Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Why still no free food in Y, or at least in E+ on long haul Hawaii flights?

Why still no free food in Y, or at least in E+ on long haul Hawaii flights?

Old Apr 30, 18, 7:21 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: TPE
Programs: UA Gold, HA Premier, Hertz #1 Gold PC, SBUX Gold
Posts: 599
Why still no free food in Y, or at least in E+ on long haul Hawaii flights?

In the terminal C at the C1 UC at IAH and preparing to board UA 253 to HNL in about 40 minutes. Regular on this flight at least once a month and have also found myself on HNL flights to and from ORD, EWR, and IAD in the past year. Just thinking, why is it that UA still can't bring themselves to serve complimentary meals in at least E+ as they are now doing for transcons when these Hawaii flights are often even 3-4 hours longer? My understanding is DL and AA are now doing this, and we all know that they each copy each other, so why not UA? I've gotten pretty used to eating the cheeseburger, but seeing some more options, especially for all the elites in E+ might be nice. Seems complimentary beer and wine shouldn't be too much to ask for either on these essentially long hauls.
gradsflyer is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 7:48 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA 1K3MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,935
Originally Posted by gradsflyer View Post
Regular on this flight at least once a month and have also found myself on HNL flights to and from ORD, EWR, and IAD in the past year.
If you fly the route that much, you should be 1K, right? Then you'd eat free and get at least 1 drink.

For as much as Hawaiian touts free food in economy, it is generally awful - like really awful in the back. I'd much rather have a much better buy on board option in economy on Hawaiian the few times I fly them per year.
HNLbasedFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 30, 18, 8:24 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 9,463
American provides free food, beer, wine out of DFW to Honolulu and Maui. I guess UA feels their profit margin is better w/o providing same. Very passenger-unfriendly not to provide sustenance gratis on long-haul routes.

I guess UA figures travelers originating in Houston (5+ MM people in metro area) aren't gonna fly to Dallas for a connection to a flight w/ free food/booze. That argument doesn't extend to ORD, where people have a choice of UA or AA to Hawaii. And DL provides food, beer, wine, AND SPIRITS out of ATL/MSP/JFK to Hawaii.

"If you fly the route that much, you should be 1K, right? Then you'd eat free and get at least 1 drink":
Doesn't help if you're travelling w/ family on vacation.

Be interesting to see UA's calculations (I'm sure they've looked at it). Cost of providing free food/booze two-ways on a round-trip and loss of passengers who will book based on free food/booze must be offset (in UA's eyes) by food/booze sales, weight/catering savings, etc.

I'm think UA double-caters flights to Hawaii ex-Mainland. I don't know what DL/AA do for long-haul flights, but if they provide free meals/booze both ways, they might be using local catering for the return. .

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Apr 30, 18 at 8:51 am
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 8:49 am
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,846
Every bit of consumer research out there suggests that people book leisure travel based on price and tend not to look at incidental costs such as BOB vs. free meals. For a good while after US domestic carriers dropped free meals in Y, this was the case across the board. With AA adding free meals back in, it has not apparently moved the needle for UA and UA believes that it is not losing business (or at least business it does not want to lose).

None of the carriers offer anything particularly appetizing or nourishing on their domestic routes in Y. So, it's probably not a great loss. A strong suggestion here that you either pack, purchase at the airport or rely on BOB (but that runs out quickly), even if there is something passed off to you.
Miggles likes this.
Often1 is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 9:03 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA 1K3MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,935
Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post

Be interesting to see UA's calculations (I'm sure they've looked at it). Cost of providing free food/booze two-ways on a round-trip and loss of passengers who will book based on free food/booze must be offset (in UA's eyes) by food/booze sales, weight/catering savings, etc.
I doubt the average leisure consumer is doing that much research on who provides what in economy. So, I doubt they are losing very many customers. I can't speak for Houston, but I can't remember the last time I've taken a SFO or EWR flight from HNL where there was a single seat available (l fly nearly every week).

UA is also the dominant mainland carrier in Hawaii (bigger than Hawaiian in terms of available seats) so that may also have something to do with it. Sometimes I wonder if they'll designate this a hub.....

