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United drops planned meal charges on Europe flights


United Airlines travelers across the Atlantic can leave their money in their pockets when the food cart comes down the aisle.

The nation's second-largest carrier has backed off from a plan to begin charging for coach-class meals on its flights to Europe after some customer backlash.

"We heard loud and clear from our corporate and our Elite frequent fliers that they value our hot meal service," United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.

Although many carriers have stopped serving free food on coach domestic flights, customers on long-haul flights have been able to count on being fed.

United said it would "continue to be proactive in testing new ideas."

United said that on Oct 1 it will still begin serving cold sandwiches or snack boxes instead of hot meals to business-class customers on about 16 domestic flights a day. United said it would "evaluate the results and determine next steps by the end of the year."

© Wire reports

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It's 6.00 bucks or 600 yen for a beer on their international flights starting August first. Guess I'll be looking more and more at flying JAL or ANA from now on.

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I haven't flown on a US airline in probably about 8 years, it looks like I'll avoid them like the plague if this is how bad they've gotten! Cold sandwiches in business? You've gotta be kidding me, those people pay ridiculous money for their tickets!

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It's quite ironic that this move comes at a time when several carriers are looking at ways to improve their economy class meal service. I avoid US carriers like the plague anyway. Their service and prices are consistently below that of Asian and European airlines.

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This airline definitely does not comprehend the meaning of 'service'. Their strategy is to feed their customers junk or withhold catering altogether and then see how many complaints they get.

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In my last job I have had to travel quiet a bit. We been to all the corners, never mind the annual company trip that went as far as Cuba.

I can do without United and AA, their food and service was bad. Same of the stewardesses scared me and were very unfriendly. For a flight from Tokyo to Bangkok with United they plopped some sandwiches and peanuts down as a meal. Never mind that my Wife had booked a vegetarian meal which never came.

For good service I must say that the Asian airlines in general are were good. Also flown Aeroflot and a few charter & minor lines in my time. The best service I have ever had so far was on Lauda Air and he was a pilot on 2 flights.

For private I tend to use economy and business of course is business class.

All the new charges, fees & airport hassles are really putting me of flying privately. Add bad service into that and I rather find a local destination to safe money and spend my money there.

My company hasn't send anyone to the states in 5yrs now, most of our trips are to europe now even for US business partners who got european offices. I don't mind as I got an EU passport.

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yeah, I've given up on United. The bad service and busted seat assignments when traveling with small children was bad enough. When they tried to serve the kids spoiled - yep, that's right, covered with mold spoiled - sandwiches on a flight that was the last straw. I would never pay for that swill.

I'll take JAL or Lufthansa any day.

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I believe the "Business Class" they are talking about is US Transcontinental flights. Which are more like Premium Econ.

Most US airlines only have Coach and First on domestic flights. And very few offer international 1st class anymore. Just business.

Carriers like JAL and ANA are miles ahead on service and meals. But international Business class tends to be pretty good on most airlines none the less.

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It's very sad that United has come a long when since their bankruptcy a few years ago, and they have to give it all away by bringing their level of excellence at a all time low. I mean, charging a customer who paid up worth of about 1500 for a 4 hour domestic business class for a meal is just absurd. I'm starting to give up on United as well. And i am a premier executive on the united Mileage too...this is just outrageous.

motytrah, I pretty sure the "business class" they talk about it the actual business class. Premium economy is more regarded as the economy class with an extra leg space and nothing much more.

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I think my uncle almost starved on his flight from SD to London. Not sure what is going on with the US airlines, but when i flew to Japan last month, I had two hot meals, and a snack. (cold sandwich + cup noodle) and the alcohol was free.

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Oh, by the way, I flew with Air Canada

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You would expect this on a domestic flight, but a transcontinental international flight? Give me a break! Everyone should be fed on a flight that is over 5 hours long, no matter what. If they must, why don't they just add the extra money into the ticket?

I can certainly understand charging for alcohol, but anything else should be included!

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From the airline's point of view, I realize they are in a bind with the rising fuel costs and such and they have to find ways to make up for that lost revenue.

However, cutting essential services like hot meals is further turning away the customer from the airlines.

Personally, I've found no problems with United airlines (I've used them for Japan as they're the only ones close to home that fly into Osaka Kansai). Then again I have mileage plus and I get to sit economy plus and sometimes business when there's seats available.

Meals aren't the greatest; I'd say they're about the same level as microwavable TV dinners, but food is food and if you're hungry you'll eat it (or bring your own snacks or eat beforehand).

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