How to Select Meal on United Airlines

How to Pre-Order or Select Meal on United Airlines?

9 minutes, 52 seconds Read

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

The travelers are ready to fly with United Airlines as their first choice. So United Airlines tries its best to offer them all the comfort they want. United Airlines started to offer the preorder service to its customers irrespective of which cabin they were traveling, except for Basic Economy tickets. But, sometimes flyers stuck on the question of how to select a meal on United Airlines as well as about the preorder food. So here is the solution to how to order and what travelers need to be aware of regarding the pre-ordered meals on United Airlines.

Step-By-Step Guide to Select the Meals on United Airlines

When you are planning your trip with United Airlines, preorder your meal to avoid all the unnecessary hustle at the last moment. You need to place your order at least five days before the departure. The airline will close the meal order window 24 hours before the flight. If you are a vegetarian and also worried about how to book a vegetarian meal on United Airlines simply follow these steps and you will be able to place your order easily.

  • When you book your flight with United Airlines, you will receive an email five days before departure that invites you to select your inflight meal.
  •  By Clicking on the link you will see the option to select a meal.
  •  After that, click on the option and select the meal for you and the passenger you are traveling with. You can preorder your meal only five days before the departure and up to 24 hours before the flight.
  •  Now, save your food choice and the flight attendant will confirm your order with you on board.
  •  Another option is to go directly to the Manage Booking option and there you can take the same steps to choose your meal.
  •  You can also use the United App to book your meal.


Pre Order Food on the Following Routes

United Airlines allows preorders on flights that have full meal service. If you have selected the flight that serves only light snacks, you can not preorder the full meal there. Along with that, you can order pre-meal on the first-class cabin or business that includes domestic first-class flights and short-haul international business-class flights. Also, United Airlines offers the facility to preorder your meal on United Polaris flights. Generally, this facility is available on flights with 800+ miles. Besides this, you can preorder meals while traveling on the flights to and from these routes.

  • Chicago O’Hare
  •  Denver
  •  Houston
  •  Los Angeles
  •  Newark/New York
  •  San Francisco
  •  Washington Dulles

How do you Order a Special Meal on United Airlines?

How to Order a Special Meal on United Airlines?

Many passengers deal with different health or dietary issues, so they think of ordering a special meal for them on the flight. United Airlines understands the needs of its travelers. That is why airlines offer to make a special meal order on most of the flights over 2,000 miles. You can book your special meal before the booking of your ticket as well as after the booking. But you need to know that you may not receive all the special options for international long-haul flights. 

If you want to pre-order your meal on United Airlines, you can do it using these steps.

  • Request your special meal using
  •  Type your confirmation number and last name, and open your reservation.
  •  After that, select the Special Meal option, which is below the list of travelers.
  •  Now select the flyer and enter their meal preference.
  •  Lastly, click on the “Send Request”.
  • You can also complete your order using the United app.
  •  Open the app and view your trip.
  •  After that, go to the “Edit Traveler Information.”
  •  Now, select your meal preference.
  •  Lastly, click on the “Save to Reservation.”

What Types of Special Meals are Available on United Airlines?

Different meal options are available on United Airlines. Apart from that, if you are vegetarian, then you do not need to worry. The flights with meal service available, also provide standard vegetarian food options without request. But on certain flights, you may also not get the meal of your choice. So be prepared for that too. Here are the types of meals available on United Airlines flights.

  • Vegan
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Kosher
  •  Asian vegetarian

Does United Airlines Offer Child Meals?

When you are traveling with a child and want a meal, then United Airlines also offers kid-friendly options. They will provide it for breakfast, lunch, and also for dinner. So choose the best food for your child and enjoy the journey. But do not forget to pack some snacks for the child because it may happen that the child’s preferred meal is not available on your flight.

Points to Remember Before Selecting Meal

Points to Remember Before Selecting Meal

Here are some important instructions you need to know when you are going to select your meal on United Airlines. So, be smart and check out the information to book either a vegetarian meal or a normal meal on United Airlines.

