Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

[Rumor] More Polaris "Enhancements" coming May 1, 2018? ...

[Rumor] More Polaris "Enhancements" coming May 1, 2018? ...

    Hide Wikipost
Old May 23, 18, 11:24 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
Word is out on another site (not my post) regarding a company memo about the May 1 "enhancements".

POLARIS SERVICE ENHANCEMENTS
Frequently Asked Questions

1. When do the service updates go into effect?
A: The service updates are effective May 1, 2018, on all long-haul international flights.

2. Why are we making changes to our United Polaris® service?
A: Customers have positively received our United Polaris lounge, and this year we are opening more United Polaris lounges beginning this summer in San Francisco, Houston and New York/Newark and in the fall, Los Angeles. As we continue to add more lounges, we want to take into account the feedback that customers have given us — they’ve emphasized their desire to rest and relax during their journey, especially onboard. The updates to the service flow will allow us to continue providing a premium product with high-quality food, wine, amenities and more, but it’ll be delivered in a more efficient way.

3. What is the new international United Polaris meal service flow?
A: The meal service flow for both first and business class will be the same:
Pre-departure
• Pre-poured sparkling wine, orange juice and water offered from a silver tray, with other beverages available upon request.
Main meal service
• Hot towels
• Linen placement
• Pre-meal beverage cart
• Appetizer and salad cart
• Bread and beverage refills
• Entrées
• Bread and beverage refills
• Dessert and pre-plated cheese cart
• Individual water bottles with hang tags
Mid-flight service (when applicable)
• Display mid-flight snacks on console, self-service unit, fold-down trays or galley countertop.
• Heat and serve hot on-demand items (when applicable) upon customer request.
Pre-arrival service
• Hot towels
• Pre-arrival tray setup with entrée and choice of beverage
• Breads and pastries

4. Will we be able to offer other pre-departure beverages?
A: Yes, upon customer request fulfill other pre-departure beverages in accordance with each departure country’s pre-departure liquor procedures. Refer to the Flight Attendant Policies and Procedures Manual to determine if you are allowed to open beverage carts/carriers that contain alcohol on the ground.

5. Is there still a chocolate offered during pre-departure?
A: Pre-departure chocolates/dessert will be catered on the pre-arrival tray instead for customers to enjoy during or after their flight.

6. What’s changing with the Bloody Mary and wine specialty beverage carts?
A: Wines and Bloody Marys will continue to be available upon request, but the dedicated cart service will change. This was a common flight attendant suggestion for improvement. A new branded cart cover is being sourced to improve presentation in the aisle and will be available shortly after launch.

7. Can we still offer wine tastings?
A: Absolutely. Although the wine arches with the 3 tastings will not be boarded, we can continue to honor customers’ requests to sample select wines.

8. What about the United Polaris first class soup and salad course?
A: The salad and appetizer will be delivered at the same time on a tray setup, instead of having a soup course.

9. What about the turndown service?
A: We will continue to offer the turndown service upon request.

10. Will Express Dining continue to be offered?
A: Yes, Express Dining will continue to be offered and can be requested and delivered at any point during the flight.

11. Will we continue to offer the mini desserts and fruit and cheese?
A: The mini desserts will continue to be offered from the three-tier cart with the signature ice cream service. In addition, pre-plated cheese will be added to the dessert cart. To make room for the fruit and cheese on the dessert cart, the specialty tea box will be removed from the cart, although specialty teas will continue to be available from the galley.

12. Are there any updates to the mid-flight and pre-arrival services?
A: There will be a few updates to both the mid-flight and pre-arrival service.
Mid-flight service (when available) – While we’ll no longer have formal presentation of mid-flight snacks, snack provisioning levels will remain the same and will continue to be displayed near the galley as is done today. Hang tags advising the customers that mid-flight snacks are available will be added to the individual bottle waters distributed after the main meal service. Hot snack items, when available, will also be delivered upon request.
Pre-arrival service – We’re removing tray table linens to reduce trips through the aisle. The tray itself will continue to have a linen liner. The pre-departure chocolate/dessert will be catered on the pre-arrival tray for customers to enjoy during or after the flight.

