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United Clubs aren’t the fanciest places in the world.
They have decent seating, places to plug in for power, some very basic snacks, not so high quality free liquor, and better liquor available for airport bar prices or a bit less.
A lot of them are being remodeled, which is good, but it doesn’t to much to spruce up the lack of food options.
Last year, Delta trumped United’s offerings by introducing a small spread of soup, salad, and cold pasta to all SkyClubs. It also has food available for purchase in some clubs.
US Airways and Alaska clubs have long had some soup on offer, while Admirals Clubs recently added the US Airways soup and have long had food available for purchase.
United Clubs don’t have any food options – either free or for purchase.
But recently, United representatives confirmed that new developments are in store for the United Club spread.
No specifics were given, but they didn’t deny speculation that improved snacks or even free food may be on offer.
And it wouldn’t surprise us to see some paid food options rolled out at some of the larger hub clubs.
An early concept of renovations taking place at United’s Newark hub indicated a restaurant with an entry attached to a United Club as a possibility.
United seemed to indicate the timing of changes and announcements would be quite soon.
So we’ll quickly know how much this will cost.
When Delta rolled out the better food spread, it eliminated free guest access to clubs at the base membership level, instead introducing a higher ‘Executive Level’ which costs $695 per year versus $450 for regular membership.
Will United cut guest access?
We hope not.
Instead it might end up being more like Admirals Clubs, where there are more paid food options, and a few upgrades to the snacks like hot soups. Not quite as generous as the Delta spread, though matching or exceeding the Delta options would be a nice differentiating point.
We take some comfort knowing Delta gives free basic level lounge access to its top tier Diamond Medallion fliers, while United and American do not, so Delta may have had a more acute crowding problem without the membership revenue to accommodate it. Thus its need to cut guest access.
At least we hope that’s the logic United works through. Because loss of spouse privileges, especially with well appointed American Express Centurion lounges opening in key airports like United’s SFO hub, would start to make them uncompetitive.
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