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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
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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 Jun 24, 22, 10:00 am
  #1171  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA GS4MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 5,570
Originally Posted by econ View Post
Passengers flying to the US don't have access to one until arrival, and that's assuming onward connections.

Even on US departures, I don't always have time to budget getting to the airport an hour or so earlier to have a meal at the PL.
UA doesn't care. That is their justification.
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Old Jun 24, 22, 11:42 am
  #1172  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: DAY
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; Marriott LT Plat Premier (+AMB); Amex MR; Chase UR; Hertz PC; Global Entry
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Originally Posted by postnobills View Post
Does anyone actually pay cash to fly Intl Polaris? I just booked award tickets at a very favorable price to fly BCN-TPA next year. The same itinerary on AA needed 60% more miles and DL was (typically) about 4x higher. I am hopeful that Polaris service has to improve within 9 months, but if not, I will just plan to buy some decent food to go at BCN and bring my own meal onboard.
I have been burning my United miles, mostly on the 60K business class to BKK deals.

After looking at United's pricing, as well as the service levels, I booked Etihad for $ for what I needed now. First foray outside of United for paid flights in a LONG time. Feels liberating...and after seeing some reports on their business service, I am genuinely excited to fly them.

Also just flew the outbound portion of an AA domestic flight for $. Direct flight and was decent service, even as a nobody.

Might be having an epiphany.
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Old Jun 24, 22, 4:27 pm
  #1173  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 87
I flew Business to DEN and then on to ORD and LHR yesterday. The Polaris Lounge at O'Hare was fabulous. Not too crowded, plenty of seats, plenty of food. Best of all were the daybeds the little sleeping rooms. The check-in clerk was great even though I was completely exhausted and not very friendly. She said that they might have a surge of customers so the stay might be restricted to one hour, but if they had room, it could be extended. As it happened, they did not have a surge and I slept happily as long as I wanted (about 2 1/2 hours).

But the meals on board the planes were peculiar. I kept getting advance emails from United saying "Choose your meals in advance!", but when I followed the link, the only one I could choose for was the first leg, to Denver. It said that on the first leg to Denver, I got a "SNACK" and on the DEN-ORD leg I got "BREAKFAST," and of course ORD-LHR offered "DINNER." For the "SNACK," the computer offered me a choice of scrambled eggs or a waffle. I chose the waffle. So they served me the waffle with a nice sauce and it was good. It came with a packaged fruit cup and a cookie. Then on the DEN-ORD leg the "BREAKFAST" came along and they offered me a choice of scrambled eggs or a waffle. The breakfast and the snack are identical, in other words.

So for the breakfast, I chose the scrambled eggs, but then they were out of scrambled eggs, so I got a second waffle. Just like the first waffle, but no sauce, so not quite as good. A bowl of fresh fruit rather than a packaged fruit cup, though. No cookie.

Then on the dinner leg I chose the beef, but they were out of beef, so I got the pastry thing, which was okay. The breakfast the next morning was good -- thank God, not another waffle.

The whole experience was a bit cramped and the airports are packed like sardines. But the Polaris Lounge and the chance to lie flat were pretty great. Some very steadfast and gracious FAs in the face of a lot of chaos out there.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 4:17 am
  #1174  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: SAN
Programs: 1K (since 2008), *G (since 1990), 1MM
Posts: 2,819
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Last rows for non-1K, GS -- will all choices be gone, no. Will most choices be gone, yes.
And this is why it still confuses me that they do not permit customers to preorder meals in Polaris. Last week another pax and I were kind of half joking that if our choice was jot available could we have a meal from coach...when your pax in Polaris are asking for a coach meal it says something about the food being served in the premium cabin
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Old Jun 26, 22, 8:57 am
  #1175  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.5MM, AA 2MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 4,821
Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
And this is why it still confuses me that they do not permit customers to preorder meals in Polaris. Last week another pax and I were kind of half joking that if our choice was jot available could we have a meal from coach...when your pax in Polaris are asking for a coach meal it says something about the food being served in the premium cabin
I'm not embarrassed to admit that on my Polaris flights (which is 80%+) I now always ask what the economy meals are -- and if they have the Thai Chicken or Kaatsu -- I ask for that!

