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bobbydgg
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United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:31 pm

I have recently flown two afternoon/evening segments and two morning segments in United first class and on both of the afternoon/evening segments, the flight attendant told me that I would not have a choice of meal (notwithstanding that the flight attendant offered a choice of meal to people seated behind me - it wasn't that they had run out of an option before getting to my seat).

On the first afternoon/evening segment, I had paid to upgrade when I checked in for the flight. On the second afternoon/evening segment, I had paid for a full fare ticket.

I was given the same choice as everyone else on both morning segments.

Does anyone here know why I was not given a choice? It honestly made me feel a bit like a second class citizen, since the flight attendant essentially looked at the passenger list and said you are going to have to have X before offering a choice to my seatmate.
 
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Stitch
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:45 pm

I imagine United is still prioritizing meals by elite status. When I was a frequent flier on them back in the day, as a UGS member I was the first one they approached about meal choices and when I "fell back" to mere Premiere Executive, they took care of the UGS and 1Ks before they visited me.

That being said, I now no longer have status with UA and on a revenue First Class fare SEA-ORD and ORD-SEA last year, they just went from seat to seat on both segments, starting with 1A (then 1B, 1C, 1D). As I was 2A and 2D, I was able to make a choice, while the final row was informed they only had what remained.
 
stratacruiser
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:47 pm

They have some prioritization based on fare class, FF status, etc....likely those asked first were Global Services members. Interestingly this triage only seems to occur on some flights - perhaps it has to do with the number of meals loaded, or just individual crews' procedures?
 
PDXFlyBoy
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:52 pm

Just flew LAX-ITO and they did order taking from 1A to 4F. They did not take orders based upon status as 4F was a 1K.
 
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Stitch
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:54 pm

Did CO take orders based on elite status, or did they just go front-to-back?

My SEA-ORD flight was an A320, so it may have been a pmUA crew while my ORD-SEA was a 737-800 and perhaps a pmCO crew.
 
jtamu97
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:03 pm

CO did not take orders based on status or at least that was my experience. Once the merger happened, I was on several flights where the Flight Attendants started at the back (row 4) and worked their way forward. Since the merger I have been on flights where the attendants introduce themselves to everyone, give a choice and go from row 1 and vice versa. Also, seen them go randomly and assume these choose to decide on status. Makes no difference to me really. I pay the fare and always sit row 1. The one thing that has never happened is for me to be informed up front of no choice. Curious who makes these calls.
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airzim
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:06 pm

United prioritizes meals by FFP status. Even prior to the merger they did this.

Most other carriers do some sort of front to back arrangement. United asks for 1st and 2nd choice and is supposed to sort the list in the galley.

When I flew UA before I had status I found the system slightly insulting too. But then whiny UA elites complained when they made any changes.
 
seat1a
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:11 pm

If you don't have a lot of FF miles, or status, and pay for First Class, do you get any priority for meal choices?
 
roseflyer
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:28 pm

Quoting PDXFlyBoy (Reply 3):
Just flew LAX-ITO and they did order taking from 1A to 4F. They did not take orders based upon status as 4F was a 1K.

Even when they prioritize based on status, they sometimes do take orders from front to back. They will tell passengers with no status that they might not get their first choice. They reconcile everything when they get back in the galley. On international flights, they often request first and second meal choices.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
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Stitch
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:44 pm

Quoting seat1a (Reply 7):
If you don't have a lot of FF miles, or status, and pay for First Class, do you get any priority for meal choices?

In general, no, at least back in the 2000s when I flew UA a great deal. And it was an issue (at least on sites like FlyerTalk) for non-status or low-status people who bought a revenue F fare and were not able to get their preferred choice compared to Mileage Plus elites on upgrades.



Quoting airzim (Reply 6):
When I flew UA before I had status I found the system slightly insulting too. But then whiny UA elites complained when they made any changes.

To be fair, their aggregate revenue is often not-insubstantial. As a UGS, my spend was quite deep into the five figures annually and I knew fellow UGS who were in the six figures annual spend.
 
global1
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:08 pm

On Delta, the policy for domestic flights is that meal orders are taken front to back on even numbered flights and back to front on odd numbered flights.

Internationally on Delta One, all manifesting is front to back. We are not supposed to jump around.

Sometimes, if a Medallion member is seated towards the rear of the cabin, the Purser may discreetly ask for their choice, but this is not something that is sanctioned.

[Edited 2015-11-05 12:25:39]
 
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airzim
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:04 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 9):
Quoting airzim (Reply 6):
When I flew UA before I had status I found the system slightly insulting too. But then whiny UA elites complained when they made any changes.

To be fair, their aggregate revenue is often not-insubstantial. As a UGS, my spend was quite deep into the five figures annually and I knew fellow UGS who were in the six figures annual spend.

