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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 Jan 13, 22, 10:10 am
  #121  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
Every purveyor of everything says it is the best product. Consumers don't believe that stuff and it isn't fraud. It's called "puffery".

​​​​​And the post I was referring to argued high service models were "business 101". They aren't. Business 101 is you do the thing that makes you the most money, which can be high service, medium service, or low service.

​​​​​​
As someone who has sent a career in consumer products, it is simply not true that 'every purveyor of everything says it is the best product' - product segmentation and differentiation is core and key - Southwest, for example does not pretend it is Delta, United or American - it does not have seat assignments, has only one type of aircraft and will not interline - success is measured by how well you deliver the product as you have defined it
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Old Jan 13, 22, 10:43 am
  #122  
 
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post

The sad thing to me is also that UA has so much potential in terms of soft product and those who actually fly on UA regularly and have over the years see that UA can do great things when it tries, which is precisely what made us loyal. It wasn't simply network or price. Not for me, at least. And I know I'm not alone.
And we know that model does not work domestically in the United States - or, someone would be providing that model except on very limited routes.

It doesn't work because you'd have to raise prices as compared to your domestic competitors and that would 1) put your corporate contracts at risk because they are focused on the bottom line - and don't care you are drinking premium spirits and food on a business trip 2) Many leisure flyers book low price and and UA knows those leisure flyers are at high risk to book away 3) Just about every US business cuts expenses when they are losing money - not increase expenses and 4) Even if they did what is suggested and FT's rejoiced - the average flyer will never get the news.

If US airlines domestically thought if they added $20 per premium passenger in costs - but they could correspondingly raise tickets by $40 and increase profits - certainly someone would do it.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 11:09 am
  #123  
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
And we know that model does not work domestically in the United States - or, someone would be providing that model except on very limited routes.

It doesn't work because you'd have to raise prices as compared to your domestic competitors and that would 1) put your corporate contracts at risk because they are focused on the bottom line - and don't care you are drinking premium spirits and food on a business trip 2) Many leisure flyers book low price and and UA knows those leisure flyers are at high risk to book away 3) Just about every US business cuts expenses when they are losing money - not increase expenses and 4) Even if they did what is suggested and FT's rejoiced - the average flyer will never get the news.

If US airlines domestically thought if they added $20 per premium passenger in costs - but they could correspondingly raise tickets by $40 and increase profits - certainly someone would do it.
JSX has been growing leaps and bounds - have you looked into them?
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Old Jan 13, 22, 11:14 am
  #124  
 
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
And we know that model does not work domestically in the United States - or, someone would be providing that model except on very limited routes.

It doesn't work because you'd have to raise prices as compared to your domestic competitors and that would 1) put your corporate contracts at risk because they are focused on the bottom line - and don't care you are drinking premium spirits and food on a business trip 2) Many leisure flyers book low price and and UA knows those leisure flyers are at high risk to book away 3) Just about every US business cuts expenses when they are losing money - not increase expenses and 4) Even if they did what is suggested and FT's rejoiced - the average flyer will never get the news.

If US airlines domestically thought if they added $20 per premium passenger in costs - but they could correspondingly raise tickets by $40 and increase profits - certainly someone would do it.
Seriously, my F500 company already mandates travel be in economy unless you get a special exception. The only people flying business are the really high-level execs and VIPs and half the time they probably just use the company's private jet. We definitely prioritize pricing in our corporate travel contracts (I'm a lawyer who reviews these contracts from time to time) as our company has been in cost cutting mode for years and the travel folks couldn't care less about the actual product beyond getting people to where they're going in as few stops as possible.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 11:23 am
  #125  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
JSX has been growing leaps and bounds - have you looked into them?
I did just now. A 23 plane fleet with 30 seats - with from what I can tell no published financials isn't really a fair comparison - in my opinion.

I can't even tell if they are financially viable.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 11:43 am
  #126  
 
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
The iPad is the new People magazine. And it does bother me when they stare at it the entire flight without cming by to serve drinks even once.
Whether the FAs are "reading People magazine" or "staring at their phones/iPads" or whatever else they might be doing is a total red herring. The issue that matters is whether they are or aren't providing the service that UA/UX advertises on their website in association with the sale of tickets.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 11:54 am
  #127  
 
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
Whether the FAs are "reading People magazine" or "staring at their phones/iPads" or whatever else they might be doing is a total red herring. The issue that matters is whether they are or aren't providing the service that UA/UX advertises on their website in association with the sale of tickets.
I've been flying UA since roughly the late 80's - and up until 2020 regularly logged 200-300K miles per year - and I've never had no service (well - unless I want to count the smoke in the cockpit incident where we raced back to SFO).
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Old Jan 13, 22, 11:58 am
  #128  
 
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I've been flying UA since roughly the late 80's - and up until 2020 regularly logged 200-300K miles per year - and I've never had no service (well - unless I want to count the smoke in the cockpit incident where we raced back to SFO).
My flying patterns are pretty much the same and you've been luckier than I have, and it has got worse in my experience recently
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:03 pm
  #129  
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I did just now. A 23 plane fleet with 30 seats - with from what I can tell no published financials isn't really a fair comparison - in my opinion.