With that said, my opinion, I suspect UA will offer free food/drinks on the Houston/Chicago/Washington DC/Newark flights in the near future......
HNLbasedFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 30, 18, 9:04 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Washington DC
Programs: Delta DM CO PE OZ GE AMTRAK
Posts: 502
Originally Posted by gradsflyer View Post
In the terminal C at the C1 UC at IAH and preparing to board UA 253 to HNL in about 40 minutes. Regular on this flight at least once a month and have also found myself on HNL flights to and from ORD, EWR, and IAD in the past year. Just thinking, why is it that UA still can't bring themselves to serve complimentary meals in at least E+ as they are now doing for transcons when these Hawaii flights are often even 3-4 hours longer? My understanding is DL and AA are now doing this, and we all know that they each copy each other, so why not UA? I've gotten pretty used to eating the cheeseburger, but seeing some more options, especially for all the elites in E+ might be nice. Seems complimentary beer and wine shouldn't be too much to ask for either on these essentially long hauls.
i think this is a rebuttal in itself that UA always "copies" Delta.
amtrakusa is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 9:13 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 10,983
Originally Posted by gradsflyer View Post
Just thinking, why is it that UA still can't bring themselves to serve complimentary meals in at least E+ as they are now doing for transcons when these Hawaii flights are often even 3-4 hours longer?
Lousy average fares + no competition in the NS markets.
mduell is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 9:14 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 9,463
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I doubt the average leisure consumer is doing that much research on who provides what in economy...
With WN announcing service from West Coast to HNL/KOA/OGG/LIH, there's even less incentive for UA to provide free food. WN doesn't have BoB on transcons - no reason to expect any change to Hawaii. I think leisure consumers do see "free bags".
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 10:36 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Austin, TX
Programs: Airline Free Agent, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG
Posts: 1,504
Right now, the economy is relatively healthy and more people are traveling and airline profits are up. So American and Delta can afford to offer free Y meals on their long haul Hawaii flights. But when the next recession hits, or if fuel prices remain high, AA and DL likely pulls the free meals and go back to BoB only. The good times don't last forever and it may be better to not offer free meals, then to offer them now and take them away later.

Originally Posted by gradsflyer View Post
My understanding is DL and AA are now doing this, and we all know that they each copy each other, so why not UA?
United (and American) certainly copies Delta's cutbacks, but not their enhancements. American copying Delta on offering free food on its longest Hawaii flights is actually an exception to the practice.
Austin787 is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 6:38 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: TPE
Programs: UA Gold, HA Premier, Hertz #1 Gold PC, SBUX Gold
Posts: 599
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
If you fly the route that much, you should be 1K, right? Then you'd eat free and get at least 1 drink.
If I flew with money every time and I don't (fly this route often because Mrs. Gradsflyer is still living in HNL for school so it's out of pocket) and I have been using RDMs to purchase about half the flights, I'd probably hit Plat for the first time this year, but for now just on track for gold again.
gradsflyer is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 9:22 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: Rapid Rewards, AAdvantage, SkyMiles
Posts: 2,862
Vote with your wallet and fly AA or DL. Don't know why anyone would give UA money for an inferior product.
DCP2016 is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 10:08 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Jomtien (Pattaya) Thailand
Programs: UA Gold
Posts: 511
So, the blunt answer to the question in the thread title is: Because UA is not losing enough business for not offering free food. It's all about the bottom line, no?
1984SW is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 10:35 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: COS
Programs: UA Gold (.85 MM), HH Diamond, SPG Platinum (LT Gold), Hertz PC, National EE
Posts: 2,737
When you allow DL/NW, AA/US, UA/CO to merge, what did you expect? Nothing good ever comes from mergers, ever.
Concerto, Miggles and WingnutSYD like this.
COSPILOT is offline  
Old Apr 30, 18, 10:45 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA 1K3MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,935
Originally Posted by 1984SW View Post
Because UA is not losing enough business for not offering free food.
Losing enough business?

Again, I stress - UA has massively expanded into Hawaii in the last year - to the point they are the dominant Mainland/Hawaii carrier to the islands. Hawaii has become an aggressive strategy for UA - I have no rumor, but my opinion, more expansion is coming - the flights are full.
HNLbasedFlyer is online now  
Old Apr 30, 18, 11:41 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 9,463
Originally Posted by DCP2016 View Post
Vote with your wallet and fly AA or DL. Don't know why anyone would give UA money for an inferior product.
Choice 1: OP flies non-stop from IAH-HNL
Choice 2: OP flies from IAH to HNL on DL or AA, and has to make a connection to do so.

I'll take the non-stop and buy food/drink.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread