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Airlines

United Makes Flying 140-Calories Less Enjoyable

United Makes Flying 140-Calories Less Enjoyable
Joe Cortez

United Airlines is once again making headlines for punishing their passengers. As of Valentine’s Day 2020, the Chicago-based airline is phasing out the Biscoff cookie in favor of Oreo Thins. And FlyerTalkers – and everyone else, for that matter – is having none of it.

United Airlines has done a lot over the past years to get customers excited about flying once more. From their promise to stop dragging people off airplanes, to turning their perfectly good loyalty program into a perfectly bad cash grab, the geniuses at Chicago’s hometown airline have done everything they can to make flying a surreal experience.

But their latest change is off-putting to everyone – not just the elite few who visit the United Polaris lounge from flying the premium cabin. As reported by USA Today, United is cutting the last creature comfort for the economy flyer: the Biscoff cookie.

The Beauty of Biscoff

The Biscoff cookie has a long history that isn’t necessarily tied to aviation. These caramel-ginger-flavored, wafer-shaped delicacies first came out of the oven in Belgium in 1932. When it landed on America’s shores, the name was changed from the Speculoo to the “Biscoff.” Why the switch from one bizarre name to another? According to Lotus, the name comes from the words “Biscuit” and “Coffee,” suggesting the cookie goes best with a coffee or espresso.

It wasn’t until 1984 that the Biscoff cookie first took flight, when an “airline food supplier” discovered the delicacy on a trip through Belgium. Today, an estimated 1.5 billion cookies are enjoyed by flyers every year, as they are served aboard many airlines.

Except for United, that is.

Goodbye, Biscoff. Hello, Oreo

As of Valentine’s Day, United grounded the world-famous aviation cookie permanently. It’s replacement is another portmanteau brand: the NABISCO (National Biscuit Company) Oreo Thins. The airline didn’t provide any justification or direction for the change – just a confirmation that it was happening.

“Our complimentary snack options continue to be a hit and we’re always looking for opportunities to introduce new selections,” United spokesperson Andrea Hiller told USA TODAY. “We plan to add Oreo Thins into the mix soon and look forward to the response from our customers.”

What kind of response was United expecting from their customers? If it was disappointment and sadness, then this shift is 100-percent on-brand for the carrier.

United is bucking traditions as old as time for a brand that is getting a reboot with overpriced clothing company Supreme – because business travelers want to indulge on a cookie similar to those selling for over $4,000. It also comes with more calories (140 for the Oreo Thins vs. 120 for the Biscoff cookie), less satisfaction due to reduced cookies and cream, and less paring options. Who ever thought of having milk and cookies at 30,000 feet? Do airlines even stock milk jugs for flights?

FlyerTalkers cry foul on Oreo replacement

This writer is not the only one disappointed by United’s decision. In an unscientific poll conducted by FlyerTalk, over half of respondents want the airline to keep Biscoff cookies in the sky.

But how do they really feel about the change? (I think this was the responses United was looking forward to from their customers.)

“Oreos must have bid out at .5 cents less per package,” opines FlyerTalker spin88. “Definitely a downgrade.”

“I’m a little disappointed they’re Oreo Thins and not regular Oreos,” notes forum member Polytonic. “Deconstructing the Oreo as you go is the best part of eating them!”

“Definitely sad the Biscoff is going away,” writes FlyerTalker the lost. “It’s what I get weekly on my evening flights.”

In Oreo’s defense, there were some FlyerTalkers who were excited about seeing the cookie come to the “friendly” skies. But many of them were also on “Team Stroopwafel,” so the change wasn’t a major bother.

For those of us who remain on “Team Biscoff,” there is still hope left. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines will all continue to serve the Biscoff cookie as an in-flight snack (making living in an American hub slightly more tolerable for me). And if you must travel with a Biscoff cookie, you can buy a box of 300 individually wrapped Biscoff cookies on Amazon.com for just over $20.

Personally speaking, I’ve also found Biscoff cookies at Costco, available in bulk. Yes, I bought at least one box – maybe more. No, I had zero regrets about my decision.

View Comments (13)

13 Comments

  1. mike2003242

    February 20, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    I’d be willing to bet every possession I have, this was price motivated.

  2. drvannostren

    February 21, 2020 at 2:13 am

    Personally I prefer oreos and never partook in these biscoff deals after the first time I had them anyhow. So this is fine by me. If they switch to fudgeeos I’d be really happy.

  3. SpartyAir

    February 21, 2020 at 5:35 am

    I’m a United million miler and I have never had these Biscoff cookies on a flight. So no big deal. Oreos are great too. Changing cookies doesn’t come close to the way United has screwed its frequent flyers with the Mileage Plus program “So Called Enhancements”

  4. TXJeepGuy

    February 21, 2020 at 6:17 am

    All other choices are irrelevant when the stroopwaffle is available

  5. IBJoel

    February 21, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Oreo Thins are just going to get stuck in everyone’s teeth and look gross. God forbid passengers be afforded a modicum, a granule of some class with Biscoff.

  6. Bowen74

    February 21, 2020 at 8:00 am

    You’re in economy and think you have the right to a free snack? Be grateful you get an Oreo…

  7. Bradhattan

    February 21, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    300 individually wrapped is so wasteful….may i ask you to consider something with less packaging?

  8. dliesse

    February 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    I haven’t flown United for over a decade so no biggie, but this is definitely a downgrade. There is no excuse for the existence of Thin Oreos — either have a cookie or don’t, but none of this “thin” nonsense. (I much prefer the Biscoff, myself, but don’t really have a dog in this particular fight.)

  9. topman

    February 21, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    United pax has been kirby’ed. Lining his pocket all the way to the bank

  10. ceieoc

    February 24, 2020 at 4:27 am

    I wonder if airlines like United Airlines have been purchasing a box of 300 individually wrapped Biscoff cookies on Amazon.com for just over $20. Who knew that $20 could be stretched to feed an entire aircraft coach cabin. Good to know they soon may find Oreo’s for only $19 on eBay or Amazon.

  11. emcampbe

    February 24, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Good thing bloggers don’t make a habit of exaggerating changes.

    For one thing, no one said the Biscoff was ‘permanently’ gone – in fact, they have since clarified to say it will return later in the year. Second, what’s so bad about rotating snacks, and giving, especially for those who fly somewhat frequently, variety by changing every so often?

    I’ll admit – my preference is for Biscoff to Oreo. That said, its a small package of cookies (barely even a ‘snack’. Who cares? Are people really going to fly, say, Delta instead of UA because UA doesn’t offer Biscoff in the snack basket anymore?

    Seriously, if you’re that committed to Biscoff, they are pretty widely available on the ground – buy a bunch and have them onboard your UA flights. For me, I like the Biscoff, but appreciate that UA is giving variety, . even if I will choose Biscoff again when they return.

  12. jrpallante

    February 26, 2020 at 4:37 am

    FT continues with its policy of denigrating United Airlines at every opportunity Who gives a damn if an airline changes the snack offerings from time to time?

  13. chadbag

    February 26, 2020 at 7:38 am

    I remember when only Comair had Biscoff. None of the majors. So getting them on most flights (I avoid UA like the plague for terrible service everywhere) is a bonus.

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