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Discussion of the Quality of UA's In-Flight Meals

Discussion of the Quality of UA's In-Flight Meals

Old Feb 27, 20, 12:55 pm
  #256  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
But you give the game away, if a $10 wine tastes the same as a $200 wine, then this discussion is lost on you. Most J passagners' can, and they can also tell the difference between a $10 wine and a $25+ wine, which is what the competiton is serving. As to Wagu, no one is expecting that, but most Americans can tell the difference between a decent cut of steak (the old filet) and a cheap cut like UA serves.
I think the true balance lies somewhere in between the two extremes posted in this thread.. the vast majority of J pax (especially paid J pax) are not looking for "fine dining" but rather something reasonably pleasant to meet their dining needs for spending so long on an aircraft. In recent times, UA is definitely slipping below this standard, but I think some of the quality expectations are hyperbole - certainly starting at $10/bottle I would be very surprised if the average consumer could identify a more expensive bottle of wine in a blind taste test (I have actually been to several wine tasting events with this as the theme, and I and most other attendees failed miserably). The variability in personal preference and actual wine quality is just not that strongly attuned to cost (above actual $2-4 swill), and your addled palate at altitude is going to inhibit any fine discernment anyway.

The really ridiculously thing IMO is how much worse the Polaris meals look and feel, for having the same food, because UA gave up on plating them. Appearance does matter.

Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
You are embarrassing me, because I cannot make UA meals look average (from bad).
I agree the plating has made it almost impossible, but I do remember once a couple of years ago you photographed the same meal I had posted a few weeks earlier and I really had to struggle to believe it was in fact the same!
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Old Feb 29, 20, 12:43 am
  #257  
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It has been awhile since I last posted a UA meal photo in this forum. Here is one from this eveningís domestic dinner flight.

The salad served is just plain embarrassing! The tires look of two slices of oranges and three pieces of lettuce filled only less than 1/2 of salad bowl. I thought it might be just my serving was an expectation, but my partnerís salad looked exactly the same.

Unappetizing look of low quality ingredients and reduced portions seem to be the normal now.



Last edited by UA_Flyer; Feb 29, 20 at 12:52 am
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Old Feb 29, 20, 1:29 am
  #258  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
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Also- and this is related- I don't think "fine" food is on a different plane than most food. I have had Waygu beef- and it is only a tiny bit better than typical beef. I have had $200 wine- and I can't even tell the difference from $10 wine.
Are you sure it wasn't "wagyu" beef? The composition of the meat is completely different from any other type of cattle. A given cut from a Wagyu cattle is like a completely different food item from the same cut sourced from say, an Angus cattle. I really doubt anyone having actually had it could conclude what you've concluded, unless of course they're not someone who enjoys marbled fat in their beef which is a separate matter.
Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
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I don't get this at all. It's business class. A product pitched to people who have work to do. The food should be decent, but really, I would never expect five star restaurant food in business class. I might expect it in international first where the ticket is $6,000 one way or something, but not in business class. I want to work, and sleep, and eat decently and quickly.
I have to admit that I admire how UA has been able to convince some people that things like the food don't matter, so it's reasonable to pay the exact same price to fly UA vs some other carrier even though you are getting something objectively worse.

My primary international route is SFO-TYO and I just cannot see why I would fly either of the two UA flights over ANA or JAL. I would expect some level of price discounting given the comparatively poor quality service offering, food in particular, but you are right that they seem to do just fine selling seats at the same price despite that. Although, I wouldn't say that necessarily indicative of travelers not caring; probably more indicative of corporate contracts where companies like mine buy 50 J seats a day to PVG, SIN, etc.

Last edited by nexusCFX; Feb 29, 20 at 1:41 am
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Old Feb 29, 20, 7:08 am
  #259  
 
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
It has been awhile since I last posted a UA meal photo in this forum. Here is one from this eveningís domestic dinner flight.

