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ramprat74
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United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:05 pm

It looks like illy won the taste test and will supply the coffee for United starting in 2016. One thing that the co-workers complained about was the taste of the water in the cabin because the company removed the water filters. Lets see if the new managment team listens to the FA's and installs the filters back in the aircraft.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:07 pm

Video announcing the change
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hif260Gapk4

=

Hopefully the media storm over the coffee can die down now.
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Rdh3e
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:08 pm

Good choice, they make great coffee.
 
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IrishAyes
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:16 pm

I wish they had gone with Intelligensia to be truly Chicago   even Sbux would have been fantastic.

But I also suppose its sort of moot since I no longer fly with United.
 
jetblue1965
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:20 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 2):
Good choice, they make great coffee.

They make better gelatos =)

But if i'm understanding this correctly, for now, it only applies to the lounges (United Clubs) not inflight.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:22 pm

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 4):
But if i'm understanding this correctly, for now, it only applies to the lounges (United Clubs) not inflight.

Clubs next month, then flights next summer.


CHICAGO, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines and illycaffe are creating a new alliance that will offer the Italian company's delicious premium blend to delight customers on board and in United Club locations worldwide.

Beginning next month, United will offer illy's signature scuro dark roast and the coffee company's espresso in United Club locations at the airline's mainland U.S. hubs. Other lounge locations will offer illy in 2016, with the scuro dark roast coming to flights worldwide next summer.

http://ir.united.com/phoenix.zhtml?c...3680&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2114092
 
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:28 pm

Quoting irishayes (Reply 3):
I wish they had gone with Intelligensia to be truly Chicago even Sbux would have been fantastic.

For anyone not familiar, Illy makes some of the world's best pre-ground coffee, and they do so at scale. It is truly excellent coffee.

They're also not a cheap brand - their coffee and espresso machines are _expensive_.

Huge kudos to United for investing in this.
 
jetblue1965
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:29 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 5):
Clubs next month, then flights next summer.

Ahh good. Right now the coffee is at the same caliber as Dunkin donuts.
 
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adamblang
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:32 pm

Quoting irishayes (Reply 3):
Sbux would have been fantastic

Starbucks is locked up by Delta so that's a nonstarter.

Quoting irishayes (Reply 3):
I wish they had gone with Intelligensia to be truly Chicago

Me too. But there's probably some desire to have name recognition as well. We in Chicago know the name but the majority of the traveling public probably doesn't.

I personally am really excited by this. Excellent move. Looking forward to Illy in flight.  Smile

[Edited 2015-11-19 08:33:23]
 
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Polot
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:45 pm

Quoting adamblang (Reply 8):
Me too. But there's probably some desire to have name recognition as well. We in Chicago know the name but the majority of the traveling public probably doesn't.

Scale plays a major role too. Intelligensia is a rather small company, supplying coffee to all of UA's flights and lounges would be challenging for them.
 
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Heavierthanair
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:53 pm

G'day

Quoting bobdino (Reply 6):
Illy makes some of the world's best pre-ground coffee

I fully agree with that statement - Illy coffee in Italy is some of the best coffee available.
  

Even though the package may look exactly the same, coffee, like chocolate and some other processed food products are adapted to local tastes. Americans drinking real Italian Illy coffee are likely risking to get a heart attack, whereas Italians drinking Illy coffee in the US are likely considering that "coffee" as colored dish washing water.
  

So United serving Illy coffee may be a gain for some, others like myself will continue to abstain from drinking coffee in planes, unless the aircraft has Alitalia written on it. But then again I avoid Alitalia for a number of other reasons...
        

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UA444
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:57 pm

Quoting adamblang (Reply 8):

AS also serves Starbucks, so there likely wasn't anything preventing them from dealing with United.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:23 pm

Quoting UA444 (Reply 11):
AS also serves Starbucks, so there likely wasn't anything preventing them from dealing with United.

AS had Starbucks before DL. DL initially was not exclusive and only had partial contract but now (eff 2015) is exclusive with Starbucks so it cannot sign another one of the 4 US major.

UA lost it chances with Starbucks when it gave up on its then exclusive 12-year contract run.
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airliner371
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:24 pm

AS & DL: Starbucks
B6: Dunkin Donuts
UA: Illy
WN: Lift
AA: Java City
 
jetblue1965
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:30 pm

Not that it really makes a difference. Can't imagine any meaningful number of travelers picking an airline based on their coffee, which all taste like "brown water" at FL360.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:30 pm

Quoting irishayes (Reply 3):
even Sbux would have been fantastic.
Quoting adamblang (Reply 8):
Starbucks is locked up by Delta so that's a nonstarter.
Quoting UA444 (Reply 11):
AS also serves Starbucks, so there likely wasn't anything preventing them from dealing with United.
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
UA lost it chances with Starbucks when it gave up on its then exclusive 12-year contract run.

Well, and Starbucks coffee is just plain offensive to many people. It tastes like someone left the roaster on double duty and burned the beans to a crisp.

Keep in mind the airlines likely aren't getting the specialty roasts, but that awful Pikes Roast.   
 
lancelot07
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:39 pm

Do they have espresso machines on the planes ?
Illy is the best coffee in the world, but it has to be prepared correctly.
 
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OA412
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:41 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 15):
Well, and Starbucks coffee is just plain offensive to many people. It tastes like someone left the roaster on double duty and burned the beans to a crisp.

This. Starbucks' coffee is terrible. On the other hand, Illy is quite good.
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tlecam
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:53 pm

Illy is a great choice. If it tastes even 50% of what it does in Italy, that's a home run.

I'm Boston born and raised. Dunks coffee tastes like brown water even when you're not at 35k feet.

I don't love Starbucks either, but it's a huge upgrade over whatever Delta used to serve onboard.
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:03 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):

UA lost it chances with Starbucks when it gave up on its then exclusive 12-year contract run.

Thats a good thing starbucks is horrid it taste so burnt and bitter. Glad they went with a really good premium brand!
 
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:03 pm

Great move for UA, Illy is truly great coffee. However, I remember flying HA about 5-6 years ago and they served Kauai Blue Mountain coffee!    That is the World's Best Coffee!!!!!!
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:08 pm

Quoting airliner371 (Reply 13):

AS & DL: Starbucks
B6: Dunkin Donuts
UA: Illy
WN: Lift
AA: Java City

AA now serves FreshPoo.
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:41 pm

Quoting irishayes (Reply 3):

I wish they had gone with Intelligensia to be truly Chicago

I agree! I love Intelligentsia. But it seems like Illy is suppose to be very good as well, so I'm looking forward to it.
I can't wait until airlines start paying more attention to their tea as well. On AA, you basically need to carry your own tea bags. BA tea is pretty good, however.
 
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:48 pm

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 7):

Dunkin is actually pretty decent and far above what UA is serving right now.
 
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ua900
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:04 pm

Wow, congrats UA! I'll sample some starting December I guess.

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 7):
Right now the coffee is at the same caliber as Dunkin donuts.

Dunkin is better, which really is a statement in itself.

Quoting Heavierthanair (Reply 10):
Illy coffee in Italy is some of the best coffee available.

Indeed.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
UA lost it chances with Starbucks when it gave up on its then exclusive 12-year contract run.

Dunno, Starbucks doesn't seem to have any qualms on partners.

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 14):
Not that it really makes a difference. Can't imagine any meaningful number of travelers picking an airline based on their coffee, which all taste like "brown water" at FL360.

But some of us like to drink coffee up there. Try AV or OS next time you're en route between regions served by these two alternatives within *A. Then connect on UA and order a cup of coffee, you'll notice the difference.

I pick AV on every Americas route I can, not because of the coffee, but because of things *like* the coffee. For example, the meals are better and so is the service. It's all part of the customer experience, and I think UA mgmt. has noticed that and is making changes as a result. Good for them.
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jetblue1965
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:08 pm

Quoting ua900 (Reply 24):

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 7):
Right now the coffee is at the same caliber as Dunkin donuts.

Dunkin is better, which really is a statement in itself.
Quoting VWGuru (Reply 23):

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 7):

Dunkin is actually pretty decent and far above what UA is serving right now.

Are these facts, or anti-Smisek opinions masquerading as facts ?
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:26 pm

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 25):
Are these facts, or anti-Smisek opinions masquerading as facts ?

I can't tell the difference fresh-brewed coffee and microwaved Sanka but I know many people that swear by Dunkin.

It might be a regional thing or the fact that my friends are just more price-conscious and don't like spending $4 on a foo foo coffee unless there is no other alternative.
 
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ua900
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:27 pm

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 25):
Are these facts, or anti-Smisek opinions masquerading as facts ?

Nope, that's my personal opinion as a bit of a coffee snob and I appreciate airlines paying attention to customer experience.

I first flew UA in 1997 on my first visit to the U.S. as a domestic connection transferring from LH on the brand new just launched *A.

That's when I had Starbucks for the first time, I remember asking the F/A whether that was a brand since they actually announced it on the PA system   It was pretty good coffee and I flew UA many times enjoying their coffee.

Starbucks had around 1,400 stores at the time, pretty much just U.S. and larger cities over 200,000 people, it wasn't that well known, especially abroad or in smaller towns. There was a time when towns with 50,000 people almost had a celebration when they were able to convince Starbucks to come to town. Not like today where you have more than 21,000 stores and a solid worldwide presence.

I never understood why UA would go from "proudly serving Starbucks" to "don't go with the coffee, it's awful" - when even the F/As tell you that, it's a pretty good indicator of how they feel about having to serve this stuff.

And btw, Jeff is water under the jet bridge. I look ahead, go Oscar, go UA, go all you downtrodden employees! It's like a breath of fresh air lately.

[Edited 2015-11-19 11:28:54]
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:53 pm

Quoting airliner371 (Reply 13):
AS & DL: Starbucks
B6: Dunkin Donuts
UA: Illy
WN: Lift
AA: Java City

Air Canada serves Second Cup, which I really enjoy, its not as dark of a roast as some others, but it is a premium brand, and it's Canadian.
 
gen2stew
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:56 pm

Quoting Sulley (Reply 21):

AA used to have Java City, Juan Valdez, and going way back a signature international blend for intl flights. The newest coffee has gone the same way as the service since US mgt savaged the service: utilitarian. It's coffee by name only.

That's wild that UA removed the water filters, even at the worst times I don't recall AA water being universally bad...
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jetblue1965
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:59 pm

Quoting gen2stew (Reply 29):
That's wild that UA removed the water filters

That's why it's officially BROWN water not coffee  Wow!
 
26point2
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:34 pm

Great. Good coffee makes it all better now? Why not put effort toward better service instead?
 
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adamblang
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:50 pm

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 31):
Why not put effort toward better service instead?

Why does one have to be at the expense of the other? The people who work on food aren't the people who work on customer service.
 
26point2
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:58 pm

Sorry for the attitude. I am just tired of the corporate Band Aid concept that a thing such as better coffee makes a difference. I like good coffee too but I lost UAL years ago due to the terrible experience. Good luck to them. .
 
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Polot
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:01 pm

Quoting adamblang (Reply 32):
Why does one have to be at the expense of the other? The people who work on food aren't the people who work on customer service.

Also most people equate better food/drinks with better service, so it is kind of odd comment to make. You think First class passengers on SQ would be thrilled if they were being served McDonalds?
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:03 pm

UA would have been better off with HEB Houston Blend. Store coffee never tasted so good, and it's a Texas brand.
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FWAERJ
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:14 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 35):
UA would have been better off with HEB Houston Blend. Store coffee never tasted so good, and it's a Texas brand.

CO served Timothy's from Houston for many years. It wasn't until the Great Recession and Smisek as CEO that Fresh Brew (another Houston company) got the contract, which stuck around after the merger until now.
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:16 pm

Quoting adamblang (Reply 32):

...perhaps but should they not all be on the same page? Good coffee does not bring the customer, good service does. Many airlines serve crap coffee but have good service and that's why they succeed.
 
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adamblang
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:17 pm

Quoting Polot (Reply 34):
You think First class passengers on SQ would be thrilled if they were being served McDonalds?

I'm not sure if you're being deliberately obtuse but I'll bite.

McDonald's on Singapore in First would be absurd.

My comment was speaking to the office folks who are responsible for testing new coffees and lining up vendors and sorting out supply chain vs the office people tasked with finding ways to improve frontline service. As my previous post said, improving the coffee on offer doesn't need to come at the expense of improving service. Two things can be done at the same time.
 
