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Flying is canceled

Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2018

Air travel—especially early morning air travel—is never a picnic, so you take little pleasures where you can find them. On United, one of those pleasures was the airline’s stroopwafels. But for now, say goodbye to the Dutch treat: This week, United Airlines announced its stroopwafels would be almost entirely replaced by a… wait for it… “maple-flavored cookie.” Doesn’t quite sound as inspiring, does it?

Stroopwafels really are a nearly perfect airplane food. More akin to a lattice-covered cookie than an actual waffle, stroopwafels are solid, but also a touch soft, meaning, unlike with a harder cookie, you won’t be covered in crumbs once you’re finished. They’re also syrupy without being sticky, perfect for when the fasten seatbelt sign keeps you from washing your hands in the lavatory. Finally, the thin, round disks are meant to rest over a cup of coffee or tea, where the steam can penetrate the cookie and soften it up before you bite into them. United’s take was just a touch larger than the opening of its coffee cups, making it the perfect fit—great for cookie softening, and also great in the event of any unexpected turbulence, when your stroopwafel could serve as a de facto lid.

But alas, the stroopwafel, which United made a big deal about in 2016, is being phased out on all flights other than those departing Europe before 9:30 a.m. As its replacement, the airline announced that “building on one of the hottest flavor trends,” it would be serving “a maple wafer cookie that combines a crunchy texture with a sweet maple flavor.” Yes, “crunchy” does sound like crumbs. And sadly, these small wafers will not cover your coffee. Expect to see them on flights departing before 9:45 a.m. beginning as soon as this weekend.

“We know that maple is an increasingly appealing flavor, and we are always looking for ways to capitalize on trends in taste buds,” Vice President of Catering Operations Charlean Gmunder said in a statement that also explicitly mentioned that Google Trends data suggests maple could be the “next pumpkin spice”—an area that, no offense, is probably outside of United’s realm of expertise.

Needless to say, bumping the humble stoopwafel for the supposedly flashy maple was met with dismay by many travelers. If any slim bit of solace exists, it’s that United’s announcement also stated, “The Stroopwafel will be available again in the future as the airline rotates between morning snack options.” Call us when that happens, United; our phones won’t be in airplane mode because we’ll be traveling via Amtrak.

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