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Ken Hoffman on the controversial new United Airlines snack switch

Ken Hoffman on the controversial new United Airlines snack switch

United Airlines flight attendant stewardess cabin customer
"Thanks, but I'll just have the controversial snack, please." Photo courtesy of United Airlines

Biscoff cookies are now the Boeing 737 Max of complimentary in-flight snacks at United — officially grounded. United Airlines is replacing Biscoff cookies with Oreo Thins starting next month.

You can hear the cheers of United customers over the roar of its jet engines. Oreos — be they regular, skinny, sugar-free, double, triple, and even quadruple stuf'ed (one "f") — are America's favorite cookie and no other cookie is even close. 

Oreos were invented in 1912 in New York City as an almost identical answer to Hydrox chocolate sandwich cookies, which hit store shelves four years earlier. To be honest, I would have thought it was the other way around, Oreos first, Hydrox the copycat. As comedian Gary Gulman says in his 12-minute analysis of the cookie industry, Hydrox are the cookies your mom buys at the supermarket when she isn’t paying attention.

A cookie uproar 
United's ditching of Biscoff cookies has riled some frequent fliers on Twitter, the complaint window of social media. They’re actually threatening to fly other airlines over the Biscoff departure, which is listed "on time," unlike some other United flights. 

Of course, the cookie whiners are just venting, keyboard bluffing, like some baseball fans are saying they won’t attend Astros games because of the cheating scandal. You know something? I may go to more games now. I like theater of the absurd ... and dollar dogs. I’m definitely flying to New York, most likely on United if I find a good fare, to watch the Astros play the Yankees in The Bronx. I will not wear my Astros hat. I don’t want to ride back to Manhattan on the No. 1 train drenched with beer and hearing that my mother had loose morals.

How they crumble 
Oreo Thins are lighter on calories than regular Oreos and Biscoff cookies. Four Thins have 140 calories. Three regular Oreos have 160 calories. Two Biscoffs pack 120 calories. You crunch the numbers for the smart play. Oreo Thins have the same wafer-to-filling ratio as regular Oreos, so the flavor experiences is supposed to be the same. United is continuing to carry its other complimentary snacks: pretzels and Stroopwafels, the Dutch cookie treat recently co-opted by McDonald’s for its McFlurry lineup.

Fun fact: In 2009, Peyton and Eli Manning faced Serena and Venus Williams in an Oreo-licking contest for a TV commercial. The Mannings went on to complete football Hall of Fame careers (don't argue with me, Eli is getting in). The Williams still are playing, still re-writing the tennis history book. In 2010, Donald Trump shot a commercial for Oreo. Not sure whatever became of him.

I’m not a big Oreo guy — regular, Thins or Double Stuff.  I find them too crumbly and dry. I'm told that Oreos are the ideal cookie for dunking in milk, but I don't drink milk, because I’m a grownup. My favorite vehicle for Oreos is cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream or a Dairy Queen Blizzard. 

One warning for in-flight Oreo consumers. Thins are not made for twisting apart and licking the filling. The wafer is crispier than a regular Oreo, so it might crumble onto your lap, which can be a nuisance, especially on a plane.

To recline or not recline
Oh, and just for the record: The guy shouldn’t have punched the back of that woman’s seat. That’s just crazy, approaching violent behavior. Don't be stupid or dangerous. But reclining your seat on a plane is rude, unless you want the person behind you to perform dental work on you. This one is easy, don’t recline.

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