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adamblang
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:21 pm

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 37):
...perhaps but should they not all be on the same page? Good coffee does not bring the customer, good service does. Many airlines serve crap coffee but have good service and that's why they succeed.

The folks in Willis responsible for selecting and ordering what gets catered aren't the same people in Willis responsible for finding ways to improve service and then implementing them.

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 31):
Great. Good coffee makes it all better now? Why not put effort toward better service instead?

You can improve coffee at the same time as you improve service. "Why not put the effort..." means don't improve coffee so you can improve service. My question – why does one have to come at the expense of the other – is because I reject the idea that United should only be doing one of these things. Do both.
 
panam330
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:23 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 35):
UA would have been better off with HEB Houston Blend. Store coffee never tasted so good, and it's a Texas brand.


Good think UA is a Chicago company.   I applaud the decision. As many of us know, it is a combination of little niceties that make a world of a difference. Things have gotten much, much better since SMI/J was ousted. I anxiously await what the future has in store for UA.
 
cpd
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:32 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 2):
Good choice, they make great coffee.

Illy is only as good as the barista who makes the coffee. And UA won't have a hulking big Nuova Simonelli Aurelia machine onboard the plane, much less a barista to operate it, so it might be an improvement on before, but real coffee it won't be.
 
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Polot
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:32 pm

Quoting adamblang (Reply 38):

I was agreeing with you. I think you missed my point. He said that they should invest in better service. I was saying that most people would think that better coffee is better service and used the absurd example of McDs in F class to prove my point. There is nothing fundamentally different about McD and whatever SQ serves in F other than the quality and taste of the food. Every aspect of SQ's F "service", other than food taste, would be identical.
 
vwguru
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:32 pm

Quoting jetblue1965 (Reply 25):
Are these facts, or anti-Smisek opinions masquerading as facts ?


Not anti anything but the coffee they serve, I was on a flight from IAH-LAX in domestic F and did not like the coffee at all. Dunkin just came back to CA and I like their coffee.
 
audian
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:33 pm

Kudo's United. You have got one of the premium coffees in the world!

[Edited 2015-11-19 13:34:08]
 
UA444
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:43 pm

FreshPoo got the contract in the first place due to Smisek being buddy buddies with people who work there.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:11 pm

Quoting panam330 (Reply 40):
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 35):UA would have been better off with HEB Houston Blend. Store coffee never tasted so good, and it's a Texas brand.


Good think UA is a Chicago company.

...run by people from Houston.  
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adamblang
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:13 pm

Quoting Polot (Reply 42):
I was agreeing with you.

Ohhhhhhh...  
 
AABB777
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:17 pm

Quoting gen2stew (Reply 29):
Quoting Sulley (Reply 21):

AA used to have Java City, Juan Valdez, and going way back a signature international blend for intl flights. The newest coffee has gone the same way as the service since US mgt savaged the service: utilitarian. It's coffee by name only.

That's wild that UA removed the water filters, even at the worst times I don't recall AA water being universally bad...

With AA building up it's LAX hub, I would suggest they begin serving Peet's Coffee & Tea or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

One can only hope.
 
VC10er
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RE: United Picks Illy For The New Coffee

Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:09 pm

Gosh, such cynics!

Congratulations to United for making a smart consumer insight based decision.

United has made a positive move, not an earth shattering one, but a decision to signal changes are coming.

It is smart to leverage great brands, first UA tossed out Absolut Vodka for Tito's (a better tasting vodka in blind taste tests, and a much cooler, hotter brand. Absolut actually scores way lower than Smirnoff in blind taste tests among spirits experts, could you just imagine if UA switched Absolut for Smirnoff! Yikes!) source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/26/di...ble-old-label-ices-its-rivals.html

illy is also a great brand to leverage. It is one small step in the right direction and let's hope for some BIGGER better actions in the near future. My hope is for a new and fab international J product, and EWR UA Club renovations, both ASAP.

As for coffee on airplanes, I was a believer that airline coffee was a matter of very bad or just bad. Until I first flew VARIG. They didn't serve a particular brand, they just proved that on an airplane it is possible to get a kick-ass amazing double espresso in all 3 cabins and in a beautiful espresso cup.

If UA could also offer a "cafe duplo" on top of regular filtered coffee, that would be amazing.

[Edited 2015-11-19 15:15:20]
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