Lonely Planet Writer

New United Airlines gift service wants to surprise passengers mid-air

The tighter security in airports these days sadly means the traditional romantic comedy dash to the airport gate has become an impossibility (unless you want to have a stern conversation with security afterwards). The new United Airlines gift service is on hand to reassure you mid-air romance isn’t dead.

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United airlines gift service will soon be delivering right to your seat. Image by Walker and Walker


The airlines’ new programme called ‘Celebrate’ allows people to buy a gift for a passenger from duty free and have it delivered onboard with a personalised note. The programme is available for any passenger departing on a United Airlines flight from the USA. All the gifter will need is their name and flight number.

The possibilities for making a loved one’s flight more comfortable are endless; from neck pillows and perfume to more practical gifts like a decent set of headphones or some toiletries to freshen you up before you land.

The new facility is a throw-back to the golden age of travel, a time when luxury and comfort were a core part of the flying experience. It was prompted by a United Airlines’ employee’s suggestion after she remembered delivering a bottle of champagne to a couple embarking on their honeymoon 40 years ago.

United Airlines gift-giving service is also part of a wider trend in the airlines industry to make air travel more comfortable again. United Airlines caused great joy online by bringing free snacks back to economy class earlier this year while low-cost carrier Ryanair attributes their increasing profits to a major drive in improving customer service. The effort seems to be paying off as customer satisfaction with major airlines is currently at an all-time high.