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General discussion of UA's inflight service (Domestic / International, all cabins)

General discussion of UA's inflight service (Domestic / International, all cabins)

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Old Jun 18, 22, 12:38 pm   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: phkc070408
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previous thread: COVID Era UA inflight service changes


Thread is for general discussion of the state of UA in-flight service / catering, comparison to other carriers, past UA offerings and concerns with management decisions.

For a specific post about a recent in-flight food, use the appropriate Let's Eat .... thread.

The current Onboard Service descriptions by UA.com

Long-haul international premium cabin dining
North America, Caribbean and Latin America premium cabin dining
United Economy dining

Since the UA website is extremely vague, I'm looking for a few volunteers to submit data, and I will summarize to complete the wiki. kind regards, phkc070408

Domestic Under 300 Miles

Sample 1
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 2
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 3
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 4
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 5
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?


Domestic Over 300 Miles Under 800 Miles

Sample 1
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 2
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 3
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 4
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Sample 5
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Bagged Snack? Yes/No
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?

Domestic Over 800 Miles

Sample 1
Route? Morning or Afternoon or Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket?

Sample 2
Route? Morning or Afternoon or Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket?

Sample 3
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening/. or Late Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket?

Sample 4
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Late Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket?

Sample 5
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Late Evening?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Served Snacked? Yes/No. Hot/Cold. What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket?

P-Tcon

Sample 1
Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket/Pre-Arrival?
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 2
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket/Pre-Arrival?
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 3
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket/Pre-Arrival?
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 4
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket/Pre-Arrival?
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 5
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Snack Basket/Pre-Arrival?
Any other notes of relevance?

Polaris USA - Europe

​​​​​​​Sample 1
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Menu?
Hot Towels?
First Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Appetizer / Desert Info:
Snack Basket/Mid-Flight Snack?
Arrival Meal? Short Description.
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 2
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Menu?
​​​​​​​Hot Towels?
First Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Appetizer / Desert Info:
Snack Basket/Mid-Flight Snack?
Arrival Meal? Short Description.
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 3
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Menu?
​​​​​​​Hot Towels?
First Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Appetizer / Desert Info:
Snack Basket/Mid-Flight Snack?
Arrival Meal? Short Description.
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 4
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Menu?
​​​​​​​Hot Towels?
First Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Appetizer / Desert Info:
Snack Basket/Mid-Flight Snack?
Arrival Meal? Short Description.
Any other notes of relevance?

​​​​​​​Sample 5
​​​​​​​Route? Morning or Afternoon/Evening or Red-Eye?
PDB - Yes/No? What was offered?
Menu?
​​​​​​​Hot Towels?
First Meal Served? Yes/No. Short description.
Appetizer / Desert Info:
Snack Basket/Mid-Flight Snack?
Arrival Meal? Short Description.
Any other notes of relevance?


​​​​​​​
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Old Jan 9, 22, 12:06 pm
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
I don't believe for a minute that the majority of Polaris customers just want to sleep. That hogwash might fly if we all just flew eastbound with departures in the late afternoon/early evening. This is all about Kirby being cheap.
UA has decided that their business class seat is so good that they can get away with providing "economy" inflight to their Polaris customers; for travelers lucky enough to be near one of the newly opened PLs, stopping by prior to boarding to get some decent food is obligatory.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 12:15 pm
  #32  
 
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This dialog above was a quip from a supposed supervisor, not a UA management. Thus, we have no idea if its official UA policy or is even accurate. It could simply be one person's opinion, or interpretation of what's going on or what's in the future. We need to keep that in perspective.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 7:51 pm
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by flyingrohit View Post
Hello from somewhere above Russia on my way to Delhi right now.

So the international purser supervisor from the Newark office (name removed per FT Rules) is working my flight I got his business card too (and actually the international purser supervisors from SFO and ORD are also working today’s flight to Delhi and they are all having a meeting of sorts there for service related stuff to india and whatnot). But I asked him a few questions mid flight when things weren’t too busy and here’s what I heard back and take what you will with a grain of salt most of it sounded genuinely some of it sounded you know how “so we’ve been getting customer feedback and etc…..”.

Q1: when are multiple courses coming back?

Answer: so for the foreseeable future multiple courses will not come back we will likely keep it one tray just because the feedback from the customers has been that they want to get to sleep and sleep more but we will see some changes by the end of the quarter hopefully March. Desserts should be back by then thought there won’t be the cart anymore. You’ll have all the same options it’ll just be on demand. Like we’ll take your tray and ask you if you want anything. Cheesecakes, the sundaes, all the usual stuff, just without the cart.

