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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 Jul 27, 22, 5:35 am   -   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: 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 May 30, 22, 11:29 am
  #976  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Programs: UA Platinum, Starbucks Gold
Posts: 812
My best UA flight ever was during the brief period that “Polaris Global First” existed—early Polaris soft product on a 772 with a Global First cabin, which I flew EWR-FRA in early 2017. The cabin flew out just 3/8 and I had the whole second row to myself. I think I had the Thai chicken noodle dish that was actually delicious, plus a sundae of course. Champagne was vintage Ayala and was great. The cheerful crew served me 3 sparkling wine PDBs (each time with another chocolate), offered me PJs even though they technically were not part of the offering on that route, and made my bed in the empty seat across the aisle. I slept very well with the Polaris bedding on the plush Global First seats, which I do miss. Was it anything like LH F, which I flew on the return? Absolutely not but it was great for what it was and exceeded my (paltry) expectations.
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Old May 30, 22, 12:28 pm
  #977  
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Houston, TX
Programs: UA silver, Bonvoy gold
Posts: 767
Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Just for comparison, here is my lunch service LAX-YYZ on AC - not in business, but in premium economy! While UA is slowly - very slowly - improving inflight premium meals, there is still a huge gap to fill, even to reach parity with a competitor's PY meal. I get that investing in the 'hard product' is important, but I see wasteful follies ahead like spending millions on bluetooth IFE connections that will hardly ever get used, while the soft product continues to languish.


Do keep in mind that ACs competition is WestJet, WestJet brands their domestic F cabin as premium economy. Thus, by AC serving this in O, they are matching their main competition
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Old May 30, 22, 6:39 pm
  #978  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Just for comparison, here is my lunch service LAX-YYZ on AC - not in business, but in premium economy!

OK I am NOT defending UA's sub-par meals in any way, but that looks kinda gross, whatever it is supposed to be.

Be honest. I am pretty sure if UA had served you that, you would be criticizing it as some sort of gelatinous processed (and probably either under- or over-salted) glop.
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Old May 31, 22, 6:18 am
  #979  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 20
Unhappy LAX-AMS Polaris Abysmal

