United Is Bringing Snacks & Alcohol Back to Flights

Booze makes economy feel like first class. Trust me.


Last week, Delta announced plans to resume alcohol service for first class and comfort+ passengers only. But since my budget barely covers the overpriced airport snacks, I'm stuck back in coach, which at the moment, we've gotta endure sans alcohol buzz. Unless you're flying United, that is. 

Beginning Friday, July 3, the carrier officially reintroduced onboard food and drink service following a months-long pause in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And while this isn't a first class only situation like Delta, there are restrictions. Namely, economy passengers can only score free booze on international flights. 

The airline will offer drinks from the beverage cart (not including alcohol) on domestic flights over one hour, as well as coffee and tea on trips departing before 9:45am, international, and premium transcontinental flights. United is also bringing back complimentary liquor in single-serve bottles for premium cabins and complimentary beer and wine in economy cabins on international flights.

Unfortunately, paid options (like mixed drinks for domestic economy passengers) will have to wait a bit longer. United is hoping to cut down on touch points between customers and flight attendants while the pandemic rages. 

"These updates are based directly off of customer feedback and were evaluated in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic to ensure we are providing the highest levels of safety and health for our employees and customers," a rep for the company told Thrillist via email. 

As for the snack situation, first class passengers on hour plus long flights will nab "all-in-one" snack bags with hand sanitizer wipes, a water bottle, and two snacks while economy passengers can expect the same snack bag on trips longer than two hours and 20 minutes. For those longer flights, first class passengers will score a full snack box. International flights will get you even more: an entrée, snack, and packaged dessert. 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.