Ultimately it is a perception problem. The first time I saw this happen on UA, I watched the FA bounce around the cabin, even asking the guy next to me, then skipping me and coming to me at the end and asking if I didn't mind having the French Toast instead of the 4 other lunch options available. On a full fare TATL business class ticket. I was livid, left a very bad impression as a customer inexperienced with United's service. And at that time, I was a worldwide Business Class traveler, and had never seen anything comparable on any other carrier. It was quite clear where I 'ranked' on United.

Now I am GS and currently enjoy my first choice on every flight. I think they do it in a more appropriate and less impolite way than before by now going front to back, asking for choices, and sorting it out in the galley.

I have been privy to a few focus group sessions at United, and I can tell you this topic caused an uproar when, following the merger, they changed the system to a more uniform standard of front to back. I was shocked how emotional United flyers get when it comes to what they think they deserve. The vitriol was frankly embarrassing. Just look at FT to get a sense of the entitlement.

I think they've compromised on the process, and glad I no longer get the French Toast as my only option on a TATL flight. There's no perfect way to do this, but the current system seems to reward loyalty while at the same time not leaving the impression that someone doesn't get their first choice. The trick is if you're not not an elite, and you really want one option over another, drop a subtle hint that you're allergic or need the sauce left off, etc. I'm sure the FA will nudge in the direction you prefer if there's a tie breaker between two customers if they have to do additional work. Oh wait, this is United, they'll probably penalize you for being difficult  
 
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fxramper
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:04 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):

I imagine United is still prioritizing meals by elite status.
Quoting stratacruiser (Reply 2):
They have some prioritization based on fare class, FF status, etc..
Quoting airzim (Reply 6):

United prioritizes meals by FFP status

No.

This happens about 1 in 20 flights.

Use UA all the time always in first. They don't care if your GS, upgrade from coach or a non rev employee. It's pretty much based on how the crew feels.

I've gone so far to tell them I will take whatever they have more of if someone doesn't get their first choice and have had them come back and tell me they need to me switch only to have the ISM/Purser tell me I can have 'their' crew meal which is the same.

It's disgusting, it's not consistent; was hoping they new CEO would redo flight standards on this, but he's on the DL.
 
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airzim
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:42 pm

Quoting fxramper (Reply 12):
No.

This happens about 1 in 20 flights.

Use UA all the time always in first. They don't care if your GS, upgrade from coach or a non rev employee. It's pretty much based on how the crew feels.

That's simply not true. I fly at least twice a week and I've never seen what you've described.

It's also not policy.
 
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AAlaxfan
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:19 am

This is why I like AA's FEBO(Front Even Back Odd) system and always pick a seat mid cabin.

Quoting global1 (Reply 10):
On Delta, the policy for domestic flights is that meal orders are taken front to back on even numbered flights and back to front on odd numbered flights.

Sounds like Ill do the same on DL.
Grumpy. Not a dwarf, not an attitude. It's a lifestyle.
 
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fbgdavidson
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:43 am

I've always thought the UA system was stupid. Yes, it makes sense to reward your best flyers but not at the expense of fare paying passengers. A paying F passenger trumps an upgrade of any form of elite, IMO.

I've stopped flying UA but it was really tacky watching the FAs jump about the F or C cabin taking orders. Just ask each passenger in turn then prioritize in the galley if you must do it that way.

Quoting aalaxfan (Reply 14):
This is why I like AA's FEBO(Front Even Back Odd) system and always pick a seat mid cabin.

Although it's history. At least with the pre-ordering on AA you don't need to factor in meal ordering strategy when picking a seat!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
zrs70
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:39 pm

It's gotten to the point for me (as a 1K) that I really don't value meals all that much. When the FA asks me my choice, I let them know my first, but if they run out, I am fine with my second choice. I feel for them, and want to make their job easier.

Only exception is this.... I am a vegetarian, so if there is only one veggie (or fish) option, I let them know.
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blueflyer
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:27 am

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 15):
I've stopped flying UA but it was really tacky watching the FAs jump about the F or C cabin taking orders. Just ask each passenger in turn then prioritize in the galley if you must do it that way.

If you want tacky, watch some of Air Canada's F/A's. Elite FFs will be asked for their dining choice before take-off, the peasants (read non-elites) will have to wait until the crew can be bothered to check some time after take-off. They don't seem to realize (or care) how awkward it can be when one's colleagues are skipped...

Thankfully most F/As just ask row by row and prioritize preferences afterwards.
 
Flanders
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RE: United Domestic First Class Meal Choice

Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:52 pm

When flying economy I can understand your meal choice will not always be available.

But when traveling in Business or First Class I would not be amused if my meal choice was not available. Full fare ticket, upgraded ticket or FF status are factors that shouldn't even matter. You should get the service for the cabin you signed up for and if that involves different meal choices, it's up to the airline to facilitate this.

Quoting bobbydgg (Thread starter):
It honestly made me feel a bit like a second class citizen, since the flight attendant essentially looked at the passenger list and said you are going to have to have X before offering a choice to my seatmate.

Well, I think I can perfectly understand your feeling... and this is not the experience one should get when flying/paying J or F!

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