Polaris In-flight Experiences

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Old Apr 10, 18, 8:34 am   -   Wikipost
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Sleep-Enticing Amenities

In addition to the sleep-enticing United Polaris personal suites, several other amenities were designed with our customers' sleep in mind.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership, United has worked with leading luxury specialty store Saks Fifth Avenue for custom-designed bedding. All designed to provide the best sleep in the sky, the new bedding collection will feature plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer. In addition, mattress cushions will be available upon request.

Slippers will be available on all flights, and customized United Polaris pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours*. Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow. New amenity kits will feature ergonomically designed eye shades, calming lavender pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co.'s Cowshed Spa.

With the introduction of United Polaris, the airline intends to donate tens of thousands of pillows, blankets and other inflight service items to Fisher House Foundation, which United and its employees have long supported.
*Flights with pajama service (for both directions)
SFO - ICN, PEK, PVG, HGH, XIV, TPE, AKL, HKG, CTU, SYD, TLV, SIN
EWR - NRT, PEK, DEL, BOM, HKG, PVG
ORD - NRT, PEK PVG, HKG
LAX - PVG, SYD, MEL, SIN
IAD - NRT, PEK
IAH - NRT, SYD
(from United Twitter feed https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CyjFHZLW...jpg&name=large

Trip reports with photos:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...l#post27799060
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Old Dec 7, 16, 4:12 am
  #256  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Just flew IAD-LHR-IAD, and overall I'm pretty impressed with the Polaris soft product. On both legs, the FAs were terrific and seemed really excited to be providing an improved product to their customers. The wine tastings are a nice touch and on both flights I got descriptions of each wine from the FA (much better than the past "I've got red or white" descriptions that we're used to). I also loved the dessert trolley with options beyond an ice cream sundae. The Saks linens feel luxurious and were really nice on an overnight flight.

Here's what I didn't like:
- The meal service is still too slow for a quick overnight flight, though that will be alleviated once the Polaris lounges with pre-flight dining have rolled-out. On the outbound to London, meal orders should have been taken on the ground to speed things up.
- I fail to hoopla about the new menu, as it doesn't seem wildly different from anything in the past. Whomever does meal planning needs some coaching: the return menu had a salmon appetizer, a salmon entree choice, and salmon as the pre-arrival meal...was salmon on sale this week? The food was substantially better ex-LHR than ex-IAD. That being said, I appreciated a proper meal for the pre-arrival snack and not a cheap pizza or calzone.
- There are so many linens at you seat that it can be tricky to find a place to stow them or even put them when you're trying to get settled. Again, this probably won't be an issue once the new hard product rolls out.
- The headphones are still awful and don't do anything to block out noise.
- The china was nice, but I was expecting something a bit more modern or edgy than what I saw.

Overall, I have to give a shout out to the FAs on both flights. They all took their jobs very seriously, and frequently I heard the FAs asking one another for reminders about their training to ensure that they did the service correctly. It was refreshing to see the FAs so enthusiastic about the product and taking such pride in the United brand.
CurbedEnthusiasm is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 5:15 am
  #257  
 
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Ua 78, nrt-ewr, 5 dec.

Like the bear-I bought my seatmate's from him. He was Japanese and totally confused by what was going on with Polaris, and didn't understand the purpose of the bear.

New pillows are fantastic, as was the comforter. Didn't ask for PJs or mattress pad. Didn't open the amenity kit.

I like the new spiked drink tray for the PDB.

Don't drink, so I know nothing about the upgraded sake/wine/liquor/beer.

Missed the new? nuts because I was dozing.

Appetizer/salad tray was abysmal. A weird salad with giant slices of grilled sweet potato? with shredded daikon and tomatoes, served with balsamic vinegar and oil dressing. The two shrimp with saffron beurre blanc were as bland as Cream of Wheat. Tray came pre-loaded with one roll and garlic bread.

