United to Offer Some Economy Passengers Hot Meals and Drinks

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United is shaking up what they offer on some premium transcon routes beginning this summer, and as part of this shake-up they are going to begin offering included drinks and hot meals for some economy customers flying from Newark to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Boston to San Fransisco. They are also renaming their transcon service to the Premium Transcontinental Service, instead of the former p.s. name.


The most notable of the changes is that for the first time in my memory, United will differentiate meal service between regular Economy passengers and those sitting in Economy Plus on these premium transcon routes. Beginning July 1, Economy Plus passengers will receive complimentary hot meal and beverage service on these routes. These meals were described as being ‘coastal-city-inspired’ and will consist of a complimentary hot fresh entrée, dessert and fruit, a pre-arrival snack and alcoholic beverages. Sample menu selections include savory roasted chicken with a smoked barbecue sauce and butternut squash tortellini with sage cream sauce. Dessert options will include New York’s favorite sweet treat, cheesecake, as well as a chocolate brownie and fresh seasonal fruit.

I place a pretty high value on Economy Plus seats because of the extra legroom, but also getting additional service on a six hour flight wouldn’t be a bad thing…at least for those sitting in the seats. I can see it being confusing and potentially a bit annoying when you are sitting one row behind Economy Plus and see the complimentary goodies, but don’t get to enjoy them. Most people are used to first class getting more than economy, but dividing economy between the “haves” and the “have nots” is not as common in the US market.

Those in the lie-flat seats at the front of the plane are also getting well taken care of on these Premium Transcontinental Service flights with the following goodies:

  • Custom-designed duvet and pillow provided by Saks Fifth Avenue and new amenity kits designed by Saks that feature Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products.
  • A featured cocktail, the Moscow Mule, by Crafthouse Cocktails that will be accompanied by a candied ginger skewer and lime wedge.
  • Hot towel service will be offered after take-off and prior to landing.
  • Seasonally refreshed menus, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project. Sample items include pumpernickel and goat cheese crostini with mango relish and smoked sea salt; savory pan roasted chicken with kale pesto; orzo with grilled artichokes, a staple of California, and sautéed leaks; and braised short ribs with creamy goat cheese grits.
  • Dessert will be inspired by the United Polaris dessert menu.
  • Before arrival, snacks such as Boulder Canyon potato chips and Madik’s almonds will be served.
  • Transcontinental business class customers will continue to enjoy United Club access to freshen up, relax and enjoy complimentary food and beverages prior to departure or upon arrival, as well as Premier Access priority check-in and boarding.

Will any of these upgrades make you more likely to fly in United’s Premium Transcontinental Service?

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  1. […] United Offering Hot Meals And Drinks in Economy:  United is changing things up a bit with some of their transcontinental routes.  To those in Economy Plus, United will be offering a hot meal and a drink which is a nice perk to go along with the extra legroom.  I think this is a good move because it’ll be clear what the price difference is for between Basic Economy and Economy Plus. […]


  1. I’m curious if this premium service will be offered on LAX-BOS also or only SFO-BOS, as I frequently fly the former route to visit my parents. Mint is offered on LAX-BOS so I hope it is.

    Some of United’s planes are configured with Exit Row EconomyPlus rows in the middle of Economy. The E+ meal service would certainly be confusing if these flights use that configuration.

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