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United Airlines

United Says That These Changes to Polaris Aren’t Necessarily “Cuts”

United Says That These Changes to Polaris Aren’t Necessarily “Cuts”
Jennifer Billock

If you’re flying with United Airlines, some of the perks you may have expected from Polaris have been cut or are scaled back – though the airline notes that these are not “cuts” per se, but changes made based on customer feedback.

Since United’s rollout of Polaris business class in 2016, the highly lauded upgrade to standard business class has seen a number of perks scaled back or cut entirely. And that may come as a point of frustration to travelers who are paying upwards of $5,000 per round trip ticket in Polaris.

The airline maintains that the cuts are not a negative thing – it’s actually based on reported experiences.

“Changes and adjustments are an expected part of any big product rollout,” a United spokesperson told SF Gate, “and that’s what we are seeing here. There is no impact on the customer experience. As a matter of fact these changes come as a result of customer feedback.”

The five major changes since the program was launched are:

  • The rollout of Polaris seats is taking longer than expected; currently only about 20 percent of United’s long-haul fleet has them – meaning that if you book a Polaris ticket, you’ll likely not get the Polaris experience.
  • Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and wine flights on carts have been discontinued because passengers were getting too tipsy. The drinks are available on request now. Also, the chocolate cookie that came with the welcome champagne is gone, but replaced with more desserts on the menu.
  • Starting in February, business class will lose one flight attendant per flight.
  • The massive comfort package of pillows and a blanket, duvets, amenity kits, and more have been switched to request-only because customers didn’t have space to store everything. But one of the pillows has been upgrade to a gel pillow.
  • Snacks are no longer displayed on a rolling cart, they have to be picked from a hang-tag menu on a bottle of water. Also, meals will now be pre-plated instead of assembled in the galley.

[Photo: PRNewsfoto/United Airlines]

View Comments (7)


  1. sfoeuroflyer

    November 15, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Pre-plating guarantees inferior food. But then maybe when UA starts at a low standard, they hope nobody will notice.

  2. Lakeviewsteve

    November 15, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    How does reducing one flight attendant in business class and pre plated meals relate to customer feedback?

  3. kirkwoodj

    November 15, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Inaccurate info in 2nd and 5th points. Was never a chocolate cookie, just chocolates, and snacks from hang tags only on the very few 777-300s (never seen on many “Polaris” flights)

  4. daniellam

    November 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Just when CX is starting to get away from their ugly casserole dishes, UA is going the other direction!

    The only time pre-plating would make sense would be for dishes like lasagne and certain types of baked dishes like mac and cheese. It’s just gross for dishes like steak which can easily get overcooked.

  5. skidooman

    November 16, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    We live in a post-truth era. This is one example. Cuts become “enhancements” that “we think you will like”.

    I long for truth. Too many blankets, I buy this. The service will be better because of one MISSING flight attendant? Come on! Just be straight about it, you did it to save money. Pure and simple. Has nothing to do with the pax.

  6. aragno

    November 17, 2018 at 3:27 am

    “I hate it when there are too many flight attendants.
    I hate it when my food is plate.
    I hate chocolates.
    I love requesting for every item, especially with less flight attendants.
    I hate it when I get too tipsy cause the (now fewer) flight attendants keep coming around with drinks.”

    Said no passenger ever.

  7. flamingocrazyfl

    November 18, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Wow, so glad they got rid of the second flight attendant and are using pre plated meals now. I’m sure a lot of customers will be happy UA listened to their feedback and improved the service in these ways…..smh.

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