13. Will there be any new service items introduced to support the new United Polaris service?
A: Yes, there are a few new elements that will be introduced, including:
Cart covers – Similar to some of our competitors, branded cart covers for both the half and full carts will be boarded for use in the aisle on both the beverage and meal tray carts. Cart covers will be available shortly after launch.
Hang tags – To be placed on individual bottle waters at the end of the main meal service to advise customers that mid-flight snacks are available.

14. Will we be changing the domestic meal service procedures to align with the new United Polaris service (e.g. pre-poured pre-departure beverages)?
A: We will continue listening to the feedback of our customers and our flight attendants and will adjust our processes where necessary to deliver the best service for our customers.
Some key points:

- Return of the salad/appetizer cart, although I suspect it's just going to be the meal cart with a fancy cover, to reduce the number of galley trips with hand-run trays
- Beverage carts coming back to the aisle (similar to DL and the former 3-cabin sUA business class service) with branded cart covers
- Soup is gone in Polaris First (so no more differentiation; the product isn't expected to last the full year, anyway)
- Wine tasting arches are gone
- No bloody mary carts (already announced)
- Hot bites will stay
- Bread refills to be offered (return of the bread basket?)
- Pre-departure chocolates returned to the pre-arrival tray

In many ways, this is going to look like the former three-cabin BusinessFirst service with nicer linens and serviceware. Overall, not the sweeping change (or depth of cuts) I was expecting. No word on provisioning of the other items (gel pillows, mattress pads, slippers, PJs, etc.)
Print Wikipost

Old May 29, 18, 8:14 pm
  #481  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: IAH
Programs: UA&Mariott Plat Prem.
Posts: 4,036
I actually miss the Polaris Chocolate pre-departure. On IAH-SYD there was no chocolate on the tray and on return it taste like crap to me.
TennisNoob is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 8:23 pm
  #482  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 753
I flew UA869 SFO-HKG on 27 May and re the chocolates on the tray, there were none. It was that signature united cookie with the berries and white chocolate. Maybe SFO was out of chocolates on that day?
trust77 is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 8:33 pm
  #483  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NYC, FLL
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Bonvoy LTE, BA Silver
Posts: 4,337
Originally Posted by gene2632 View Post
Flew UA941 LHR to EWR last night in Polaris. Pre-departure drinks came on a tray offering water, bubbly or OJ, I asked for and got diet coke, wife asked for and got ginger ale. "Only" two blankets and one pillow and that was fine with me. Dinner has regressed to a hair above what the have in coach. It looks nicer but it was still inedible. Dinner entree was dried out "grilled" chicken over a bed of crunchy rice....it was supposed to be a bed of rice and I am not sure if it was under cooked and never puffed or over cooked and dried out so my dinner became an ice cream sundae. Pre-landing "meal" was salty, fatty, "Italian" deli meats and some salad with cheese......ate least the salad and cheese were edible. The good news is we left early, arrived early and it was smooth across the pond and I got in a nice nap..
Flew the same route, same day, but UA921. Started well with a refilled 'champagne' on boarding, no chocolate (miss those too, but they came later with the second meal). The dinner, 'pasta', was crunch and small. Cheese all over the side salad, no wheat bread. I feel like UA have put so much effort into replacing the dang sundae plates that they lost the desire to delight with the wine flights, Grand Marnier, etc. The wines tasted fine.

As you said, arriving ahead of schedule counts for something. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
seanp7 is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 8:48 pm
  #484  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Mansfield, QLD (BNE)
Programs: UA*1K & UA Club, Hilton D, Mariott/SPG Plat Elite, National Ex. Elite, Hertz Plat, Amex Plat
Posts: 1,572
Flew BHM-IAH-SYD-BNE on May 21; featured no chocolates either. Ordered the grilled cheese Hot Bites; the tomato soup came out lukewarm (almost cold).