Unfortunately for international flights out of EWR that seems to be pretty rare - so I keep my mini Tabasco bottles well stocked in the carry-on (I purchase them in bulk from Amazon).... Fortunately I do not eat on the Eastbound flights - but hard to avoid on westbound....

On Friday I head to Tokyo - and the Polaris (lounge) breakfast will only get me to Alaska.....

Last edited by bmwe92fan; Jun 26, 22 at 9:53 am
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Old Jun 26, 22, 1:18 pm
  #1176  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Programs: United, Southwest
Posts: 251
I have already decided to eat in the airport ORD before my Polaris trip to ZRH in September. I think the German restaurant - Berghoff Cafe. And also bringing some snacks. It's an 8 hour flight. Luckily there are a lot of places to get sandwiches in ZRH on the return. I mostly am concerned with comfort - but going forward I may consider other airlines, which is too bad. I really loved that Thai soup United had? I flew Delta/Virgin Atlantic a few years back. Neither seat was really comfy but the food on Virgin Atlantic was the best I've had - except for one Cathay Pacific flight when I was in my 20's and got upgraded . . it was lobster tails. Sigh.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 2:28 pm
  #1177  
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
Location: LAX
Programs: UA
Posts: 525
Originally Posted by WheelsUpGal View Post
I have already decided to eat in the airport ORD before my Polaris trip to ZRH in September. I think the German restaurant - Berghoff Cafe. And also bringing some snacks. It's an 8 hour flight. Luckily there are a lot of places to get sandwiches in ZRH on the return. I mostly am concerned with comfort - but going forward I may consider other airlines, which is too bad. I really loved that Thai soup United had? I flew Delta/Virgin Atlantic a few years back. Neither seat was really comfy but the food on Virgin Atlantic was the best I've had - except for one Cathay Pacific flight when I was in my 20's and got upgraded . . it was lobster tails. Sigh.
It's very comfortable if that is your concern. Do also drop by the Polaris lounge if you have time.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 9:58 pm
  #1178  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 12,581
Originally Posted by HAF View Post
United should be ashamed; now with their planes full there is zero excuse for their sad condition of their catering.
A contrarian might suggest United sees full planes in spite of sad catering and think Gee, spending more on food wont sell more seats. Seems to me the only thing thatll shake UA awake on catering right now is (unfortunately) a wide-spread food poisoning event. UA draws the quality line at bad food that disgusts us - they wont step over that line and try to poison us (intentionally).

UA still gets me where I need to go most efficiently, so I suffer the food.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Jun 26, 22 at 10:05 pm
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Old Jun 26, 22, 10:04 pm
  #1179  
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
A contrarian might suggest United sees full planes in spite of sad catering and think “Gee, spending more on food won’t sell more seats”. Seems to me the only thing that’ll shake UA awake on catering right now is (unfortunately) a wide-spread food poisoning event. UA draws the quality line at bad food that disgusts us - they won’t step over that line and try to poison us (intentionally).
This, folks, is the bottom line.

But lemon and lime wedges are coming back next month. At least there's that!

Last edited by MatthewLAX; Jun 26, 22 at 10:44 pm
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Old Jun 26, 22, 11:20 pm
  #1180  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: HNL
Programs: UA GS4MM, MR LT Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 5,570
Originally Posted by WheelsUpGal View Post
. I mostly am concerned with comfort - but going forward I may consider other airlines, which is too bad. I really loved that Thai soup United had? I flew Delta/Virgin Atlantic a few years back. Neither seat was really comfy but the food on Virgin Atlantic was the best I've had
Wait - on the one hand concerned with comfort - but you'll sacrifice comfort for food on a flight? I don't know - me personally - I sacrifice everything for comfort - I have 364 other days to focus on food
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Old Jun 27, 22, 12:00 am
  #1181  
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Originally Posted by Flyz View Post
I flew Business to DEN and then on to ORD and LHR yesterday. The Polaris Lounge at O'Hare was fabulous. Not too crowded, plenty of seats, plenty of food. Best of all were the daybeds the little sleeping rooms. The check-in clerk was great even though I was completely exhausted and not very friendly. She said that they might have a surge of customers so the stay might be restricted to one hour, but if they had room, it could be extended. As it happened, they did not have a surge and I slept happily as long as I wanted (about 2 1/2 hours).

