United Airlines

Spotted at United’s Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport

This week I had the pleasure of touring the restaurants and shops at United’s Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport with Eric Brinker from OTG, the company that has been transforming traditional airport concourses into snazzy iPad-adorned destinations.

Stay tuned for a more detailed report on what’s there- and especially what’s about to be there – but as it’s Friday I wanted to share these two pictures of items I spotted on my tour.

Above are some fun candies sold alongside vinyl records and turntables at the gift shop next to the CBGB L.A.B.

Below, LEGO airplanes you can buy with cash – or United airlines miles – at the Miles Shop inside the terminal. You can also use your miles to pay for food and drinks purchased in the terminal.

 

Twitter uproar over United Airlines “leggings-gate”

 

Debate rippled through the Twitter-verse – and beyond – on Sunday when a United Airlines gate agent told two girls flying on United employee passes that they could not board the plane wearing leggings.

Shannon Watts, founder of the anti-gun violence group MomsDemand, overhead part of the discussion and sent out a multi-part tweet to her followers.

After asking  if Watts was speaking with the passenger, United’s social media team initially tweeted that the airline had the right to refuse transport to passenger “not properly clothed.”

Then the airline learned that the ‘spandex girls’ were flying on a United employee pass, which comes with a dress code.

United’s dress code explanation – and subsequent comments by higher-up PR staff, came after Twitter was flooded with comments by people who were upset over girls being told what they could or could not wear – even when flying on free employee passes.

As you may imagine, the story was covered extensively throughout the day.

Here are good recaps from CNN, from the Runway Girl Network, from Flight Chic , and others, including flight attendant and author Heather Poole –

And a final word from United:

 

Airlines + you = hurricane aid

hurricane-matthew-weather-channel

Courtesy the Weather Channel

As Hurricane Matthew continues to pound the southeast U.S. coast, airlines are joining in to encourage everyone to donate funds to help out those affected by the storm.

American Airlines – which has canceled thousands of flights this past week due to the storm – works with the Red Cross year-round and, though Oct. 31, 2016 is giving AAdvantage members who donate $50-$100 to the Red Cross a thank-you of 250 AAdvantage miles. Those who donate $100 or more will receive a 500 AAdvantage miles award.

Details on the American Airlines offer are available here.

United Airlines is also offering some thank-you miles in exchange for your donations to help with hurricane relief efforts:

The carrier is partnering with the Red Cross, Americares, Airlink and OperationUSA and is making five million bonus miles available on a match basis to MileagePlus customers who donate to these organizations through the online donations platform, CrowdRise.

Enter your MileagePlus number when you make your donation, and you can receive miles based on the size of your gift:

·Donate $50-$99 – Earn 250 bonus miles
·Donate $100-$249 – Earn 500 bonus miles
·Donate $250 or more – Earn 1,000 bonus miles.

United’s offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis for donations made here.

United starts pouring illy coffee on July 1.

United coffee art

You can stop saying “No, thank-you” when flight attendants on United Airlines flights come around offering coffee.

That’s because starting Friday, July 1, the carrier will start serving a specially chosen dark roast coffee from famed Italian coffee roaster illy on all flights.

“We acted on customer feedback and are delivering a product our employees are proud to serve, while bringing excellence and passion to every one of the 72 million cups of coffee we serve inflight every year,” said Jimmy Samartzis, United’s vice president of Food Services and United Clubs in a statement.

After merging with Continental Airlines, United had stopped serving Starbucks brand coffee in favor of the brand Continental had been serving. Customers noticed.

To fix that, United went all out – sending Illy coffee experts and caffeine-conscious employees into airports and onto flights to do taste testing and gather feedback on which coffee blend might be the best replacement – and the dark roast blend “won.”

United began serving the illy coffee in its United Club locations in December, 2015. Now that illy has had time to ramp up a special production line to make enough pillow-packs to supply United with the 50 tons of coffee it needs monthly, United passengers will be getting the better brew too.

United was really serious about this coffee switch and back in April, sent a team of key personnel to illy’s intensive University of Coffee at the Culinary Institute of America’s campus in St. Helena, Calif., where they learned about growing, roasting and preparing great coffee.

United team wiht their cups

I got to go along and wrote a piece for USA TODAY about the experience – and about United’s goals in making the switch.

You can read those stories here and here.

Coffee University_United's Jeffrey Pelch conducts taste test at illy University of Coffee in March 2016

United adds Garrett Popcorn to the menu

If you’re a big fan of popcorn in any form and trying out locally-themed treats on the road, then you’ll be pleased to learn that United Airlines has added snack-sized bags of Garrett Popcorn to its by-on-board menu.

United Garrett Popcorn_edited

If you’ve ever traveled through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, you’ve seen – and perhaps bought a bag, or three, of Garrett Popcorn.

And then gone back for more.

Now, if you don’t have time to buy the popcorn at the airport, you can buy a small bag of Garrett Mix -(CheeseCorn and CaramelCrisp) on flights longer than two hours. Price. $3.99

United is also adding a kid-friendly snack box to its by-on-board menu. The Ben Flyin Snack Box will have a turkey stick, animal crackers, apple sauce, a game (Wikki Stix) – but no popcorn.