I can't even tell if they are financially viable.
They've been continually expanding and they are a very popular choice for the destinations they serve. The business model is "fly private for the price of coach" and it's pretty much what they deliver. Not finding financials is not an excuse to dismiss them, especially given their recent expansion - but the point is, there is a viable business model with demand for a premium product and service.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:04 pm
  #130  
 
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I've been flying UA since roughly the late 80's - and up until 2020 regularly logged 200-300K miles per year - and I've never had no service (well - unless I want to count the smoke in the cockpit incident where we raced back to SFO).
I have also never had no service & almost never had what I would consider substantially deficient service on Continental/United flights since the early 80s. My own experience in general on Continental/UA over the years is of a very very different (and vastly better) airline than is frequently described here in relation to routinely or even more-often-than-not experiencing "surly FAs", "terrible service", "bad attitude", etc.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 13, 22 at 4:32 pm Reason: See Moderator note
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:17 pm
  #131  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
They've been continually expanding and they are a very popular choice for the destinations they serve. The business model is "fly private for the price of coach" and it's pretty much what they deliver. Not finding financials is not an excuse to dismiss them, especially given their recent expansion - but the point is, there is a viable business model with demand for a premium product and service.
I didn't dismiss them - and certainly hope they succeed as an option - They are very expensive (actually I just did a dummy booking bay area to Vegas in mid-Feb - cheapest option seems to be $330 on JSX vs $127 on UA) and expansion doesn't always mean financially viable - but it is a very very small niche player in the market.

I think most of us would agree - most people aren't going to pay triple regardless of what JSX offers.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:20 pm
  #132  
 
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer View Post
Is the maximum Net Promoter Score (NPS) 10 or 100?

The edit suggests a maximum of 100.

What is your source for the UA NPS of 4? Do you have a link?

Perhaps we need a separate thread for discussion of the UA Net Promoter Score, as this is a very specialized field that most travellers without business management or market research experience would have little insight into or understanding of.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_promoter_score
Do a google search for "united airlines NPS score" and the first result is Comparably.com which shows the scores. (Range is -100 to +100). As Kirby seems to think the NPS score is an important indicator, I believe it's relevant to this thread. Not sure how he correlates the current abysmal levels of service to the actual score though - I don't think it takes rocket science to see that below par service = below par NPS score.

Arguments aside over what constitutes good service, the current levels are clearly not working if one ties Kirby's goals of being the world's leading airline to the NPS results. There are some good, service orientated employees at United, but there are also numerous jaded, tired, bitter employees who visibly just don't care. Tone at the Top and a corporate culture overhaul are needed for United to come anywhere close to being a good airline, never mind the world's best. Again, this is Kirby's stated goal.

My confusion is in how he thinks they're going to meet this goal - personally I think it's all investor talk and marketing hype that has no foundation in reality. Probably buys him a couple more years in charge and some more compensation though.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:25 pm
  #133  
 
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Originally Posted by Dyce View Post
My confusion is in how he thinks they're going to meet this goal - personally I think it's all investor talk and marketing hype that has no foundation in reality. Probably buys him a couple more years in charge and some more compensation though.
It is investor talk and marketing - nothing more to read into it.

Kirby isn't going anywhere until he retires - some on FT may not like him - Wall Street loves him and that is all that really matters.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:27 pm
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Dyce View Post
...
My confusion is in how he thinks they're going to meet this goal - personally I think it's all investor talk and marketing hype that has no foundation in reality. Probably buys him a couple more years in charge and some more compensation though.
There seems to be new virus going around called "CEOspitethgibberishitis". Kirby has been afflicted for quite some time (remember the grand announcement about everything returning to normal - months ago), and it seems Bastian at Delta just got infected today with his "Omnicron is behind us!" announcement. So, when Kirby makes declarations that UA inflight service and products are "best in class", it's probably just the virus talking.

Now I will say that our UC offerings have definitely improved over the past few months, which defies logic when we see how terrible inflight offerings have become regardless of good/bad service. Some of the photos in this thread and the Let's Eat thread just defy any type of defense. I'm still reeling from that image of the two lonely egg white bites with their sad red sausage companions, haphazardly scattered on the plate. I've seen farmers arrange their animal feed to look more appealing.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 12:57 pm
  #135  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
They've been continually expanding and they are a very popular choice for the destinations they serve. The business model is "fly private for the price of coach" and it's pretty much what they deliver. Not finding financials is not an excuse to dismiss them, especially given their recent expansion - but the point is, there is a viable business model with demand for a premium product and service.
LOL are you serious? This is the first I have heard of them so I went on their website. Route map is, um, limited, to be kind.

Out of curiosity I thought I would try to book a random dummy transcon trip, say from the NYC area to SF. OK, the closest they come is HPN-OAK, but that is OK and might even be more convenient for some people than EWR/JFK-SFO, so fine. But there is nothing even close to a nonstop. From the route map it looks like maybe I could go HPN-MIA-DAL-LAS-OAK? And you think that is comparable to what the majors offer?

But I tried to book it anyway. Nope, the ONLY place I can go from HPN is MIA, and only ONE time per day, five times per week. And for about $800!

I saw a reference to "business class service" somewhere on the website so I tried to find a picture of an OS-comparable meal or further description of the on-board dining experience so many here are pining for. Couldn't find anything except a reference to "snacks and drinks" and a picture of someone holding a beverage. Maybe there is more hidden that I didn't find in the couple of minutes I searched, but if not, I am left to conclude their "business class service" is basically a beverage and snack basket.

And finally, that teeny plane! I have flown private jets before and they can be pretty cramped (though there are some more luxurious versions to be sure), and I am not that big. Tellingly, I couldn't find any pics of the interior of the plane, so I assume that is because it is one of the cramped layouts they would prefer people can't see too easily (although again maybe there are cabin pics hiding somewhere on the website that I could not find during my quick tour). So I would probably actually be more comfortable flying commercial. Give me F in a 737 (or even WN in my A-List aisle seat towards the front) nonstop in six hours any day, even with limited service.
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