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After getting banned for almost 20 months, United brings back pre-departure beverages. Pre-departure beverages will be available in premium cabins for both its domestic and international flights. However, there are still some limitations. The airline will restrict the selection to either water or sparkling wine.

The Return of Glassware in Premium Cabins

On December 1, United will also start allowing glassware in premium cabins. Then, first-class domestic passengers can already drink highball glasses or wine glasses. On the other hand, international passengers in Polaris business can choose from different types of glassware including rock glasses, wine glasses, flute glasses, and ceramic mugs

The goal is to improve the drinking experience of passengers. For instance, drinking coffee usually tastes better in a ceramic cup. And wine tastes best when placed in a wine glass.

Concerns Regarding the Return of Pre-Departure Beverages

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union representing flight attendants at United Airlines, isn’t happy with this move. On November 19, the union issued a statement regarding the matter. According to the AFA, the organization noticed several issues as the airline tested the service.

This includes the closer proximity of the flight attendants to the passengers while serving drinks. Plus, there is also the visual that first-class passengers are not wearing masks while drinking their beverages.

The union said in a statement: “While the Welcome Beverage service proposed should be more efficient for flight attendants than the pre-pandemic pre-departure ground service where a broader selection of beverages, including alcohol, was served, we have serious concerns about the timing of the reintroduction of this service”.

AFA also added that “now is not the time to reintroduce this component of the service”.

United Started Selling Hard Liquor

On November 15, United started selling hard liquor in some of its flights despite the number of recorded unruly passengers.

Airlines such as Southwest and American Airlines refused to bring back alcohol until 2022. There are currently more than 5,200 cases of unruly passengers. And recently, the FAA proposed fines of more than $160,000 to 8 cases of intoxicated unruly passengers.

United’s hard liquor is available in small bottles and sold in economy class on flights that are over 300 miles.

John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.

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