the club is pre-packaged, so don’t expect to be able to sneak out a few snacks for the plane very effectively.

Have you tried the new United Club food yet?  What did you think of the new offerings compared to the old?  Does the new food make you more likely to want to visit a club?

Comments

  1. I really hate open bowls of trail mix or any other type of finger foods. These clubs get a very large amount of foot traffic and I’d hate to think of all the germs and what not that makes their way onto the food. Or, how close these bowls are to the restrooms in smaller clubs. If anything they should change the brownie brittles into pita chips where you can use the spread and cheese.

  2. The local health department would determine if a sneeze guard is necessary over food. I occasionally will fix oatmeal for breakfast. However, an insert on a steam table quickly become tasteless and could be use to hang wallpaper. Nothing beats hard salami that one usually buy at a deli or butcher shop.

  3. The only real improvement in this re-shuffle is the yoghurt and fresh berries in the morning. The afternoon offerings are all terrible. The lobster bisque at EWR Intried last Thursday, was so fishy tasting that I spit it out, and the breadrolls are exactly as you described, so not really an aberration you experienced.

    That said, throwing pre-packaged options in your purse for your kiddo or husband is something that I personally really dislike. The club isn’t meant to be a substitute grocery store and folks grabbing items to go (and I have witnessed stuffing backpacks) just drives membership costs up for those of us who play by the common sense rules. You may say “what do a couple of cheese and carrot bags matter”, but if you multiply it across the system 365 days a year, it wouldn’t be trivial.

    Off my soapbox now.

    • AAExPlat, I hear ya but I think there are also degrees of “grocery shopping”. I don’t think there is a big difference between 3 or 4 packages in the club or saving them for later, but it can be taken overboard for sure. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the new food – glad to hear there are berries in the morning!

  4. I agree with Brent – all the open bowls for finger type food turns me off. At least the dispensers with the turn knobs could prevent hands from reaching in. My husband didn’t take much from the previous offerings, but I guarantee he wouldn’t touch a thing from these, and I can’t say I’d disagree with that stance.

  5. I tried the Greek yoghurt at the IAD lounge in June. There was a HUGE bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries to mix in. I only had about ten minutes to enjoy this treat before my flight to TPA began boarding, but I could have stayed there enjoying the fruit all morning.

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