United domestic first class meal experience

Nuts and a drink start United first class meals.
Nuts and a drink start United first class meals.

I normally fly American, and I have previously reviewed their mid-con first class meal service. However, last week I took United on my way home from San Diego. What are United first class meals like? On a mid-con, the food and service are both pretty good. The challenge is that they don’t offer some of the options that American does.

The flight attendant offered a pre-departure beverage. I always get a club soda at this point. Very quickly after we departed, we were offered another beverage and a small container of nuts. United offered a pre-mixed Old Fashioned. For the uninitiated, an Old Fashioned is a slightly sweet bourbon drink. It usually comes with bitters and orange. The mix was great, except… except… the flight attendant insisted on putting a lime in it. I might have been better off simply ordering their Buffalo Trace bourbon. It isn’t great, but nobody tries to but a lime with it.

Also, I am drinking a glass of bourbon as I write this. It is gloriously free of lime. Before I digress too far, however, I should probably describe the rest of the meal.

What was United first class lunch like?

Thai chicken with coconut and ginger sauce.
Thai chicken with coconut and ginger sauce. This was the United first class lunch from San Diego to Houston.

This plane did not have DirectTV. I was still able to watch a movie, however, and that helped pass the time as I ate. United offered two options for lunch. The first was a grilled chicken salad. This was served cold, and it looked fine as presented to my neighbor. I selected the Thai chicken with coconut and ginger sauce. I did not observe the flight attendant taking orders by frequent flyer status. Instead, it appeared that he simply went from front to back. That worked well for me as I don’t have elite status on United.

Lunch was served quickly. It was all presented on one tray. The chicken was moist, and the sauce was very good. The grain served underneath the chicken was a bit odd, although it would have been hard to keep rice moist at altitude. It came with a vaguely Asian salad with a sesame vinaigrette. I enjoyed the chocolate cheesecake very much.

I will post later this month comparing American and United first class meals. On balance, though, my United first class lunch was quite good. The service was strong, the food tasted good, and I was able to receive my first choice. I would eat that meal again, and on land would trust that my bartender knew not to put a lime in bourbon. Well done, United.

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