Free snacks coming back to United Airlines; everything else will cost you

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Free snacks are back at United Airlines. But don’t expect to fill up on these tidbits.

The announcement that United will serve free snacks to passengers in economy seats, starting in February, represents an about-face from the airline trend of charging fees for food, entertainment and seat upgrades.

United spokeswoman Karen May said the free snacks were added in response to passenger feedback and also to help differentiate the carrier from its competitors.

“We want to take steps that set United apart,” she said.

On flights departing before 9:45 a.m., passengers can get a free stroopwafel, which is a Dutch caramel-filled waffle. Coffee, juice and other nonalcoholic drinks are already free.


On flights after 9:45 a.m., passengers can get a free package of either rice crackers and sesame sticks or mini pretzel sticks, Cajun corn sticks and ranch soy nuts.

If you’re still hungry after chowing down on these snacks, United offers economy passengers a choice of food that ranges in price from $4 for a snack box to $10 for a bowl of slow-cooked beef.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.