*If this is true (only about the dessert and not the rest of the service), each to their own, i wouldn’t mind it I guess though it was nice to see what was in front of me *

*Preface: I asked about menus in general though he answered specific to EWR maybe because he’s not sure about other hubs or UA as a whole*

Q2: What about the menus? I’ve been having the same 3 options in and out of india for the last 2 months now and I’m sure other routes to certain regions are seeing the same thing what’s going on?

Answer: so in Newark we had our own United catering kitchen all this time and we now have another vendor which caused a holdup but in the coming month we will be building menus for each region so hopefully to provide more variety and more options than what we currently have.

Q3: Are paper menus coming back?
Answer: We are currently looking at our options on that

——————-this next question is more a pet peeve for me than others so feel free to stop reading———————

Q4: AA has told their crew to stop blocking 787 windows and tell a passenger should they need to dim it some more. It doesn’t make sense on flights like my return from bom to EWR (which he actually might be working on my flight) where its 16.5 hours of pure darkness, what’s the point?
Answer: we want to maintain passenger comfort I’m sorry for your experience for sure, but we want to make sure to accommodate everyone and this is something i am constantly discussing with my team.

*Doesn’t seem like it should warrant that much discussion, seems like a very straightforward issue*

anyways hope this helps put some light on things. I’ll be in flight for another 2 hours before they get super busy again, I’ll check periodically as we are out of the northern latitudes so Wi-Fi should be more stable now. Happy to ask any other questions you guys might have while I can. Cheers all!
Again, who are these customers they're talking with because I'm not for drastically cutting down the inflight meal offerings; COVID is not an excuse to make the current service flow the new "norm". UA it seems is listening to the customers whose visions and comments align to how UA wants it shaped, and not the other way around. How cheap it will be to eliminate the desert cart; this is something I enjoyed in the CO days and I think UA also offered the same thing. Often the flights I'm on are longer than ten hours so what is the rush to sleep, I don't get it. And there's already an executive dining options for shorter Polaris flights (albeit pre covid) so there is no need to trim the flow down. How disappointing. And you said you had three international pursers working your flight? Look at how terrible the presentation of the meals are; I would suggest that speaks volumes. UGH.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 7:58 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by gmt4 View Post
This dialog above was a quip from a supposed supervisor, not a UA management. Thus, we have no idea if its official UA policy or is even accurate. It could simply be one person's opinion, or interpretation of what's going on or what's in the future. We need to keep that in perspective.
not supposed, the supervisor overseeing ALL pursers out of EWR, and I have his business card and it’s legit, I did give LinkedIn a visit. That being said, as you said he is still only a supervisor and not UA management.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 8:11 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by trust77 View Post
Again, who are these customers
Personal opinion - they aren’t talking to customers who fly. They are talking to corporate contract contacts - those customers.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 8:20 pm
  #36  
 
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as if corporate travel is going to rebound in the short term! ?
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Old Jan 9, 22, 8:45 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Personal opinion - they aren’t talking to customers who fly. They are talking to corporate contract contacts - those customers.
Maybe there is a way UA could cater to both sets of customers

Use the front business class cabin to provide true Polaris service. Use the second cabin to provide the current PP service. That way, those who want to sleep can sleep, while those who want the service, can receive the service
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Old Jan 9, 22, 9:13 pm
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by Unitedloyalflyer View Post
Maybe there is a way UA could cater to both sets of customers

Use the front business class cabin to provide true Polaris service. Use the second cabin to provide the current PP service. That way, those who want to sleep can sleep, while those who want the service, can receive the service
Except that all aircraft don't have 2 cabins.....787-10 for example.

Just provide express service as they had in the past, as did Continental. Worked well.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 9, 22 at 10:24 pm Reason: repaired quote
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Old Jan 9, 22, 10:05 pm
  #39  
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
we’ve heard it from some here. And for those who want to sleep early, UA used to offer express dining- an option I’ve rarely seen used by more than a handful of front cabin customers during my almost 30 years of flying UA internationally.
Exactly my observations as yours in as many years of intercontinental travel in the business cabins as well.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 10:18 pm
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by flyingrohit View Post
not supposed, the supervisor overseeing ALL pursers out of EWR, and I have his business card and it’s legit, I did give LinkedIn a visit. That being said, as you said he is still only a supervisor and not UA management.
He’s also not a Flight Attendant, flying a full schedule and facing passengers day in and day out. Inflight Supervisors don’t have to have been FAs in order to be appointed - the requirement is a minimum of two years in a customer service leadership role. The job postings are there on the united careers site.