The wild bass entree was good albeit very small. The quality of the breakfast omelette seemed very similar to what you would have had in Continental domestic first class around 2011 or so.

All Australia Polaris routes are 787 so it’s the old “new” BusinessFirst seat. Not too bad. Requested and received the memory gel pillow. Forgot to ask for the mattress pad but was plenty comfortable with the day blanket and used the duvet as a mattress pad - as did seemingly every other passenger. Not sure why United wants to hoard the mattress pads but they do.

BHM-IAH was your standard 2 hour ERJ-145 flight. Thoroughly enjoyed the 1K benefit of complimentary choice of snack box.

IAH United Club in E was packed as usual, although the bartender was working very fast. (Think he’s the same guy who’s been there since the Presidents Club days). IAH Centurion Lounge and KLM / Air France lounges close at 9pm, so it’s a useless option for the evening Australia and NZ flights. (I think NZ sends their J pax to the United Club...)

Boarding was about 1/3 of the plane in Group 1 (or so it seemed) with no opportunity for Polaris J pax to board ahead of the line snaking around the concourse of Group 1 lice, unless one wanted to be rude and push forward.

On arrival in SYD, no lounge / arrivals options (a thoroughly discussed problem elsewhere), other than eating and drinking your way through the $38 or whatever Priority Pass allowance. Same story at BNE. Since I needed to be presentable that morning, I took advantage of the Rydges Hotel during my layover for the BNE flight.

Overall, doesn’t seem United is going to do much to merit earning premium cabin dollars - which shows since these flights sometimes don’t even go out full in J. At a 17.5 hour flight it’s a good use of a GPU. The price at $9000 round trip on offer at the time for Polaris seems a poor value compared to what is available on other carriers, unless one just really needs a nonstop from IAH.

A Polaris lounge in IAH would help slightly (rumoured to be going in a floor above the Terminal E UC, if UC staff are to be believed).

United is missing a chance to be the “premium” carrier to SYD with their strong route network to LAX, SFO, and IAH. Given how empty the back of the plane was I’d venture they aren’t succeeding at being the “budget” carrier either.

Joshua is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 8:52 pm
  #485  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Mansfield, QLD (BNE)
Programs: UA*1K & UA Club, Hilton D, Mariott/SPG Plat Elite, National Ex. Elite, Hertz Plat, Amex Plat
Posts: 1,572
Forgot to mention:

Was seated in row 8 (the last row) and by the time my row was served for breakfast, croissants were plated and bread basket was not offered.

Asked for and received a slightly-warm cinnamon roll, but was advised it was the only bread choice left.

For comparison, 5 hour CO circa 2011 flights LAX-CLE were catered with a bread basket and choice offered on arrival including warm cinnamon rolls on 737 equipment... seems a strange downgrade to cut this from Polaris.
Joshua is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 8:53 pm
  #486  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: In between IAD and DCA
Programs: UA Plat 1.1MM , Marriott Gold Elite, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,068
The green chocolate or whatever it was, is complete crap. Absolute garbage. Just bring back the normal chocolate.
UAL250 is online now  
Old May 29, 18, 8:59 pm
  #487  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Between DCA and IAD
Programs: UA 1K MM; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 52,192
Originally Posted by seanp7 View Post
As you said, arriving ahead of schedule counts for something. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Except, of course, when you arrive well before customs opens...


Originally Posted by UAinAUS View Post
PDB chocolates have been replaced with either pre-landing choclates (flights TO US) or pre-landing cookie (fights ex-US).
Indeed--I simply found it odd to have the chocolates with breakfast (and it seems like almost all my Polaris flights have breakfast as the 2nd meal, even those which arrive in the late afternoon).
exerda is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 9:06 pm
  #488  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 753
Originally Posted by Joshua View Post

A Polaris lounge in IAH would help slightly (rumoured to be going in a floor above the Terminal E UC, if UC staff are to be believed).

