United Declares War on American, Introduces Free *Real* Food in Lounges

Posted in American Airlines, Domestic US, In the Air, United

UPDATE: Some readers have pointed out that American is also in the process of upgrading their lounge food offerings to include more real food. The war is happening, people! Soon we’ll be getting cooked-to-order steaks and Baked Alaska before our flights. This is just the beginning!

United has fired the first salvo in the upcoming lounge war with American and it looks like we’re all going to benefit. Let’s just forget that Delta exists for a second — sorry, Rene — and focus on these two legacy carriers. United and American have been battling for the US market since their auspicious beginnings as air mail carriers in the late ’20s/early ’30s. Now, they go nose-to-nose daily to claim supremacy as America’s most valuable carrier as valuable American carriers (ed. note: shout-out to Gene).


As of the beginning of March, though, United has officially declared itself the lounge to beat. United Clubs will now be offering complimentary REAL food in their lounges. This is a stark departure from American’s Admirals Clubs, with which I have been less than impressed. Instead of the yogurt pretzels and wasabi peas of American’s lounges, United has decided to give their guests food that could actually constitute a real snack that doesn’t seem like it came out of a vending machine.


Mediterranean salads? Hot oatmeal? Real, actual soups? I must be dreaming. It’s not the full meal goodness that you’ll find in international lounges (I miss you, The Wing by Cathay Pacific), but this is a great step in the right direction. The new menu is already available in Chicago at O’Hare and by the end of the summer, they’ll be in LAX, SFO, IAD, DIA, EWR, and IAH. At the end of 2015, every United Club across the globe will feature the new, healthier items.

American, the ball is in your court. United has stepped up their lounge game and it’s time for you to follow suit.

Check out the new items below:

New Morning Food Selections

New Afternoon Food Selections

Hot Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

-assorted toppings-

mixed fruit, granola, cinnamon, raisins, honey, brown sugar

Fresh Bagel Sticks

plain and everything bagel sticks with cream cheese, assorted jams

Fresh Hummus

-assorted toppings-

pita thins or pretzel crisps, Greek olives, freshly sliced red bell peppers

Mediterranean Salad

wheat berries, peppers, tomatoes, black olives

Greek Vanilla Yogurt

-assorted toppings-

mixed fruit, granola, cinnamon, raisins, honey, brown sugar

Cage-Free Hard- Boiled Eggs

served with fresh chives and paprika

Soup du Jour

hearty garden vegetable soup

Cured Salami and Cheddar Cheese

served with hearty wheat crackers


flavors rotate between cinnamon

vanilla, blueberry, cranberry orange

Spicy Bloody Mary Trail Mix

with pretzel sticks and assorted nuts


Healthy Fitness
Trail Mix

with assorted dried fruit and seeds


Salty Ranchero

Trail Mix

with sesame sticks


Assorted Cereals
+ Milk

Corn Flakes®, granola, 2% milk, skim milk

Fresh Fruit

apples + bananas

Sheila G’s
Brownie Brittleâ„¢

Artisan Breads



  1. “Now, they go nose-to-nose daily to claim supremacy as America’s most valuable carrier.”. Huh? That would be Delta or American, not United.

    • Gene! We’re pretending Delta doesn’t exist for a moment, remember? It’s in the same paragraph you’re quoting!

  2. Good. Domestic Admiral’s Club offerings are a joke. Hopefully this will put them on par with international lounge offerings.

  3. You realize American announced similar enhancements too, right? Why was that noted? American is rolling out enhanced food to all its clubs – it started with soup, bagels, yoghurt, etc. and will be expanding to include salads, more vegetables, etc. that will be rolled out this year.

    • I didn’t know that at all. Do you have a link, Simon? If that’s the case, the. It looks like the lounge competition is already heating up. I was just in an Admirals Club two weeks ago and there were definitely no improvements made then.

  4. Admirals Clubs now do the greek yogurt, soup, etc thing now too. United’s menu looks marginally better than the revamped Admirals Club offerings, but only a little bit (AA clubs adopted the US standard, more or less, for food plus of course they also do food for sale which varies in quality across locations).

    • When did they start, Gary? I literally didn’t see anything beyond the standard pretzels and chocolate chip cookies at ORD two weeks ago.

  5. SkyClub has a lot of real food! There are always 2 kinds of soup, green salad, chicken salad or something like Mediterranean salad.

  6. Have they upgraded all their lounges? I will have long layovers in DFW and MIA on May 8 and May 24. Is it worth it?

    • They’ve already upgraded ORD and IAH with EWR promised this month (April). The rest are just promised “this year,” so I doubt they’ll roll out by May. That said, it’s worth calling the lounges directly to see if they have updated information.

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