Much of what he said is the same that I fed back on the 2021 thread from my good friend who is a very tenured EWR FA - the catering transition has been very rocky; the new kitchens are off-airport so issues can’t be resolved prior to departure; there are major labor issues; the quality coming from the EWR kitchens is very poor. The crews dislike the food as much as the passengers.

There is a lot of tension over the reduced staffing at the moment and that’s the real biggest issue that needs to be resolved to return to full service on Polaris. I mentioned this in another thread, but the staffing for the high-J 767 “76L” is a major issues for the union and some crews out of EWR and LHR where this fleet type runs a lot of the schedule, and it’s creating work-to-rule issues with some FAs on the way service is delivered (i.e. no PDB, no pre-meal tray drink, etc).
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Old Jan 9, 22, 10:47 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by greenpau View Post
There is a lot of tension over the reduced staffing at the moment and that’s the real biggest issue that needs to be resolved to return to full service on Polaris. I mentioned this in another thread, but the staffing for the high-J 767 “76L” is a major issues for the union and some crews out of EWR and LHR where this fleet type runs a lot of the schedule, and it’s creating work-to-rule issues with some FAs on the way service is delivered (i.e. no PDB, no pre-meal tray drink, etc).
I wonder if this isn’t the real driver of the decline of Polaris service. Three of my last four Polaris flights were on the high J 767, and all were plagued with disappearing staff. Not a surprise, I guess.
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Old Jan 9, 22, 11:25 pm
  #42  
 
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Well, one thing to consider: A higher percentage of Polaris Flights are short over-night TATLs. If it's safe to assume that the average person is more likely to prefer a quick service on one of these than they would on a longer 13+ hour flight, and if we assume that most of the data comes from post-flight questioners, then yes, they are getting a higher percentage of flyers preferring the quicker service.
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Old Jan 10, 22, 3:35 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by gmt4 View Post
This dialog above was a quip from a supposed supervisor, not a UA management. Thus, we have no idea if its official UA policy or is even accurate. It could simply be one person's opinion, or interpretation of what's going on or what's in the future. We need to keep that in perspective.
This person is in a “implementation” position of policy set by management and is simply parroting the dictates from above. Opinion, possibly…but this is most likely the most accurate interpretation of the way forward.

I too don’t believe most Polaris customers want to just sit down and go to sleep. Those who do make it obvious to the FAs, tuck in, mask up and tune out. Funny that other International airlines with premium cabins don't seem to be getting the same message ( or at least reacting to it ) from customers that United does……and since business travel is so limited right now, those who were “surveyed” in the past 24 months are really not who United relies on to pay the water bill…..

DEN
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Old Jan 10, 22, 6:34 am
  #44  
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Originally Posted by DEN View Post
This person is in a “implementation” position of policy set by management and is simply parroting the dictates from above. Opinion, possibly…but this is most likely the most accurate interpretation of the way forward.
I currently work in an environment where senior leadership are perfectly willing to listen to staff before a decision has been made, but once a decision has been made, woe betide the employee who sticks his/her neck out to point out that while the decision might have been the right one when made, conditions have changed since then and we are on the wrong track. Given all the anecdotal evidence I've seen from UA employees who are disgusted with the service they are forced to provide, I'd wager this particular employee knows he's parroting a party line that isn't accurate, but he/she wants to keep their job.
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Old Jan 10, 22, 8:06 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by flyingrohit View Post
not supposed, the supervisor overseeing ALL pursers out of EWR, and I have his business card and it’s legit, I did give LinkedIn a visit. That being said, as you said he is still only a supervisor and not UA management.
A few things seem odd with your explanation of the crew. Actual supervisors ARE management, and wouldn't be working a flight. Having other "Purser supervisors" not from EWR working an EWR flight is also strange - what happened to the EWR F/As who bid that route? I see seniority violations unless UA paid the regular crewmembers to stay home or staffed the flight above and beyond the normal crew, which seems unlikely. Finally, F/As wouldn't be working a flight to then have to go to a meeting during their layover. If they were actual supervisors going to a meeting they would be NRPS-ing (Non-Revenue Positive Space) as passengers.

I don't mean any disrespect but maybe you misunderstood some things?

(BTW "regular" Pursers do get business cards.)
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