Newark Airport is one of United Airlines’ largest hubs, which means you’ll find plenty of United flights out of EWR. While the airline has gotten a bad rap lately, it recently announced a few changes to improve the relationship it has with its customers.
Complimentary snacks used to be a normal perk for flyers, but as the years went on, many airlines decided to do away with them in order to save money. Now, only a select few airlines still offer free snacks for all flight classes (notably, JetBlue and Delta), and United is reportedly joining the list.
In a USA Today article, United vice president of food and services Jimmy Samartzis says, “We’re refocusing on the big and little things that we know matter to our customers and shape how they feel about their travel experience. We’re bringing back complimentary snacks that are a nod to our global presence. They also add that extra level of service our employees will be proud to deliver and will make a big difference for our customers.”
Snacks like the stroopwafel (a Dutch caramel-filled waffle), Asian-style snack mix, and zesty ranch snack mix will be offered to all travelers on North American, Caribbean, and Hawaiian flights, depending on the time of the flight.
For years, United’s choice of on-board coffee has been frowned upon by coffee lovers everywhere. Though the Fresh Brew brand beat out Starbucks in a taste test, plenty of travelers have complained to the airline about its taste. In another effort to improve customer satisfaction, United is switching its coffee brand to an Italian premium brand called Illy once its Fresh Brew contract is up in 2016.
Unfortunately for many Newark flyers, United Airlines is consistently ranked at the bottom for on-time flights. In fact, this year it ranked 10th out of 13 major airlines, with 76% of its flights being within 15 minutes of their scheduled times. In a recent press release (quoted by Fortune), however, United announced a bold promise to its customers:
“Over the past year, we have been intensely focused on delivering a best-in-class operation, and have invested heavily in our products, our planes, and our people to accomplish that goal. We’re so confident in our ability to deliver operational excellence relative to our major U.S. peer airlines that we’re holding ourselves accountable to our corporate accounts through our industry leading Global Performance Commitment.”
In other words, United promises to be as on-time as other airlines (such as American and Delta) next year, or select corporate clients will be compensated with upgrade and/or fee credits. The airline’s reliability did jump in September, so as long as they keep up the effort, United flyers may see a big improvement in 2016.