Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it

People have long complained about the lack of “fresh” snacks at United’s Red Carpet Clubs. I never had an issue with it, since it presented an easy way to, erm, “borrow” some snacks for my travels. When you have a long delay some pre-packaged snack mix, pretzels, or cookies can go a long way. Once in a while a couple of packaged ghetto cheese slices and crackers were even nice.

Well, United has responded to those complaining about the lack of “fresh” food by changing the way they approach snacks at many of the larger Red Carpet Clubs. No more packaged crackers and cheese. Instead the crackers are now on a tray and the cheese comes in the form of “cubes” on a big tray. In other words, there’s no way to take them for your travels. No more packaged snack mix. Instead, there’s a snack mix dispenser. No more delicious packaged cookies. Instead they have “gourmet” cookies on a tray. They also have chocolate covered peanuts and raisins and dried fruit at some stations.

While this isn’t all that consistent yet, I’m a bit peeved, although I wasn’t one to complain about the packaged snacks in the past. Without walking into the Red Carpet Club with ziploc bags, I’m not able to take any snacks for my flights anymore. How dare they!

Filed Under: United
  1. Now ‘fresh’ is a relative term. Did you try any of them? Were they really fresh? I am also concerned about the cheese cubes’ impact on the rat population in the IAD RCC :).

  2. LOL… “delicious packaged cookies?” are you kidding me? Those Knott’s berry farm shortbread cookies with the little dollop of crap in the middle of them? Good riddance.

  3. @ unroadwarrior — Entirely a relative term, if even that. More about the fact that something on a plate is assumed to be fresh, while something packaged isn’t. LMAO, yeah, the rats might be an issue.

    @ TonySCV — Hell no, those are nasty. I do like the Walkers chocolate chip cookies, and I’m even more a fan of those packaged brownie things or the oatmeal “cakes” in the same packaging. Now those are good!

  4. Been a few months but last time I was through the LAX RCC they had Pepperidge Farm cookies (chessmen and the like). Which I’ll take any day, actually.

    Used to love Biscoffs, and Delta stocks those in their Skyclubs, but after so many years of flying I just can’t anymore…

    Question for the bean counters — will these fresh trays increase or decrease costs? Reduced walkaways a la lucky, but a greater need to replenish stuff that sits out for hours. Which is the bigger effect?

    And I do wonder whether each RCC will follow health department guidelines for their respective jurisdictions with regard to proper food handling, frequency of replacement, temperature, etc…. And not just at IAD!

  5. @ Gary — Ah, GREAT questions! The first question that goes through my mind is what United used to pay for their packaged snacks. The packaged pretzels and snack mix were probably part of their onboard catering contract, while the packaged cookies and other packaged snacks were basically “advertisements.” I can imagine that they paid next to nothing for them. Since the new snacks aren’t packaged, they’re not really advertising any brand. Are they all of a sudden spending more for the snacks? I can’t imagine that’s the case, although there definitely is less removal of snacks from the club nowadays. Or maybe they weren’t getting much of a discount to begin with.

  6. Step 1: Take one of those bags from TSA
    Step 2: Load up at the RCC
    Step 3: Enjoy my “meal” on my domestic flight.

  7. reporting from ORD C16 RCC. 2pm Monday afternoon. I would still call this the ‘old’ layout, packaged snacks across the board, except for the carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower. Sadly, no brownies or oatmeal “Chewies”

    Just for a point of reference, the old NW Worldclubs used to have packaged carrots and celery, but cookies were on a platter (tasted rather uh, dated). Thanks to Delta, its nothing but snack mix and non-perishable items except for 4-7pm. ugh

  8. Does anyone know what the big metal tray thingy built in to the counter near the bar at SFO INT’L RCC used to be for? Did they used to serve hot appetizer finger foods on that thing – a relic from days long gone?

  9. +1 @Chris — this saves packaging for the majority of visitors, who *are* eating this stuff in the clubs.

    For those of us who take it to go (myself included), bring a ziplock bag or some resuable tupperware. I’ve found the BOB boxes work perfectly for this.

  10. I usually didn’t eat much in the club, but packed away a few (really, just a few) snacks for the flight. None of the stuff was ultimately worthwhile hoarding — any grocery store has better items for tiny amounts of money, and just because it’s free doesn’t mean it tastes good/better.

    Looking at the amount of trash it produced, I think I am fine with the change.

  11. At which RCC locations did they make snack only trays? I prefer the prepackaged snacks. My advice is to grab a few zippies courtesy of the TSA and then load up on the goodies:)

  12. “For those of us who take it to go (myself included), bring a ziplock bag or some resuable tupperware. I’ve found the BOB boxes work perfectly for this.”

    Are you the guy who walks into my Starbucks with an entire lunch from the deli and sits down to eat it?? 😉

  13. Even a cheese platter at a fine French Restaurant at the end of a meal doesn’t compare to the quality of those cheese slices served invidually wrapped in plastic. Brie, epoisses, goat — forget them. You haven’t lived until you’ve dined on cheese at the RCC. Honestly, they are far better than those Kraft wrapped cheese slices in the supermarket. I don’t think those qualify as cheese at all.

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