United Airlines wants flight attendants to recognize 1K members with a personal greeting onboard, arguing it will lead to more loyalty. It also wants flight attendants to proactively apologize for the lack of food and beverages currently offered for sale onboard in economy class.

United Airlines Tells Flight Attendants: Please Recognize 1K Members!

In a memo to flight attendants reviewed by Live and Let’s Fly, United explains the rationale behind offering individual recognition to 1K members.

Although we want to make all of our customers feel welcome and special when they are onboard our flights, we must recognize our most loyal customers. Many of our top-tier Premier members haven’t flown since early 2020 and as they return to travel, it’s important that we proactively greet them and thank them for their loyalty.

Citing recent post-flight surveys, United explained that Global Services and Premier 1K members cite onboard verbal recognition as “one of the most impactful things we can do to increase their satisfaction”

Addressing the lack of complimentary buy-on-board food and drink items for 1Ks who are not upgraded, 

“As a (Global Services or Premier 1K), I would like to thank you for flying with us today and being one of our top members. I’m sorry we cannot offer you a complimentary snack and/or beverage as that service is temporarily suspended due to safety protocols, but we truly appreciate your loyalty and for choosing United.”
“Thank you for being one of our top members in MileagePlus. We really appreciate you trusting us with all your travel needs. I’m sorry we cannot offer you a complimentary snack today as that service is temporarily suspended due to safety protocols. As we begin to bring back those items we will once again offer them complimentary to you. Thanks for you flying with us today!”

This memo was likely prepared in direct response to Kyle’s incident onboard a United flight from Ft. Meyers to Newark in which he was berated by a flight attendant for asking about a complimentary snack box when his upgrade did not clear.

United further notes that complimentary food and drinks for 1Ks will return in economy class (and indeed, will return on more routes this month) as buy-on-board service returns.


United wants flight attendants to “please take a second to say hello, thank them for their loyalty and let them know how much we appreciate them – they haven’t seen us in a while.” I think it’s a great reminder.

As a 1K myself, I certainly concur in how much I appreciate a kind word from a flight attendant about my loyalty and business. I hope that many flight attendants, especially the one who snapped at Kyle, will read this and take it to heart. For those who already do, thank you.

By the way, this folks, is how customer service is re-trained. One memo at a time. One flight attendant at a time.

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