Reader Reaction – United “Expands” Beverages @ UA Clubs – Higher Prices, Less Selection

by Adam

Yesterday, I posted directly from my iPhone while having a late lunch near Piazza Navona in Rome. It was meant to be a sarcastic post on United’s “upgraded and expanded” beverage options and the unfortunate new realities of drinking at the United Club. However, only the first part of the post with the official PR release from United made it into the entry and the rest of my draft was never copied properly into the WordPress app. Well, it didn’t take long to hear from some of you (24 comments in 78 minutes) with your thoughts on the “expanded premium beverage menu” and what was missing from the post. Here are a few of my favorites:

Seriously? The UC’s value proposition has been terribly downgraded with the extortionate pricing of “premium” beverages that used to be free, and that, if now purchased outside of the club at airport bars, is cheaper. And the stuff that the UC’s now offer for free is not drinkable unless desperate or alcoholic.

What about the price increase and severe decline in quality and selection of free ‘well’ drinks.

Too bad you have to pay for all of it now, except for that horsep*ss called Bud Light. Just another big fail move on the part of UA.

WTF, United’s “expansion” is worse than Delta’s “enhancements”. WORST move ever for business travelers who like a nice quality drink before their flights.

How can they possibly spin this as a good thing? Shame on United.

I miss Continental. Have we had one positive come out of this merger? Slowly taking the worst from each of the pre merger carriers.

Fine, charge us for more premium brands but don’t replace our free drinks with the lowest common denominator. BUD


Whoa, so there you have it, some of those are just a little harsher than my write-up! I’m back to posting from my MacBook Air (currently in the Alitalia FCO lounge), but here’s that original United beverage “expansion”press release once more:

Regionals, Imports and Microbrews
United now offers customers as many as 27 imported, regional and microbrew beers for purchase in addition to complimentary domestic beer. The airline expects to rotate the premium beer menu several times a year.

The beer options include: Anchor Steam, Asahi, Blue Moon, Blue Point, Brooklyn Lager, Corona, Fat Tire, Florida IPA, Goose Island, Great Lakes-Dortmunder Gold, Guinness, Heineken, Hurricane Reef Caribbean Pilsner, Inversion IPA, Karl Strauss, Leinenkugel, Long Board, Maritime, Pyramid, San Tan, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Speakeasy IPA, Saint Arnold and Yuengling.

Premium Spirits and Wines
In addition to expanding the premium beer offerings, United is offering customers a greater selection of spirits and wines at U.S.-based United Club locations. New wine options include a Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, a Donna Paula Malbec and Veuve Cliquot Champagne. Added spirits include Ketel One, Stolichnaya, Hendrick’s Gin, 10 Cane and Hennessey XO.

Additionally, United Clubs in several of the airline’s hubs, including Chicago O’Hare, New York/Newark, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington Dulles, will offer members a complimentary guided tasting of Glenfiddich until the end of the year. A custom-made bar will offer customers a dedicated area to enjoy a pre-departure dram while learning about whisky.

Availability of the new beers, wines and spirits will vary by club location.

“The newly expanded premium beverage menu offers customers more of what they expect in a beverage selection when visiting an airport lounge,” said Martin Hand, senior vice president of customer experience at United. “We are investing in our clubs and providing our customers with more ways to relax and enjoy greater local and global specialties, including regional microbrews and premium wines.”

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Upset United Club Customer September 13, 2013 - 2:34 pm


Thomas Elizer October 3, 2013 - 1:59 pm

Thanks United for helping make my decision to cancel my UC membership. Really ?? Really?? $9 for a Bacardi and Coke? Nope. I will go sit in a crowded, loud, crappy bar in the terminal first. Oh wait it will be just the same EXCEPT I did NOT pay some crazy high priced membership fee.


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