United to offer free beer, wine to United Economy customers on long-haul international flights

Pop the cork and open another brew.

Starting this spring, United Airlines will give free beer and wine United Economy customers on long-haul international flights. That includes trans-Atlantic flights, most trans-Pacific flights and service between the United States and Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

The free alcohol service starts June 1, the airline said. The Chicago-based airline said it is also upgrading its food offerings to include a complimentary “hearty three-course service” for economy passengers that starts with a beverage and snack of cheese and crackers, baked whole-grain bruschetta chips or Kiri cheese spread and crackers.

The upgraded main course includes a choice between home-style turkey meatloaf in spicy barbecue sauce, Tuscan ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce and Udon noodles with stir-fried vegetables and ginger soya sauce, according to the airline. To cap off the experience, customers can also choose a “premium dessert,” including gelato, sorbet, ice cream and mousse, according to a news release from United.

“United is committed to improving every aspect of our customers’ experience on the ground, in the air and with every interaction,” Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United’s senior vice president of customers, said in a news release.“The changes to come on June 1 will deliver an elevated onboard experience on many of our intercontinental flights and will offer travelers the high level of service they expect from a global airline.”

According to USA Today, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines currently offer free beer and wine for economy passengers on similar long-haul routes as do a number of foreign carriers with U.S. routes, including  Lufthansa German Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Etihad Airways.

“This is one of those moves that’s logical for United to make in order to be viewed as competitive,” the newspaper quoted Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco, as saying.

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Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.