I was in IAH on 27 May and if you know exactly where the entrance to the new Polaris lounge is, you can from the glass doors see that the entrance is ready to go and looks very much like the entrance at the SFO Polaris Lounge (which is just awesome BTW). That said, maybe the finishing touches are going into the main floor of the lounge and the UA Club Attendant stated end of June 2018 for the opening. Houstonians and those transiting in IAH via Polaris (or via the other credentials for access) are in for a treat. I personally think the new Polaris lounges are much better than the AMEX Centurion Lounges.
kirkwoodj likes this.
trust77 is offline  
Old May 29, 18, 9:29 pm
  #489  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Houston
Programs: UA GS 2MM, QFF Platinum, HH Diamond, HawaiianMiles
Posts: 6,388
Originally Posted by Joshua View Post

Boarding was about 1/3 of the plane in Group 1 (or so it seemed) with no opportunity for Polaris J pax to board ahead of the line snaking around the concourse of Group 1 lice, unless one wanted to be rude and push forward.

On arrival in SYD, no lounge / arrivals options (a thoroughly discussed problem elsewhere), other than eating and drinking your way through the $38 or whatever Priority Pass allowance. Same story at BNE. Since I needed to be presentable that morning, I took advantage of the Rydges Hotel during my layover for the BNE flight.

Overall, doesn’t seem United is going to do much to merit earning premium cabin dollars - which shows since these flights sometimes don’t even go out full in J. At a 17.5 hour flight it’s a good use of a GPU. The price at $9000 round trip on offer at the time for Polaris seems a poor value compared to what is available on other carriers, unless one just really needs a nonstop from IAH.
1. Polaris boarding is with group 1, not separate, so “pushing forward” would have been inappropriate.

2. Essentially no landside arrivals facilities at SYD for anyone, unless you have club access for a connecting flight. This is not unique to UA.

3. Glad your GPU cleared!
kirkwoodj is online now  
Old May 29, 18, 10:35 pm
  #490  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Rowley, MA / Edgartown, MA / Christiansted, St. Croix (USVI)
Programs: UA LT GS/4.8MM, Marriott LT Titanium, IHG Platinum, Global Entry, TSA Pre✓, Korea SeS, APEC
Posts: 495
Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
I'm the opposite direction, and my fares are rarely over $2.5k (P). My upgradable coach fares however are always over $1k.
I rarely buy business class tickets but at $2500 to Asia from BOS I would. Where in US do you typically fly? My typical coach RT BOS-ICN is $900 to $1500. My all time record $520 and I got upgraded. Ticket pricing depends on how far in advance I book, rarely more than 2 weeks before the flight, and the travel day of the week. I typically depart BOS on a Saturday morning. My TPE trip ($4500) was ticketed 2 days before the flight. I always buy upgradable coach tickets.
John Aldeborgh is offline  
Old May 30, 18, 6:26 pm
  #491  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: SoCal
Programs: UA 1K, *G, Marriott Plat
Posts: 921
Originally Posted by John Aldeborgh View Post

I rarely buy business class tickets but at $2500 to Asia from BOS I would. Where in US do you typically fly? My typical coach RT BOS-ICN is $900 to $1500. My all time record $520 and I got upgraded. Ticket pricing depends on how far in advance I book, rarely more than 2 weeks before the flight, and the travel day of the week. I typically depart BOS on a Saturday morning. My TPE trip ($4500) was ticketed 2 days before the flight. I always buy upgradable coach tickets.
Usually California, but I do Texas once a year and recently did New Orleans. Texas and N.O. were both right on the money at $2,700. These fares are usually purchased between 60 and 90 days in advance. I can usually score a $2,200 RT fare to California if I am tracking a flight on google flights. I have a lot more luck flying mid week but I've gotten those same fares flying Friday/Monday.
warrenw is offline  
Old May 30, 18, 6:41 pm
  #492  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 9,515
Also note that ex-ICN is a completely different fare table than ex-US. You seem to get some pretty consistently amazing fares
findark is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread