Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Polaris blown away by Turkish business class

Polaris blown away by Turkish business class

Old Dec 22, 2023, 1:17 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lake Tahoe (RNO)
Programs: Depends on the card offers :)
Posts: 128
Polaris blown away by Turkish business class

My wife and I recently traveled on this award booking (360k miles RT for 2):

SFO > LHR > CAI > AUH (a UA 777 on the first leg, Egypt Air on the final two)
AUH > IST > SFO (Egypt Air then the long haul on a Turkish 787)

It was a wonderful trip and a redemption we felt good about, so this isn't a vent post. But HOLEY CRAP did Turkish blow United out of the water. The newness of the plane (the 787 had roughly the same layout but with much nicer touches), amenities on the plane (headphones, toiletries kit, etc), friendliness of the staff, and the food....especially the food, with the designated chef in the sky (!), everything was better on the Turkish Airlines flight.

Polaris Lounge in SFO vs the AMAZING Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is not even a contest. Size, selection, general attractiveness...

The little things (time to get a drink once you board, which seems to have nose dived since COVID), the heated towels, the bathroom...every single thing was better on the Turkish Airlines flight. We were really excited to try Polaris for the first time, and while the quality blows away anything in the back of the plane, and the ability to actually get real sleep is a game changer, ultimately came away somewhat disappointed in the UA flight (severely meh food, meh drink selection, no sense of occasion) and surprisingly impressed by the Turkish leg.

Is this just a known thing? Were we silly for thinking otherwise? I've flown business to Asia (Japan Airlines) and South America (LATAM), and I would say the UA product was probably the worst of all.

And shoutout to Egypt Air for having old planes and no alcohol but being incredibly friendly and professional. Their service was actually the best of the bunch!
JordyC is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 1:23 pm
  #2  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Denver, Colorado
Programs: IHG Spire, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Titanium, Mileage Plus Gold
Posts: 1,736
What else is new? Turkish Airlines business class food service has actually downgraded from what it was when I flew them in 2015. Miss those appetizer and dessert trolley buffets.
Happy, big V, EuropeanPete and 5 others like this.
seat38a is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 1:24 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,790
Originally Posted by JordyC
Is this just a known thing?
Yes.

Originally Posted by JordyC
Were we silly for thinking otherwise?
Only you can answer that.

Polaris's main strength is the seat. I am perfectly happy to sleep through UA's service.
SF1K, moondog, SPN Lifer and 13 others like this.
jsloan is online now  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 1:30 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lake Tahoe (RNO)
Programs: Depends on the card offers :)
Posts: 128
[MENTION=8598]jsloan[/MENTION] your post gave me a chuckle. I think I just bought into the hype that Polaris was UA's way of stepping back into the quality conversation. It was fine. But not what I expected, lounges included.
AJNEDC likes this.
JordyC is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 1:31 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NYC
Programs: UA-1K MM, AA-Gold, DL-Silver, AS-MVP
Posts: 2,518
Originally Posted by JordyC
Is this just a known thing? Were we silly for thinking otherwise?
Yes widely known.

But UA isn't really competing with TK. And TK is competing with ME3 and to an extent EU3/SQ/CX. Not an excuse for UA but they're isn't as strong of an incentive to improve since TK does not take away that much of UA market share.
SPN Lifer, Happy, ebayj and 2 others like this.
hirohito888 is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 1:32 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: LAX IAH AMS
Programs: UA GS 1MM
Posts: 1,287
Originally Posted by jsloan
Yes.


Only you can answer that.

Polaris's main strength is the seat. I am perfectly happy to sleep through UA's service.
Agreed. I'm in polaris for the seat.... great seat.... crappy food.
avi8tir is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 2:04 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 15,153
Thread title should almost be "Polaris blown away by fill-in-the-blank business class"

Polaris seat good, Polaris Lounge can be good, Polaris inflight food and service meh.
jsloan, big V, chris63 and 10 others like this.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 2:09 pm
  #8  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Denver, Colorado
Programs: IHG Spire, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Titanium, Mileage Plus Gold
Posts: 1,736
Originally Posted by JordyC
[MENTION=8598]jsloan[/MENTION] your post gave me a chuckle. I think I just bought into the hype that Polaris was UA's way of stepping back into the quality conversation. It was fine. But not what I expected, lounges included.
That ended around 2017-2018.
UA_Flyer likes this.
seat38a is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 2:22 pm
  #9  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,881
Originally Posted by JordyC
[MENTION=8598]jsloan[/MENTION] I think I just bought into the hype that Polaris was UA's way of stepping back into the quality conversation.
c. 2016, it was. That ended a long time ago, as UA began cutting quality almost immediately after launch.

