Home Airlines United, Why Can’t You Serve In-Flight Meals Like This Anymore?

United, Why Can’t You Serve In-Flight Meals Like This Anymore?

by joeheg

I recently had the distinct pleasure of going through a large pile of old paperwork that wasn’t mine. While most of the things I found were junk, I did come across this gem. Reading it, I thought I wouldn’t be boycotting if United Airlines was still like this.

This reminded me more of our visit to the Pan Am Experience.  A trip back to when flying was an experience, not a chore.

Based on the typeface used on the menu and the Friendship moniker, my best guess is that this menu is from 1972-74 which is the only use I’ve found of the cursive “U” of United.

Imagine boarding your flight from Hawaii to California and being handed this menu.

The first page was for the drinks because it was the 70s and of course, that’s the most important thing.

I see no vermouth on the drink list so I’m assuming the “Very Dry” gin martini consisted of gin and ice :-). I also appreciate the statement that no minors will be served liquor. Interestingly, they were also called “soft beverages” and no company had jumped in to be the official soda of United yet.

Here’s the breakfast menu.

Now consider that this was paired with the drink menu from the opposite page :-). Of course, if you were worried about your health you could order the Sanka.

The back page was specific for the flights from Hawaii.

Compare that to what you’ll currently receive on a United flight to Hawaii. That’s if you’re flying from anywhere except the west coast because then you’ll get the same as any domestic flight. Economy Plus passengers on transcon flights get special treatment.

Travelers in Economy Plus on our premium transcontinental flights enjoy extra legroom and will receive an “all-in-one” snack bag with a wrapped sanitizer wipe, 8.5-ounce bottled water and two snacks.

I know there are many reasons airlines no longer provide the service they used to “back in the day.” Airlines are all about profit and there is no shortage of ways they’ve tried to make planes lighter to reduce costs. Passengers have also proven that they don’t want to pay extra for a more enjoyable flight experience, leading to the creation of the Ultra Low-Cost Carriers like Spirit, Sun Country and Frontier in the U.S., RyanAir, and EasyJet in Europe and any number of carriers in Asia and everywhere else in the world.


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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Cover photo United Retro Livery A320 2 by Bill Ward licensed under CC BY 2.0


Mak August 5, 2021 - 9:34 am

This leaves out one critical thing: the food was still terrible, even with the printed menu. I’m old enough to remember being served meals like this very well, and the fact is that nobody enjoyed eating this stuff, and it was still the butt of jokes. Fancy meals on planes are something that very few people want or need, and I’d rather have cheaper fares, less service in the cabin that keeps me stuck in my seat, fewer smells in the cabin, and the ability to buy or bring simple food that tastes better on the plane or to wait for a far better meal on the ground. With the exception of J and F on JAL and ANA, I don’t think I’ve ever had a meal on a plane that was half as good as a mediocre meal on the ground . . . a cabin is just not suited to it and no need to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Mally August 5, 2021 - 2:32 pm

Nothing is forever. For now…

jsm August 7, 2022 - 1:51 pm

Max – your need to fly over the pond on Austrian. Superb food, dessert, and coffee

Christian August 7, 2022 - 4:14 pm

The meal quality was surprisingly good too, although as a good rule of thumb the longer the flight the better the food. I didn’t have the pleasure of flying business class or first until 1986 on and that was even better.

xyeahtony August 8, 2022 - 12:11 am

A flight from California to Hawaii back in the 70s was also $3000 adjusted for inflation.


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