But the meals on board the planes were peculiar. I kept getting advance emails from United saying "Choose your meals in advance!", but when I followed the link, the only one I could choose for was the first leg, to Denver. It said that on the first leg to Denver, I got a "SNACK" and on the DEN-ORD leg I got "BREAKFAST," and of course ORD-LHR offered "DINNER." For the "SNACK," the computer offered me a choice of scrambled eggs or a waffle. I chose the waffle. So they served me the waffle with a nice sauce and it was good. It came with a packaged fruit cup and a cookie. Then on the DEN-ORD leg the "BREAKFAST" came along and they offered me a choice of scrambled eggs or a waffle. The breakfast and the snack are identical, in other words.

So for the breakfast, I chose the scrambled eggs, but then they were out of scrambled eggs, so I got a second waffle. Just like the first waffle, but no sauce, so not quite as good. A bowl of fresh fruit rather than a packaged fruit cup, though. No cookie.

Then on the dinner leg I chose the beef, but they were out of beef, so I got the pastry thing, which was okay. The breakfast the next morning was good -- thank God, not another waffle.

The whole experience was a bit cramped and the airports are packed like sardines. But the Polaris Lounge and the chance to lie flat were pretty great. Some very steadfast and gracious FAs in the face of a lot of chaos out there.
What station did you fly out of with the nasty packaged fruit cup?

FAs are supposed to prioritize pre-orders even over 1K meal preferences. Did the egg reservation on DEN-ORD not go through?
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Old Jun 27, 22, 12:22 am
  #1182  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 8,488
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Wait - on the one hand concerned with comfort - but you'll sacrifice comfort for food on a flight? I don't know - me personally - I sacrifice everything for comfort - I have 364 other days to focus on food
Bad food is a discomfort, and some fly more than one day a year!
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Old Jun 27, 22, 7:32 am
  #1183  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold
Posts: 1,893
At this point, I don't find that the Polaris hard product on UA is that much different from AF, KLM, LH, or BA, which are my main other options. But I'm an average size person. For others, that may differ. But the soft product is miles better on the others. On AF, the food and service has been fantastic post-COVID. I'd still fly UA if it was the cheapest, but it is usually more expensive. I must assume they are giving their large corporate customers much lower prices, and those customers are all they care about.
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Old Jun 27, 22, 8:23 am
  #1184  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Programs: United, Southwest
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Wait - on the one hand concerned with comfort - but you'll sacrifice comfort for food on a flight? I don't know - me personally - I sacrifice everything for comfort - I have 364 other days to focus on food
There was an equipment swap on the Virgin flight . . I don't remember the kind of planes (I only fly international once, maybe twice a year) but the one that I thought I was going to fly on, didn't happen. So I am hoping they have retired that old jet by now and the COMFORT factor will be upgraded for a future flight. You had to 'flip' the seat to get to the lie flat and it had no padding. I don't think comfort is tied to the specific airline, but to the jet. And those can get switched. The photos from HAF are really disturbing! I hope United is getting feedback (!) on that cauliflower salad thing . . . .
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Old Jun 27, 22, 11:50 am
  #1185  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
And this is why it still confuses me that they do not permit customers to preorder meals in Polaris. Last week another pax and I were kind of half joking that if our choice was jot available could we have a meal from coach...when your pax in Polaris are asking for a coach meal it says something about the food being served in the premium cabin
we are flying DL STR-AMS-SEA in a few days, because they are the GSA contract carrier for the STR-SEA city pair. We upgraded to D1 (paid upgrade), and this past weekend we got an email asking us to select our meal choices. Why UA cant do that is simply inexplicable.
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