Entrees were the same-ole thing as far as over-sauced, Japanese-catered entrees go. Ginger chicken was my choice and was no different in quality from previous catering out of NRT. My neighbor's Japanese selection looked worse than what I have seen previously, and he left a bunch of it uneaten.

The new cheese tray is a serious step down, allowing no cheese selection and only one type of cracker (I assume this to be the case, because I asked for more crackers and they couldn't find any, other than the plastic-wrapped multi-grain crackers that came on the tray-and only one package mind you).

On the dessert side, I feel like the chocolate on the sundae is no longer fudge and the ice cream was not as tasty as I remember, so maybe they changed vendors, but they could've done that a while ago because I remember on my late OCT NRT flight it was the same ice cream. The little lava cakes are nothing special.

Mid-flight snack tray was far better than normal for NRT catering and the grilled cheese and tomato soup snack was good, with the soup being far better than the small finger sandwich-very fresh tomato flavor with excellent seasoning.

I didn't try the "breakfast".

Crew were making an extra effort to tout their new product and were friendly and proactive.

Last edited by zombietooth; Dec 7, 16 at 8:02 am
zombietooth is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 6:36 am
  #258  
 
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Just got off EWR-HKG and have to say was not impressed with Polaris.

Except for the upgraded menu and wines it seemed pretty much like any other biz class flight. The Cabernet was excellent I thought. The short ribs were good.

No pajamas were passed out nor were any bedding or gel pillows loaded. Missed out on the stuffed bears too. The blankets are nicer but hardly worth the hoopla.

Of course my seat's IFE controller was not working and somebody broke off a prong in one of the headset plugs so couldn't use the noise canceling headset. Fortunately I was able to still use the touchscreen and my earbuds.

The crew rushed thru dinner and them promptly disappeared into the galley. Had to get up 3x and ask for refills and water. Did not see any mid-flight snacks put out but by then I didn't care and went to sleep.

They're going to have to get better at this and start making the service more consistent. Maybe my return will be improved.
mrswirl is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 7:10 am
  #259  
 
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Originally Posted by FlightNurse View Post
if you read some of the reports you would see that some people have tried the Grilled Cheese and tomato soup and liked them.
LHR/ORD yesterday; the snack was Cottage Pie as seen on some of the menu photos. It was very good, wish it had been one of the entree choices.

The Cotes du Rhone was a decent $15 wine; disappointed it was all gone after 90 mins into the flight.
sgfood is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 7:22 am
  #260  
 
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Just flew SFO-LHR. It was clearly an upgrade and also clearly the FAs were struggling - I saw them endlessly referring to diagrams explaining how things were meant to be laid out.

Some thoughts:

- more overhead space is needed for all the bedding as there's no seat storage.
- the Swartland Chenin Blanc was surprisingly good and I preferred the Perrier to the Feuillate
- why can't the FAs learn which wine is which. If I ask for one using the name on the menu, why do they have to show me each bottle with no clue as to which I am referring.
- no drinks until 90 minutes after take off or dinner for a further 45 minutes. This is way too slow.
- if UA wants to wow with this, the FAs need to be trained in the rudiments of food service.
- overall it struck me as lipstick on a pig.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 7:40 am
  #261  
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Originally Posted by zombietooth View Post
On the dessert side, I feel like the chocolate on the sundae is no longer fudge
That's been gone for a while. I get the caramel sauce instead.

Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
- no drinks until 90 minutes after take off or dinner for a further 45 minutes.
789?
Kacee is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 8:31 am
  #262  
 
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
- no drinks until 90 minutes after take off or dinner for a further 45 minutes. This is way too slow.
90 minutes to get a drink? I don't think I've waited that long on any airline in any class, ever. That includes Bulgaria Air.


Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
- if UA wants to wow with this, the FAs need to be trained in the rudiments of food service.
Wait. I thought they had special Polaris training.


Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
- overall it struck me as lipstick on a pig.
And not even a "therapy pig."

http://qz.com/854286/san-francisco-i...pig-in-a-tutu/
porciuscato is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 8:36 am
  #263  
 
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Originally Posted by porciuscato View Post
90 minutes to get a drink? I don't think I've waited that long on any airline in any class, ever. That includes Bulgaria Air.




Wait. I thought they had special Polaris training.




And not even a "therapy pig."

http://qz.com/854286/san-francisco-i...pig-in-a-tutu/
Overheard the staff last night - it was clear that they got no training. The lead FA was reading and even said - "what's a Chenin Blanc?" People were wondering how to do many new features - so clearly there was either no or limited training.
uber1K_Flyer is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 9:16 am
  #264  
 
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My S.O. flew NRT-EWR on Tuesday (12/6) and reported a good overall experience. He had the Japanese meal and said the food was a great improvement.
He told me that as far as he could tell, he was the only one who requested the PJs (he had been thoroughly coached by me prior to boarding!!). He also managed to snag a second Teddy during departure. Almost got a third but was beaten out by someone with a quicker grab. :-) However, the entertainment system was not working for the entire flight. Was offered $200 or 10,000 miles as compensation.

I'll post pics from his flight when I get them.
rittenhousesq is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 9:24 am
  #265  
 
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Originally Posted by uber1K_Flyer View Post
Overheard the staff last night - it was clear that they got no training.
You have no evidence of that. Indeed, there is ample documentary evidence throughout the thread from UA epmployees and others that FAs received a significant amount of training.

Every group has a few laggards. It would appear your FA was one. While that's unfortunate, it's not a license to make false statements.

Originally Posted by porciuscato View Post
Wait. I thought they had special Polaris training.
They did. Some FAs absorbed it more readily than others. Every person responds to workplace training differently. While it's never fun to experience poor service from a laggard, it isn't an indictment of the entire company.
RandomBaritone is offline  
Old Dec 7, 16, 9:42 am
  #266  
 
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
....

Wish they didn't go super "fancy" on the salads. Who actually likes kale?
I like those salads. Bring on the kale, feta and watermelon! Compared to iceberg lettuce and carrot peelings, they're a treat.
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Old Dec 7, 16, 10:00 am
  #267  
 
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Originally Posted by mrswirl View Post
Of course my seat's IFE controller was not working and somebody broke off a prong in one of the headset plugs so couldn't use the noise canceling headset. Fortunately I was able to still use the touchscreen and my earbuds.
I'm pretty sure they have a few replacement headsets onboard, at least they did when that happened to me a few months back.
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Old Dec 7, 16, 10:03 am
  #268  
 
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Originally Posted by televisor View Post
I'm pretty sure they have a few replacement headsets onboard, at least they did when that happened to me a few months back.
I think OP is referring to the fact that there is a broken prong stuck in the port.. thus can't plug-in another one.
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Old Dec 7, 16, 10:05 am
  #269  
 
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Out of bears on FRA-IAD late flight. Might be done for good according to FA.

So far so good.
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Old Dec 7, 16, 10:07 am
  #270  
 
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Originally Posted by uber1K_Flyer View Post
Overheard the staff last night - it was clear that they got no training. The lead FA was reading and even said - "what's a Chenin Blanc?" People were wondering how to do many new features - so clearly there was either no or limited training.
Originally Posted by RandomBaritone View Post
...Indeed, there is ample documentary evidence throughout the thread from UA epmployees and others that FAs received a significant amount of training... Some FAs absorbed it more readily than others. Every person responds to workplace training differently. While it's never fun to experience poor service from a laggard, it isn't an indictment of the entire company.
Except that's not the concept UA is pushing with Polaris. FAs are the front line employees who should--if anything--be at least proficient in the complete Polaris service. If FAs didn't get enough training, or they didn't "respond to workplace training," then passengers have every right to--and surely will--complain if poor service.
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