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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 Jan 2, 20, 9:13 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Maybe 7-10+ years ago, give or take? I honestly don't remember the details, or whether it was systemwide or something related to TED.
As a 40-year UA flyering, not aware of UA charging for F meals, ever. You may be thinking about a different airline.

And TED did not have F-- it was all economy.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 10:30 pm
  #62  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Maybe 7-10+ years ago, give or take? I honestly don't remember the details, or whether it was systemwide or something related to TED.
The only thing I can recall like this was that back in the 2009-10 time frame UA stopped serving meals on the domestic three class planes in J. Even if you paid for J, you got no meal, and got offered a snack box from the back. I think they initially said you had to pay, then after about two weeks they would give you one. It lasted about three months, the response both on the old UA internal board and on sites like this was swift and UA reacted, restoring meals in J.

Perhaps this is what you are thinking about?
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Old Jan 2, 20, 11:00 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Zoltar View Post
When did UA cutoff the chocolates at the end of the flight? Always found that nice touch, but just realized that I haven't seen it in awhile.
They replaced the chocolate with the raspberry white chocolate chip cookie.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
It looks like UA Polaris has actually out-grossed Air Canada J - and given that AC almost takes pride in serving the most inedible, horrific food (the hamburger on Air Koryo is better), this is quite a feat for United to accomplish! Well done!

I am sure the cost differential from presentable and tasty vs just plain gross will save United millions and cause the analysts to erupt in wild cheers.

I guess United pushing me to AC and NH for my 2020 travels is not such a terrible thing after-all. I can get over the missing ice cream sundae and pajamas in exchange for a better over-all experience without the 'tude.
Well, here's a head-to-head comparison, at least on transcon flights:

Air Canada YYZ - YVR, soup and salad entree option:



AA, Chicken curry katsu, LAX - JFK (granted, this is in transcon first class, but all the entree choices are the same as business):



UA's shortrib on premium transcon EWR - LAX:




So yeah, I would agree that UA did not focus on the presentation aspect.


Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
A few years ago my former employer had a contract with both AA and UA, and the in-house TA booked outbound to NRT on UA and in-bound on AA.

I was shocked to see AA serving the JAL Japanese meal in the first class cabin. Nice set of sashimi, sushi, tempura, yakitori, followed by Kobi beef as hot entree. What a treat! All those years flying UA since 1992 in First and business cabins, and I have never seen UA contracting NH to serve its Japanese meals out of NRT.

I don’t know what AA serve now because I have not flown them for awhile. Just a data point.
Well, they certainly did not contract with CX to deliver its meals. Food was good, but certain aspects were disappointing. One of the appetizers was a chilled tofu, and one of the passengers in F complained that his tofu was frozen, so the purser had to check on mine to make sure it's alright.

Originally Posted by dmo580 View Post
As a regular TPAC flyer, I think just replacing Y meals with Panda Express lunchboxes would be a significant upgrade. Polaris food is pretty meh. It'd just be nice if we can get at least somewhat better Asian food closer to what you'd get at any restaurant near SFO.
Don't give them ideas. UA does serve General Tso's chicken in coach. This is from EWR - LAX in economy plus.

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Old Jan 3, 20, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
They replaced the chocolate with the raspberry white chocolate chip cookie.



Well, here's a head-to-head comparison, at least on transcon flights:

Air Canada YYZ - YVR, soup and salad entree option:



AA, Chicken curry katsu, LAX - JFK (granted, this is in transcon first class, but all the entree choices are the same as business):



UA's shortrib on premium transcon EWR - LAX:




So yeah, I would agree that UA did not focus on the presentation aspect.




Well, they certainly did not contract with CX to deliver its meals. Food was good, but certain aspects were disappointing. One of the appetizers was a chilled tofu, and one of the passengers in F complained that his tofu was frozen, so the purser had to check on mine to make sure it's alright.



Don't give them ideas. UA does serve General Tso's chicken in coach. This is from EWR - LAX in economy plus.

Its sad that this looks better than a lot of the domestic first meals
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Old Jan 3, 20, 3:05 am
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
They replaced the chocolate with the raspberry white chocolate chip cookie.
Ahhh got it. While that cookie is delicious, it is presented on top of the breakfast. While the chocolates were presented separately. I always kept the chocolates to give to friends/family or eat later on during my travels. If the cookie were presented similarly I may do the same (although it's a lot less nice than the chocolates).

Sad how this airline just cuts cuts cuts.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 3:07 am
  #66  
 
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UA has made it clear that they don't want to spend money to feed us. Would a change is strategy be the fix? Instead of serving gormet a la barf, keep it simple. A sub sandwich and chips, burger and soup, or a vegatarian pasta with a salad?

KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid
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Old Jan 3, 20, 2:39 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
The only thing I can recall like this was that back in the 2009-10 time frame UA stopped serving meals on the domestic three class planes in J. Even if you paid for J, you got no meal, and got offered a snack box from the back. I think they initially said you had to pay, then after about two weeks they would give you one. It lasted about three months, the response both on the old UA internal board and on sites like this was swift and UA reacted, restoring meals in J.

Perhaps this is what you are thinking about?
Oh, perhaps this is correct - sounds familiar. However, I could see Kirby re-phasing this in systemwide where all hot meals are pulled from non-PS North America/Mexico/Central America flights and only some form of upgraded cold plate or pre-packaged box is offered. Once he finishes dumbing down the Polaris product to the point it's domestic F with a fancy seat, he won't waste much time before turning his attention to domestic F service.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 2:44 pm
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Just completed NRT-IAD return in Polaris and I think the icing on the cake in terms of meal quality was the "sauce" for the "salmon" served in a small foil "ramekin" - you know, the kind that's used for NYC deli take-out orders? Said sauce also did little to make up for the dryness of the fish.

Polaris meals are abysmal.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 3:41 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
The only thing I can recall like this was that back in the 2009-10 time frame UA stopped serving meals on the domestic three class planes in J. Even if you paid for J, you got no meal, and got offered a snack box from the back. I think they initially said you had to pay, then after about two weeks they would give you one. It lasted about three months, the response both on the old UA internal board and on sites like this was swift and UA reacted, restoring meals in J. ...
I think that is right, initially complimentary BOB for domestic business on 3-class aircraft (or a few months), then a non-choice cold plate and then returned to a choice of hot meals
Started in Oct 2008 in the depths of the recession

Fall 2008 Catering Changes at UA
Are hot meals in domestic C back? (Effective 10/25/2009, it appears so!)
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Old Jan 3, 20, 4:16 pm
  #70  
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Originally Posted by eric.chen3742 View Post
Looking back to the early days of Polaris is like looking at a whole different airline.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/27949859-post183.html
I think the question is what has UA silently killed off since the launch of Polaris?

--Pre departure chocolates?

--Mid Flight Hot Dining Options Printed on Menu?

--Wine Tasting (the 3 glass variants?)

--Bloody Mary Cart?

--Availability of Mattress Pads, Saks Gel Pillows, and Pajamas?

It seems like now that more and more aircraft have the actual new seat, they've cut down on the soft product. Even though a lot of it was just fluff or impractical to begin with. Although, IMHO the mid Hot Meal dining options they shouldn't be tampering with.

Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
I think that is right, initially complimentary BOB for domestic business on 3-class aircraft (or a few months), then a non-choice cold plate and then returned to a choice of hot meals
Started in Oct 2008 in the depths of the recession

Fall 2008 Catering Changes at UA
Are hot meals in domestic C back? (Effective 10/25/2009, it appears so!)
Oh boy I can't forget these threads at all. UA was attempting to part ways with comped TATL meal service in Y during the recession and a *massive* outcry poured in and quickly reversed the decision.

At least management actually listened back then. I doubt Smisek would've bent that easily.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 4:19 pm
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All this talk about the food service made me realize that I'd take a Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie (or heck, even a Swanson's) over the BoB Burger or Tacos -- and the pot pies obviously warm up well in an airplane oven ...
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Old Jan 6, 20, 5:44 pm
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Originally Posted by ExplorerWannabe View Post
All this talk about the food service made me realize that I'd take a Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie (or heck, even a Swanson's) over the BoB Burger or Tacos -- and the pot pies obviously warm up well in an airplane oven ...
Now were talking!! The funny thing is I bet the ovens on the aircraft would make the crust on the pot pie come out a nice golden brown.. Love me some pot pies by the way..
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Old Jan 6, 20, 11:12 pm
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Does anyone have any recent data or estimates on what United pays for international business or domestic first meals?
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Old Jan 7, 20, 12:01 am
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Originally Posted by LAX_AUS_DL_FLYER View Post
Oh boy I can't forget these threads at all. UA was attempting to part ways with comped TATL meal service in Y during the recession and a *massive* outcry poured in and quickly reversed the decision.
i remember that, long before I joined FT or any forum. The survey was so blindingly obvious they were going to charge for TATL meals in Y that I answered “no” or “none of the above” to every question, and in the comments section I wrote “do this and I’ll book away”. Got the email two weeks later saying “we heard you” and backtracked immediately.

As to the general question, yes the quality of Polaris meals has dropped considerably. And domestic F is pretty poor too. Only one utterly terrible meal (SCL-IAH with inedible “seasonal vegetables”) but the general quality is down. The fish/seafood is still okay but still poor compared with the pre-Polaris filet of turbot.

It’s the Polaris hard product and then lounges that keep me connected.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 6:54 pm
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When is UA going to upgrade the presentation? The mains look pathetic and as the Points Guy says- the blue linens look clinical. They really need to step up their game.
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