United seems to have quietly updated their policy on alcoholic beverages in United Economy for travel to/within Asia. Per a memo posted on FlyerTalk, the following policy will kick in on January 1, 2014:
All United Economy beer, wine, sparkling wine and sake in the Pacific market will no longer be complimentary. We are confident that our overall product remains competitive in this market.
There are still some inconsistencies on their website as to the policy, which I guess isn’t surprising since this is a new change and hasn’t even officially been announced yet.
The international economy class beverage page still lists beer and wine as being complimentary on transpacific flights and flights within Asia and Micronesia:
International United Economy:
Red, white and sparkling wines are available for purchase in most markets, and are complimentary on trans-Pacific international flights and on flights within Asia and Micronesia.
Meanwhile on their international economy class seating page they added “Asia” to the markets where wine, beer, and spirits are available for purchase:
United Economy on flights to Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South America and the South Pacific
Meals and beverages
- Complimentary soft drinks, juices, tea and freshly brewed coffee
- Wines, beer and spirits available for purchase
- Complimentary meal service
- Mid-flight snack service on longer flights
- A light meal served prior to arrival on longer flights
Really what actually amazes me (and admittedly I’m easily amazed, but…) is that someone can say “we are confident that our overall product remains competitive in this market.” Have you seen economy class on United’s 747s? And then there are airlines like Singapore, that have modern cabins, amazing IFE, friendly service, and edible food.
I guess the two billion dollars in cuts at United has to come from somewhere.
Meanwhile earlier this month Delta added free spirits in international economy, not just to Asia, but on all longhaul international flights.