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On Sunday, United Airlines flight UA19 was delayed by almost two hours. The flight departing from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) being late might not sound like news (especially since United has had so many delays and cancellations out of Newark lately), but the cause is one of the more uniques ones. Catering boarded expired meals and Business Class passengers were asked to deplane with vouchers to go purchase food.
On a good day, United’s catering is passable (I wrote about my most recent experience here). At other times, it’s downright awful (I’ve compared it to prison food in the past). But, it has not been unfit to eat or expired. This is unacceptable on so many levels, but here are my biggest questions/issues:
- Are these meals not made fresh to order for a day’s flights?
- How were there no extra meals in a major hub like Newark (which is also United’s gateway to Europe)?
- Why was something not provisioned and brought on the plane? Was it really better to issue vouchers and let passengers deplane to buy food?
Apparently, United thought this was the best solution. AZ112 on FlyerTalk shared this first-hand experience:
On July 2nd, 2023, I boarded flight UA19 EWR-MXP. Departure of the flight was delayed by approximately one hour (as usual on this route). After we were all onboard, an additional 30 minutes passed without any information regarding the delay. It was only when the [purser] made an announcement that we were informed about the extended delay. Apparently, the delay was caused by expired meals loaded for the business class passengers.”
The amount of the vouchers was not reported as the poster was seated in Economy. Newark has some of the most expensive food options with OTG maintaining most of the dining outlets.
Anthony’s Take: United can’t seem to get out of its own way. If it’s not arguing with the FAA, having its CEO flee on a private jet, or making crew and passengers sleep on cots, it’s having issues with catering at one of its hubs. Does anyone know how much the voucher was for? What would you have eaten in EWR?
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