I was really looking forward to my May 8-26 Polaris flight from LAXAMS. This flight was originally planned for early 2020. It was cancelled and rebooked multiple times to different destinations, but now it was going to happen. As a long time Polaris customer I thought I knew what expect. How wrong I was. You pay as much, but what you get is a pale shadow of pre-pandemic Polaris. Here is my underwhelming experience: 1. No menu, the FA just recited a choice of entrees. 2. Food comes all at once on a tray identical to coach. Salad, entrée and dessert are on the tray. Dessert is gelato which is soup when I get to it. Adequate meal for coach, totally unacceptable for Polaris. 3. No after dinner drink cart with dessert offerings. 4. No on demand meals like soup or snacks like in the past. 5. Flatbed was very hard and uncomfortable. Later I learned you were supposed to ASK for a mattress pad. Why should I ASK for something so necessary? 6. .Breakfast was inedible. One bite of my quiche and I got my sodium requirement for the day. Coffee was tepid. 7. Upon landing we waited 20 minutes for busses to take us to the terminal. 8. No need to rush, since luggage didn’t arrive until 90 minutes after landing (!) The return was similar: 1. No menu, barely adequate coach meal, gelato was soup by the time I got to it. 2. No after dinners drink cart, no dessert goodies. 3. This time I asked for a mattress pad. The FA gave it to me very surreptitiously; she did not want the other passengers to know about it. It made a big difference, the bed was comfortable. Wish I had one on the overnight flight. 4. Couscous snack was inedible. 5. We arrived in IAD and found pandemonium in customs. Baggage took a long time to arrive and there was a long line to security. No TSA pre-check line. We arrived at the gate at 3:30 for a 3:25 flight and gate was empty. You think someone could have stayed behind to council the people who missed the flight. 6. Polaris lounge personnel rebooked us on a 5:15 flight. The good news is that it was a Polaris Transcon flight. I had heard good things about the Polaris Transcon flight. The bad news is one of was in business the other in coach. 7. The Polaris business section was given no pillows or blankets just a bare seat. 8. No menus, inedible meal came all at once. Who can mess up chicken and rice? United Polaris can. 9. No after dinner drinks or dessert cart. So that is my sad story of a much anticipated flight. I
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Old May 31, 22, 6:33 am
  #980  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Originally Posted by tzly6p View Post
I was really looking forward to my May 8-26 Polaris flight from LAXAMS. This flight was originally planned for early 2020. It was cancelled and rebooked multiple times to different destinations, but now it was going to happen. As a long time Polaris customer I thought I knew what expect. How wrong I was. You pay as much, but what you get is a pale shadow of pre-pandemic Polaris. Here is my underwhelming experience: 1. No menu, the FA just recited a choice of entrees. 2. Food comes all at once on a tray identical to coach. Salad, entrée and dessert are on the tray. Dessert is gelato which is soup when I get to it. Adequate meal for coach, totally unacceptable for Polaris. 3. No after dinner drink cart with dessert offerings. 4. No on demand meals like soup or snacks like in the past. 5. Flatbed was very hard and uncomfortable. Later I learned you were supposed to ASK for a mattress pad. Why should I ASK for something so necessary? 6. .Breakfast was inedible. One bite of my quiche and I got my sodium requirement for the day. Coffee was tepid. 7. Upon landing we waited 20 minutes for busses to take us to the terminal. 8. No need to rush, since luggage didn’t arrive until 90 minutes after landing (!) The return was similar: 1. No menu, barely adequate coach meal, gelato was soup by the time I got to it. 2. No after dinners drink cart, no dessert goodies. 3. This time I asked for a mattress pad. The FA gave it to me very surreptitiously; she did not want the other passengers to know about it. It made a big difference, the bed was comfortable. Wish I had one on the overnight flight. 4. Couscous snack was inedible. 5. We arrived in IAD and found pandemonium in customs. Baggage took a long time to arrive and there was a long line to security. No TSA pre-check line. We arrived at the gate at 3:30 for a 3:25 flight and gate was empty. You think someone could have stayed behind to council the people who missed the flight. 6. Polaris lounge personnel rebooked us on a 5:15 flight. The good news is that it was a Polaris Transcon flight. I had heard good things about the Polaris Transcon flight. The bad news is one of was in business the other in coach. 7. The Polaris business section was given no pillows or blankets just a bare seat. 8. No menus, inedible meal came all at once. Who can mess up chicken and rice? United Polaris can. 9. No after dinner drinks or dessert cart. So that is my sad story of a much anticipated flight. I
A truly bad experience that mirrors the reports everyone has been posting for two years on here. I take it from your post that you had not been following those reports, sorry, could have at least better framed your expectations.

Sorry that your timing was so bad - the "back to the old" Polaris soft product in terms of meals starts tomorrow (June 1) - but note that was only announced like 10 days ago - while you were on your trip. Point being, you couldn't have known that pushing the date out 3 more weeks could have gotten you more like you remember.

Last edited by hscottm; May 31, 22 at 6:41 am Reason: added a note
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Old May 31, 22, 6:40 am
  #981  
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Programs: HH Diamond, MB Titanium, UA Silver
Posts: 64
I've flown the routes you were on recently and I agree with most of your points. I can't believe there are no physical menus on Polaris while budget airlines like TAP have them in biz. Also the food selection is pretty terrible for lunch/dinner on Polaris too but I will note I was happy with my IAD-LAX breakfast selection (I got a waffle when everyone else somehow prefers the Denver Scramble??).

Also not only do you have to ask for a mattress pad on the flights, they also don't carry enough for everyone! So next time you fly, make sure you are one of the first to ask!

I wished the sundae cart still, as my gf would have loved that touch to the trip. However, I actually prefer all the food (except the gelato or ice cream) coming out at the same time. It lets me eat my meal quickly and then I can go back to work or go to sleep.

Also that is odd there was no precheck line at IAD, it should be in the middle of the main terminal.
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Old May 31, 22, 6:40 am
  #982  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 20
I have not been following threads so it was a complete shock to me. Bad timing, but we were committed to the date since there was a cruise credit we had to use. We had a great trip, and now all our Covid flight/cruise credits are used, up!
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Old May 31, 22, 6:49 am
  #983  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by RK23 View Post

Also that is odd there was no precheck line at IAD, it should be in the middle of the main terminal.
Do you mean the main terminal, where is a pre check and Clear, or Concourse C after you clear immigration, where is no precheck?
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Old May 31, 22, 7:07 am
  #984  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold
Posts: 1,891
OP: What was it like at AMS on the 26th? The KLM forum has been lighting up about the lines and delays, and I am transiting there myself in a few days (but on KLM). Totally sympathetic about the awful soft product on Polaris. That is a main reason I am not flying UA on this or any upcoming international flights. (Also because there has been no upgrade space and it is more expensive.) And count me as skeptical that the food and beverage will magically improve tomorrow.