Polaris now means a decent seat and a poor soft product (service and meals).
Kacee is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 3:00 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Amsterdam
Programs: A3, BA, OZ,
Posts: 1,110
I will say that there are some aspects that are a bit debateable. I know people love and rave about TK Istanbul lounges, but I personally hate them. Can take ages just to find a seat, especially if you want to be near power. I don't think I have ever walked in and found a suitable seat (near power outlet with some padding) without having to make several trips around. The amenities are surely lovely, the food is great, but it just feels like a busy all you can eat restaurant.
While Polaris lounges are far from perfect, I have never had difficulty finding a seat and tend to find them far more relaxing than the TK lounge. And the a la carte dining is so pleasant because it is nice to be able to just sit and wait and not be running back and forth for things.
But a lot of people love TK's lounges, so it is clearly down to personal preference.
But yeah, that is where it ends, as the only reason I actually fly with United internationally is when there is no other realistic option.
uanj, SCChris, st3 and 5 others like this.
AlwaysFlyStar is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 3:06 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Posts: 165
Originally Posted by JordyC

Is this just a known thing?
Your reaction is pretty common.

It's not a Polaris vs thing.

The overwhelming majority of the time, ALL US airlines are awful in comparison to their foreign counterparts. I will never again choose an American carrier for an international flight.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 22, 2023 at 3:14 pm Reason: repaired quote
rmontelbon is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 3:40 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: NYC
Programs: UA Platinum
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by rmontelbon
Your reaction is pretty common.

It's not a Polaris vs thing.

The overwhelming majority of the time, ALL US airlines are awful in comparison to their foreign counterparts. I will never again choose an American carrier for an international flight.
I think it's possible to appreciate Polaris for what it is. A product that gives you the (imo) most important functions of long haul business class (lie flat and all aisle access), gives you more of it than anyone else (high density layouts, consistent rollout across long haul intl fleet) and pairs it with a class leading award program with decent redemption opportunities (not what it used to be but still pretty good). Great network and alliance partners (like TK!). Then, they do the bare minimum on everything else, like food and service.
jsloan, SPN Lifer, Happy and 2 others like this.
sardonic is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 3:59 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lake Tahoe (RNO)
Programs: Depends on the card offers :)
Posts: 128
Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
Thread title should almost be "Polaris blown away by fill-in-the-blank business class"

Polaris seat good, Polaris Lounge can be good, Polaris inflight food and service meh.
I think you're right, seems like any international business class is better than the US3!

I really also wanted the Lounge to be better. I have been to a lot of United lounges over the years (well, probably not a lot compared to the road warriors in this forum, but still!), and this one didn't really stand out. I might have taken a shower there, which I guess is pretty luxy. Maybe I'm becoming spoiled.
JordyC is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 4:03 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Programs: DYKWIA, But I'm a "Diamond Guest" UA 1K/2MM
Posts: 2,277
That confirms my experience this year too, on: Turkish, Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss, Thai ....

Polaris has decent seats -- though not the very best (the Turkish and Swiss throne seats are superior). The only thing Polaris wins on is the bedding.

For EVERYTHING else, Polaris is dead last. It all flows from one salient fact: on United, it's all about what's best for the flight attendants. On the other carriers, it's about what's best for the customer.

So meal service on United is organized around getting the FAs back to the galley as quick as possible (I've actually had my tray removed when my knife and fork were still in my hands). On LH and LX, they will make it fast if you want; but they will also allow you to enjoy a comfortably paced lunch or dinner. It doesn't help that the food is crap on UA as well.
ani90, halls120, DrMilano and 2 others like this.
porciuscato is offline  
Old Dec 22, 2023, 4:27 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,699
There are many many good/better airlines out there, and not just within the *A system.

If you are looking for an elevated experience (in premium cabins), or just a good experience (in any cabin), would recommend giving non-US carriers a look.
Repooc17 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.