United cuts appetizers in BusinessFirst

In what can either be chalked up as the most insignificant change to catering in a few years or yet another move to destroy a product through minor changes the dinner meal service in BusinessFirst on United Airlines‘ 2-cabin long-haul planes is being trimmed. This time it is the appetizer course being cut, being reduced to one option from the current two. The change takes effect March 1, 2013.


In the grand scheme of things this really is a non-event. The food isn’t that good to begin with and losing one appetizer option isn’t really all that big a deal for most people. At the same time, it is quite easy to see this as another "death by a thousand cuts" move. The catering for BusinessFirst was already downgraded once back in May 2012 to only have cold appetizers. At that time, however, the 2-cabin planes kept a choice of two while the 3-cabin planes were reduced to the single option. Apparently the move was such a rousing success that they’re expanding it to the 2-cabin planes, too. That, or they figure no one cares enough for it to matter.

Such is life in the world where improved service offerings are more rare than they should be.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Umm appetizer or main course? They normally only offer 1 option for appetizer for domestic flights. Or is this for international BusinessFirst flights?

    Then again, pmUA only had 1 appetizer option, so this is nothing new for some of us.

    1. This is on BusinessFirst, ptahcha, so only the long-haul flights. And while it may be the same as what pmUA offered it is still a cut compared to the other half of the company. I suppose those who loved the legacy United will have to admit that there were some things legacy Continental did better, and this was definitely one of them. Prior to the “alignment” last summer sCO had hot appetizers, not cold, and there were choices. Now it is down to just one choice and cold only. That’s a cut no matter how one looks at it.

      I do agree that American has upped their game in terms of in-flight, premium cabin offerings while United seems keen to cut theirs. Doesn’t help if stuck in coach, but still something to consider, depending on travel habits.

  2. Would be helpful if UA realigned regions of the plane with class of service. GF its not first, but is a bit better than business. Perhaps this is Business First (or just business). BF is really just a little better than Economy. Economy plus might describe it.

    Would seem that UA is cutting services until they resize down to an airline the size of Continental, perhaps with a couple of key hubs and a minor network.

  3. As far as I can see this aligns Business Class on pmCO two class planes with Business Class on pmUA three class planes. In that respect, it makes sense. Now, they just have to be honest that Business First is not First Class, but mere Business Class.

  4. I agree with Mike’s comment above. It really seems as though American is moving in the right direction while UA is seeing how far they can go with the reductions.

  5. I just flew from LHR-SFO on Business First. The “Hindu Meal” Vegetarian food was AWFUL! My wife ended up eating bread and fruits.

    And to think that our flight began with a promo of United’s new upscale catering and how they have hired the best chefs! I will never fly a US airline again!

  6. Are tray dinners coming?

    As a pmUA flyer, I was bowled over by the dinner presented in courses on a 2-cabin sCO 767 from IAH to FRA last week. UA BF meal is on a tray.

    Do we also get to look forward to tray dinners on sCO (ex-CO) runs?

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