Anyway, I strongly suggest Global Entry for IAD if you are eligible. The regular lines can get extraordinarily long in the afternoon when lots of international flights are arriving. Though it may just mean that you have more time to stand by a luggage carrousel to wait for your luggage (which can be totally unpredictable). Also, the pre-check line is in the middle of the upstairs in the main terminal (near the Turkish check-in counter).
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Old May 31, 22, 7:29 am
  #985  
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Originally Posted by tzly6p View Post
Here is my underwhelming experience: 1. No menu, the FA just recited a choice of entrees. 2. Food comes all at once on a tray identical to coach. Salad, entrée and dessert are on the tray. Dessert is gelato which is soup when I get to it. Adequate meal for coach, totally unacceptable for Polaris. 3. No after dinner drink cart with dessert offerings. 4. No on demand meals like soup or snacks like in the past. 5. Flatbed was very hard and uncomfortable. Later I learned you were supposed to ASK for a mattress pad. Why should I ASK for something so necessary?
I flew Polaris last week from IAH-AMS, and I agree fully with the above five complaints. Can’t comment on breakfast because I slept through it, but the dinner [burrata ravioli, in my case] was poor, the lack of a menu was disappointing, and the “vanilla-flavored” ice cream cup on my flight was dreadful for a long-haul business class desert and required one to eat the salad and main quickly to try to catch it while it was still in a near-frozen state. Pre-COVID, I generally found UA business-class meals to be decent [the beef short rib was reliable, if ever-present] and always got a menu, so UA has gone backwards here. And, an ice cream cup on the tray with the salad and main versus sundaes with a choice of toppings after the main course is completed and cleared is a big step in the wrong direction. Frankly, if UA is going to include the dessert on the tray with the salad and main course, the dessert ought to be something that isn’t going to melt.

The Polaris hard product remains good, except, as you have highlighted, the seat is uncomfortably firm in bed mode. I don’t usually care for mattress pads, but they are virtually essential on Polaris. Coming back on AF, also in business, my seat had a much more comfortable seat cushion when sleeping and I was served much better food, with a cheese course and dessert course each served separately following the main course.

Not only were mattress pads not offered proactively on my flight, I noticed a six-pack of UA shrink-wrapped slippers in the galley when I went to the lav, but those weren’t offered either.
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Last edited by SAT Lawyer; May 31, 22 at 7:40 am
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Old May 31, 22, 7:32 am
  #986  
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Originally Posted by tzly6p View Post
I was really looking forward to my May 8-26 Polaris flight from LAXAMS.
There's nothing about Polaris to look forward to except the lounges and the relatively private lie-flat seat. Everything else about the Polaris "experience" is pretty well known to suck.
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Old May 31, 22, 8:26 am
  #987  
 
Join Date: May 2011
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Will be interesting to see what happens to all of this demand in 2023 after flight and cruise credits are all used up this year, especially when some customers get poor experiences like this.
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Old May 31, 22, 8:28 am
  #988  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 20
AMS seemed normal on the 26th, very busy but that is normal. We have Global Entry. The delay was the luggage and getting thru TSA in
the Intl luggage area. The was no pre-check there, just a mass of humanity pushing to get, thru.
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Old May 31, 22, 8:37 am
  #989  
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Programs: HH Diamond, MB Titanium, UA Silver
Posts: 64
Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
Do you mean the main terminal, where is a pre check and Clear, or Concourse C after you clear immigration, where is no precheck?
Should just be the main terminal in the middle. Where all the check-in desks are. I don't think you can get to any of the concourses without going through security.
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Old May 31, 22, 8:47 am
  #990  
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Unrealistic expectations and misplaced priorities imo... most complaints are about food/meal service - valid but well known and extensively discussed..

If you fly Polaris you take advantage of food in the lounge (lax one is excellent plus op had a connection somewhere for another meal) and hard product in the sky - that combo still beats pretty much anything else to europe

Ymmv but ll take it anytime over 2-2-2 seats and lounges LH offers.. nothing overly exciting in AA BA or AY world either..
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