United providing free beverages for passengers waiting for delayed flights!?

a plane on the runwayI was at Orlando airport (MCO) earlier this week. As I was walking to my gate, I saw a large cart with ice and cans of juices and sodas parked at a gate just before mine. I saw that it was manned by a couple of ladies in United uniforms, so I walked over and commented – ‘Hey drinks for everyone?’. The reply I got floored me! I was expecting them to say that it was for some special event – an inaugural flight, retiring pilot, new aircraft… but they said that it was for the passengers of their delayed flight! I was indeed impressed. I have been on several delayed flights operated by United (and others) and have never offered a drink or even water. Always been left to fend for myself in the airport. And I have never had any issue with it either. (Low expectations, I guess). But, if United is now starting to offer beverages at the gate for delayed flights, it is a new high in customer service (starting from a very very low point, that is). This was after all a domestic flight (United has no international flights originating in Orlando) and this was a cart setup and operated by United, not the local friendly restaurant.

So, was this a one off? An experiment? Has anyone else experienced free beverages while waiting for a delayed flight? Please leave a comment and let us know. If this is now going to be standard practice for United, will other follow suit? Is this not a great thing for passengers? What do you think?

For those of you wondering, yes, despite my not being on the delayed flight, they did give me a can of a beverage of my choice, just for stopping bye.

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  1. I was at SFO and United flight was delayed due to Obama’s arrival by 1.5 hrs but no beverages

  2. I’m sure that if some at WHQ in Chicago hears about this customer service move that corrective actions will be taken immediately. 😉

  3. I was on a double-delayed UA flight from IAH to MCO last week (a mechanical issue delayed us so long that an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and delayed us again). After the 2nd delay was announced, the pilot said that if they couldn’t get the jetway opened up for us so we could get off the plane, that they’d bring food to us (us as in everyone, coach and first class). I was shocked!
    They did manage to let us off the plane after-all but I was impressed with that actions were being taken to ensure we were fed.

  4. I was in MCI and Newark flight was delayed 4 hours due to mechanical issues and they brought out a cart with beverages out for those waiting for that flight

  5. It was par for the course by PMCO at IAH. If a flight was delayed for a short while and you had to deplane, they’d give drinks, etc. to keep you near the gate.

  6. Wow imagine that – Taking care of their customers by doing a little “above and beyond” public relations. Let’s hope this becomes a trend with UA and others to follow.

  7. I’ve never had this happen with over 400K BIS miles on UA (not CO, thankfully!).

    @Carol: Were you on a UA or CO operated flight? On UA, Captain Denny (huge thread on FT) is known for doing things like that when flights are delayed, etc..

  8. Once @2 yrs ago during a delay at RNO, the GA walked around with a basket of chips/candy.

    That was only time in several hundred UA/UAX flights that I’ve seen that happen.

  9. This is a step down! It’s hardly new customer service.

    The new policy is instead of the $15/$20 meal voucher, they will provide a “beverage cart”. What would you rather have?

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