2019 Let's Eat - Polaris Business

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Old Feb 14, 19, 11:29 am
  #181  
 
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
I respectfully disagree. The original inception of Polaris was an upgrade, with upgraded meals, additional desserts (petit fours), new crockery, wine flights, and so on. It was only after the initial rollout of Polaris, that UA kept decimating the service, thus where we are today. If UA kept the original, initial Polaris rollout the way it was, then it wouldn't be a downgrade. Unless there's something I'm missing.

Question: Is there any way the service can realistically get worse? I mean, it could go to a domestic-style all-at-once service, with cheesecakes/pies replacing the sundae service, and the small domestic-style salad replacing the salad course, but that wouldn't be competitive. Is there anything UA can further do to decimate the service, while remaining competitive? In other words, have we hit rock bottom here?
UA is competitive on the lounge(and then some) and seats; everything else however seems to be marginally better than what's offered in domestic F. Actually I would say that domestic F seems more personalized in food/drinks delivery in that it doesn't use carts in the aisles.
To that point, other than the seat and lounge access, what differentiates Polaris from Premium Plus? Catering wise I would say, especially since Polaris has downgraded to domestic F plating, its not going to be all that different save for maybe the appetizer, wines, and dessert. Which seems to go back to the issue that dogged BusinesFirst and GlobalFirst.....seat was better, different wines, different appetizer, and soup. Maybe that's the mindset of where UA is trying to shift their model to. I also really thinking that people on exUSA flights won't really be impacted by the downgrade because they will eat in the lounges, resulting in a decrease in the uptake/need for more substantial catering. UA will spin this as "our premium class customers have indicated that they prefer the ability to eat before flights in order to maximize their sleep on the flight". So even if they do head to the domestic F style service, which at this point wouldn't surprise me, they will surely justify this by promoting the lounge and seats.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 12:11 pm
  #182  
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Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
I also really thinking that people on exUSA flights won't really be impacted by the downgrade because they will eat in the lounges, resulting in a decrease in the uptake/need for more substantial catering.
Which of course completely misses the inbound flights from non-US outstations - some featuring very basic lounge experiences.
Worst in the case of the longer westbound, daytime TATL flights.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 12:45 pm
  #183  
 
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
Which of course completely misses the inbound flights from non-US outstations - some featuring very basic lounge experiences.
Worst in the case of the longer westbound, daytime TATL flights.
Oh I absolutely agree with you, but I suppose most of UA's point of sale is exUSA; they probably think that they've already suckered someone into buying a RT, so they are going to be flying back UA on the return regardless of what's offered on the other end.

From the westbound TATL perspective, UA is absolutely not competitive in their offerings save for the seat but that also assumes you are on a Polaris equipped a/c not with the pmCO seats.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 12:49 pm
  #184  
 
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
Which of course completely misses the inbound flights from non-US outstations - some featuring very basic lounge experiences.
Worst in the case of the longer westbound, daytime TATL flights.
As well as IAD and any flight with a short connection. BA seems to have figured out how to serve decent food in the lounge to international business and first where they have them, and I think that does cause people like me not to eat onboard, but they still serve decent food onboard (much better than UA recently) for those for whom that doesn't work.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 1:42 pm
  #185  
 
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Question: Is there any way the service can realistically get worse? I mean, it could go to a domestic-style all-at-once service, with cheesecakes/pies replacing the sundae service, and the small domestic-style salad replacing the salad course, but that wouldn't be competitive. Is there anything UA can further do to decimate the service, while remaining competitive? In other words, have we hit rock bottom here?
Cut a meal choice, eliminate all mid-flight "hot" snacks, reduce the systemwide variety of entrees (especially at the salad/dressing/etc level), cut down another wine choice, remove the port option, go back to sundaes as the only dessert service... hey, UA should hire me

(Only posting because you know Kirby already has these lined up along with the timing he thinks he can get away with.)
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Old Feb 14, 19, 2:03 pm
  #186  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Cut a meal choice, eliminate all mid-flight "hot" snacks, reduce the systemwide variety of entrees (especially at the salad/dressing/etc level), cut down another wine choice, remove the port option, go back to sundaes as the only dessert service... hey, UA should hire me

(Only posting because you know Kirby already has these lined up along with the timing he thinks he can get away with.)
And making all those cuts... who would UA then be in league with, to remain "competitive"? At that point, AA and DL, providing they don't make their own cuts, would have 3-4 (I know AA has 4 for sure) meal choices and various dessert choices (I think AA has 2-3 dessert choices, depending on if it's J or F). I know AA's system better, though, compared to DL.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 3:47 pm
  #187  
 
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
And making all those cuts... who would UA then be in league with, to remain "competitive"? At that point, AA and DL, providing they don't make their own cuts, would have 3-4 (I know AA has 4 for sure) meal choices and various dessert choices (I think AA has 2-3 dessert choices, depending on if it's J or F). I know AA's system better, though, compared to DL.
It all depends on how well you can argue that it is "close enough" to be equivalent. I would still take a UA nonstop over an AA/DL connection even after cuts like that, although I would certainly try to fly a *A partner first.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 3:53 pm
  #188  
 
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
And making all those cuts... who would UA then be in league with, to remain "competitive"? At that point, AA and DL, providing they don't make their own cuts, would have 3-4 (I know AA has 4 for sure) meal choices and various dessert choices (I think AA has 2-3 dessert choices, depending on if it's J or F). I know AA's system better, though, compared to DL.
I think we're in an age when "competitive" isn't a relevant concept.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 4:03 pm
  #189  
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
I think we're in an age when "competitive" isn't a relevant concept.
If you mean that demand is sufficiently high right now, that UA feels it can cut soft product without a materially negative impact on revenue, I think that's correct.

Also, it's been noted before that business class is about 90% about the seat, and I think there's some truth in that. Meal quality certainly doesn't make my top three for most important considerations (which would be seat, schedule, and price, not necessarily in that order).

Whether UA can cut as drastically as it is cutting without seeing a material book away factor remains to be seen.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 6:55 pm
  #190  
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I hope internet travel bloggers can write about the latest round of meal downgrades in the Polaris cabin. I don't think customer emails will make much of a difference because there is no public exposures.

Someone had suggested in an earlier post that TPG should do a piece but it seems TPG may not be objective based on the number of exclusive coverages that UA has granted to TPG in the past couple of years.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 11:13 am
  #191  
 
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I'm betting that PP gets one of the pre-plated Polaris Lite meals; maybe a choice of two?
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Old Feb 15, 19, 12:00 pm
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Originally Posted by elitefreak View Post
I'm betting that PP gets one of the pre-plated Polaris Lite meals; maybe a choice of two?
Perhaps they'll get the leftovers, after Polaris pax have picked their poison?
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Old Feb 15, 19, 1:23 pm
  #193  
 
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
I hope internet travel bloggers can write about the latest round meal downgrades in the Polaris cabin. I don't think customer emails won't make much difference because there is no public exposures.Someone had suggested in an earlier post that TPG should do a piece but it seems TPG may not be objective based on the number of exclusive coverages that UA has granted to TPG in the past couple of years.
An long article was recently posted on TPG blog about redeeming MP miles and all of UA's partners on which flights may be redeemed but no mention was even made of the current situation with blocked availability on TG and SG, so I don't think they are paying attention to such issues over at that blog.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 2:00 pm
  #194  
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Originally Posted by rittenhousesq View Post
An long article was recently posted on TPG blog about redeeming MP miles and all of UA's partners on which flights may be redeemed but no mention was even made of the current situation with blocked availability on TG and SG, so I don't think they are paying attention to such issues over at that blog.
Zach Honig did a piece about the broken PZ inventory display, which may have prompted UA to fix it. So they're not totally beholden.
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Old Feb 15, 19, 2:28 pm
  #195  
 
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Polaris In Flight Dining Experience

Having recently completed several long haul Polaris flights, I must say that I have been quite disappointed in the in flight meal and beverage service.

Few observations:

- Flight attendants are incredibly rushed about the whole service. Rather than welcoming passengers- making it an experience, the whole thing just seems very transactional
- One of two of my last few Polaris flights, no pre departure beverage service was offered
- One of two of my last few Polaris flights, no beverage menu cards were available (which later became a giant guessing game on what was available. FA’s had no clue what they were pouring.
- Wine selections are getting worse. Both White offerings were domestic, low cost wines (old world wines seem to be disappearing ex. France, Italy etc.). United, bring back some French & Italian wines PLEASe. Champagne isn’t printed on the cards- and it was a brand I have never heard of. Why don’t just serve the Piper they serve in the Polaris lounge for consistency?
- Flight attendants are downright rude with the “1st or 2nd Choice” crap. I had to politely remind the FA that I was GS- and they still insisted on a second choice. Regardless of status- they should say “We would like to welcome you aboard today. What would you like... in the unfortunate event that we do not have your selection available is there a second choice I can note...?” The way they go about it is awful.
- Main course selections were tasty- but the entire tray approach looks cheap.

The entire experience now feels like an assembly line to me... not great for a $9K round trip europe ticket.
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