The salad served is just plain embarrassing! The tires look of two slices of oranges and three pieces of lettuce filled only less than 1/2 of salad bowl. I thought it might be just my serving was an expectation, but my partnerís salad looked exactly the same.

Unappetizing look of low quality ingredients and reduced portions seem to be the normal now.


I estimate that meal cost United $22.50- $1.50 for the meal itself and $21.00 for the logistics portion!!
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Old Mar 3, 20, 8:18 pm
  #260  
 
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Originally Posted by Jkrun03 View Post
01/08/2020 FRA-IAD 777-200
....

Pre-landing pasta dish, which was overcooked to the point of near in-edibility. Fortunately I was still stuffed from the aforementioned mammoth short rib.

,,,,
That pasta pic kind of sums up United's food offering
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 4, 20 at 2:18 pm Reason: When quoting multiple pics, please limit to subject pis for the sake of those with small screens
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Old Mar 3, 20, 9:32 pm
  #261  
 
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Originally Posted by wanderingkev View Post
That pasta pic kind of sums up United's food offering
That's Macaroni and Cheese Pie. When properly cooked, it's fine. And it's an arrival meal on a flight that isn't that long, which means a lot of people aren't eating it anyway. And you get caprese with it.

I see no problem here other than they shouldn't overcook it.
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Old Mar 4, 20, 3:13 am
  #262  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
That's Macaroni and Cheese Pie. When properly cooked, it's fine. And it's an arrival meal on a flight that isn't that long, which means a lot of people aren't eating it anyway. And you get caprese with it.

I see no problem here other than they shouldn't overcook it.
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macaroni and cheese pie? Carbs inside of carbs? To me, feels more like what a struggling family has to eat to stretch their food dollar...
Surprised it doesn't get served with a ketchup sandwich.
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Old Mar 4, 20, 3:48 am
  #263  
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
macaroni and cheese pie? Carbs inside of carbs? To me, feels more like what a struggling family has to eat to stretch their food dollar...
Surprised it doesn't get served with a ketchup sandwich.
This. United's approach to food and drink in Polaris has gone beyond pathetic.
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Old Mar 4, 20, 4:19 am
  #264  
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
This. United's approach to food and drink in Polaris has gone beyond pathetic.
Totally agree!

That pre-arrival Mac Cheese Pie is an embarrassment regardless if itís a pre arrival meal or not. Some FAs are embarrassed to serve it as I have been told.

Some passengers donít eat because what they serve is so bad, not because they donít want to eat.
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Old Mar 4, 20, 11:26 am
  #265  
 
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
Totally agree!

That pre-arrival Mac Cheese Pie is an embarrassment regardless if it’s a pre arrival meal or not. Some FAs are embarrassed to serve it as I have been told.

Some passengers don’t eat because what they serve is so bad, not because they don’t want to eat.
And no, I haven't seen any flight attendants embarrassed to serve United's longhaul business class meals.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 5, 20 at 12:41 pm Reason: Discuss the issue, not the poster(s)
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Old Mar 4, 20, 11:55 am
  #266  
 
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I honestly didn't mean to start a debate around whether United is inferior to other airlines offerings. I have enjoyed flying United to my surprise, and they have taken care of me, however, I do believe it's fair to say they could address their food. I'm not one lucky enough to fly paid business frequently, so I need plus points etc., to get up there, and when I do it feels a little incomplete when the food just isn't to par. At the end of the day I will take the lie-flat seat at it's face value and run, but the rest of the experience doesn't even change that much from being a 1k in economy. No superior liquor offerings, only decent food, service about the same as a good economy FA, it leaves me with the impression that United is literally just selling me the seat. Which for some is fine, but I don't think that was their goal when rebranding to the "Polaris" experience. Just my thoughts.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 5, 20 at 12:40 pm Reason: removed quote of deleted post
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Old Mar 4, 20, 7:50 pm
  #267  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
That's Macaroni and Cheese Pie. When properly cooked, it's fine. And it's an arrival meal on a flight that isn't that long, which means a lot of people aren't eating it anyway. And you get caprese with it.

I see no problem here other than they shouldn't overcook it.
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The point is that it is overcooked and therefore it not fine. On your point of it being an arrival meal ,some flyers elect not to have the first meal in favor of rest or they may have connected from another flight and not needed the first round ,there is no excuse for serving a poor quality product because it is the arrival meal and some pax might not eat it.

Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
And no, I haven't seen any flight attendants embarrassed to serve United's longhaul business class meals.
I also know several FA's and a have purser friend who are mortified at the food product, I have been asked a number of times by FA's on routes I traveled regularly to write in with the hope they pay attention to GS. FWIW I dropped Polaris 18 months ago for it's inferiority to alternatives and that was before it took the recent down grade on the food product.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 5, 20 at 12:42 pm Reason: Discuss the issue, not the poster(s)
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Old Mar 4, 20, 7:53 pm
  #268  
 
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There is a reason I will not waste my time, money, or patience flying some crappy US airline with surly staff and a shoddy onboard product. There are hundreds of other options out there which offer a far greater experience.

Unfortunately however, competition within the US is woefully inadequate and is controlled by three major players who already should have each failed at least once if not two to three times in their history.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 5, 20 at 12:43 pm Reason: remove quote of deleted post
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Old Mar 4, 20, 9:16 pm
  #269  
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Originally Posted by Jkrun03 View Post
I honestly didn't mean to start a debate around whether United is inferior to other airlines offerings. I have enjoyed flying United to my surprise, and they have taken care of me, however, I do believe it's fair to say they could address their food. I'm not one lucky enough to fly paid business frequently, so I need plus points etc., to get up there, and when I do it feels a little incomplete when the food just isn't to par. At the end of the day I will take the lie-flat seat at it's face value and run, but the rest of the experience doesn't even change that much from being a 1k in economy. No superior liquor offerings, only decent food, service about the same as a good economy FA, it leaves me with the impression that United is literally just selling me the seat. Which for some is fine, but I don't think that was their goal when rebranding to the "Polaris" experience. Just my thoughts.
UA clearly had a goal of offering a better business product when Polaris was rolled out. And at first, it was a better product - until Kirby decided it was costing too much, and thanks to his changes, itís among the worst when it comes to food and drink. That was fine while UA was experiencing strong demand for any business seat, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with the fact that COVID has cratered demand for flying in general, and how he intends to win back people with they take to the skies again.
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Old Mar 5, 20, 12:15 am
  #270  
 
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
UA clearly had a goal of offering a better business product when Polaris was rolled out. And at first, it was a better product - until Kirby decided it was costing too much, and thanks to his changes, it’s among the worst when it comes to food and drink. That was fine while UA was experiencing strong demand for any business seat, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with the fact that COVID has cratered demand for flying in general, and how he intends to win back people with they take to the skies again.
An interesting point. There is so much churn that takes place, which is the change for an airline to impress someone who has not flown them before. That for me was in 2012 when UA was cratering, I got on Delta and said "oh, this is better" after it was better 20 straight times, and on my next UA trip they stranded me at LAX, it was "so why am I flying the 'diminishing returns after 80% OT' airline"?

Covid-19 if it keeps going they way it is is going to result in a lot of traditional travel patterns getting scrambled. E.g. I know three FFs (GS or 1k) on UA who fly SFO-HKG all the time, and have still traveled there. Now, the only way to get there direct is CX, and I asked what they thought. All were super-impressed with CX and the A350 (they all fly J). Will be interesting to see what they do when things get back to normal.

So it is not just that everyone will go back to old patterns, if this goes on a few more months it will toss the chess pieces in the air. Not so sure that UA's approach to retaining/incentivizing customers will be a real plus for getting back those who fly other airlines.
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