  • You can book your meal between 5 days and the last 24 hours before the flight departure. If you want to change your preorder meal, then you must act on it between 5 days and 24 hours before the departure.
  •  You can pre-select the meal only on the flight, which has the full meal service available. It is not available on the flight and only serves snacks.
  •  On some selected flights, the preorder closes 48 hours before the flight departs. So always check your flight and fare type to see if it includes the preorder or not. Also, what is the deadline to make a preorder?
  •  If you forget to preorder, airlines will still serve you a meal.
  •  When traveling in the Economy cabin, you can use United’s buy-on-board menu to place your order. You might be asked for your credit card details. However, you will not be charged until the food is served onboard.
  •  Also, when you are traveling with a Premium Cabin, you can choose your meal on the United app or website directly. The receipt will be sent to your email.
  •  If you want to buy snack items while onboard, you can use United’s contactless payment platform to store the payment details in a digital wallet on the United App and also on
  •  You can check the menu of available items either on the United app or in the Hemispheres magazine.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Can I preorder food on United Airlines?

United Airlines offers preorder service to their flyers. It is available in premium cabins on certain flights. You need to complete your pre-booking between five days to 24 hours before the flight departure. When you are going to prebook your meal, check your flight type too because on selected flights prebooking closes 48 hours before the departure.

How do I know what meal will be served on my flight?

When you make your ticket booking you will also receive an email for the pre-order of your meal. When you complete the process, it will indicate on your booking what meal will be served to you on the flight. You can also ask the flight attendants.

Can I bring homemade food on a plane?

Yes, you can bring solid food items either in carry-on bags or checked in bags within the continental United States. Do not carry liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz because it is not allowed in the carry-on bags and might be transferred into your checked bag.

Does United Airlines have a vegetarian option?

Yes, United Airlines offers standard vegetarian meals on flights that have meal service available. So, if you are a vegetarian and planning your trip with United Airlines, you do not need to make a special request for that. 

How do I preorder a meal on United Airlines?

Follow these steps to complete your preorder.

  • First, check your flight details to see whether a preordered meal is available on your flight or not.
  •  If preorders are available then United Airlines will send you an email along with the menu five days before your flight departure.
  •  You can choose the meal for you as well as your traveling partner. Select your meal between 5 days to 24 hours before the departure time.
  •  After selecting, save the choices.

Do you get a meal on United Airlines flights?

Yes, United Airlines offers a free three-course meal along with salad, bread, dessert, and a main course. On flights longer than 12 hours, airlines offer free mid-flight sandwiches and candy.

What snacks are not allowed on a plane?

Some liquid items larger than 3.4oz are not allowed in the carry-on bags. Apart from that you can not carry creamy cheeses, ice cream, jam, jelly, liquid coffee, yogurt, peanuts butter, etc.

Can you order vegetarian food before your flight?

If you are vegetarian and require a vegetarian meal on the flight then you need to make a preorder of your meal a few days before. Also, airlines do not guarantee the meal so you need to be prepared for that.

How do I choose a meal on United Airlines?

You can select your meal through the United app. Simply follow the steps.

  • Open the United app and view your trip.
  •  Then select “Edit traveler information.”
  •  After that, choose the meal option.
  •  Select the meal you want.
  •  And save to the reservation.

Does United Airlines prioritize meal orders onboard?

United Airlines first prioritizes Global Service Members for meal orders. After that, they serve premium 1k members and, lastly, all other flyers. Also, they take the meal orders from front to back.

When can you select meals on United?

You can select a meal on United Airlines around 5 days before the flight departure and, lastly 24 or 48 hours before departure. Once you preorder your meal,  you will get the first choice. You can also choose more items from United First or United Business.

How do I change my meal preference on United?

If you want to change your meal preferences, just pick up your phone and open the app. After that, select the edit traveler information and then select a meal option. Once you have made the selection of your food, click on the “Save to Reservation.”    

Can we select food on the flight?

Yes, United Airlines completely understands that passenger may have dietary preferences and they want to enjoy the meal of their choice on their journey. So, airlines offer so many options in their meal section. 

Why can’t I preorder Meal United?

United Airlines allows you to order meals on certain flights and in the premium cabin. However, you can not select the meal in every cabin. Once you are ready to choose a meal, check your fare type and whether that covers the meal option.

Does United provide meals on international flights?

Yes, United Airlines offers multiple meal options on international flights. You can enjoy a free three-course meal, a main course, and dessert. However, the meal will vary depending on the fare type.

Does the United Basic Economy include meals?

When you are traveling in a basic economy cabin, you can enjoy onboard meals and drinks on a flight to Europe. But if you are flying to Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean, you can only enjoy drinks but no food.      

Does United feed you in first class?

In the first-class cabin, United Airlines offers meals depending on the miles. If your flight is 900+ miles, you will enjoy complimentary meals. But on the flight at 301 to 900 miles, you can enjoy a premium snake basket. Under 300 miles of travel, you will be served complimentary drinks.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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