Before a recent flight, I walked into a United Club pretty hungry but with very tempered expectations about the options I’d find. I expected to encounter some brownie bites, crackers, juice or maybe even a microwave-quality biscuit, only to be (pleasantly) shocked.
Where I thought I’d just see some modest snacks, there was one of the most exciting things imaginable inside an airline lounge: a real, hot breakfast taco bar.
I thought I must have bumped my head while getting out of the car that morning and was clearly dreaming.
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Thinking it was a one-time fluke, I savored this lucky morning moment with a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast taco before my boarding … and went back to expecting mediocre cheese cubes and crackers on future visits.
However, this airline lounge taco phenomenon has continued since that fateful morning. Breakfast tacos, lunch tacos, dinner tacos — I’ve seen all of these lineups available over the last couple of months in the Houston United Clubs.
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And it’s not just in Houston. Taco fixings have also been spotted in other United Clubs, too, such as in Newark and Los Angeles.
Related: Inside the much-anticipated new Newark United Club
Introducing the United Club taco bar
Outside of a short period of time earlier in the pandemic when there were some solid to-go fruit and sandwich boxes available in some clubs, and until the taco bars started appearing in more locations, United Clubs haven’t always been synonymous with decent, real food.
For that, you usually have to go to the American Express Centurion Lounges or, even better, the Capital One Lounge. Or really, anywhere else.
Even the Delta Air Lines- and American Airlines-branded lounges usually have more substantial food and snack offerings than most United Clubs.
And I don’t want to oversell the taco fixings in some of the southern United Club locations, as they aren’t necessarily going to win awards outside of when you’re in an “airline lounge captive” environment.
However, being able to grab something that can quite fairly pass as a “meal” without having to pay airport meal prices is enough to get me excited — especially when the whole family is along for the ride.
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TPG reached out to United to learn more about when and where you’re most likely to spot a taco bar and will update you if we receive some official taco information.
Related: United expands preorder meals
After enjoying a number of preflight tacos in a variety of the Houston United Clubs, I’ve come to really look forward to them.
If this sounds good to you, there are many ways you can access United Clubs, including flying on certain premium-cabin tickets or having certain elite status levels, via the membership that comes by having the United Club Infinite Card or with the two annual lounge passes that come with the United Explorer Card or United Business Card.
However, before you get too ready to make that taco plate, keep in mind that during busy periods, the clubs do limit access with the one-time passes.
So if that’s your entry plan, then just file away the fact that airline lounges can be really busy at peak travel times — especially if word gets out about the taco bar. But hopefully, you’ll be able to make any day that you’re flying through one of the participating United Clubs into your own personal taco day.