United Polaris® Food: Not as Advertised, but Not as Awful as Before

by Anthony Losanno
United Polaris

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I flew home yesterday from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in United Polaris® (United’s business class). I have been particularly harsh in my criticism of United’s offerings on international flights in the past (even going so far as to comparing it to food served in a prison). I’m happy to report that it’s getting better, but still has a long way to go.

During Covid, United took the opportunity to strip its Polaris® service down to almost nothing. It took years for hot towels, nuts, the sundae cart, and the menus to reappear. United used the pandemic as a way to cut costs. Those parts of the meal service are all back, but United still can’t get it all right.

Polaris Menu

Looking at the menu, my flight should/could have been catered with a selection of midflight snacks. These could include:

  • Selection of sweet and savory snacks
  • Assorted fresh fruit basket
  • Turkey Pastrami Sandwich
  • Creamy Tomato Soup
  • Grilled Cheese Toastie
  • Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup

The majority of this list was not catered. None of the hot items were onboard. I thought it odd to list these as I have only seen them on longer flights in the past (those going to Asia or Australia). The menu clearly states “Europe to USA Lunch/Dinner.” Was this a typo? Was the flight miscatered? The flight attendant had no idea.

UA Meal Preoprder

I preordered my meal and chose the Red Vegetable Curry. The four choices on the menu were the exact same ones offered onboard. Unlike domestic flights, there are no additional choices for preordering. What is interesting is that if you don’t preorder, you get what’s left. Even Global Services and Premier 1K® members might not get there first choice if enough of one meal isn’t catered. United will fill the preorders and then board a mix for those that have not. There is still priority given by status to passengers who did not preorder, but they won’t take away a preordered meal if a GS or 1K® can’t have their choice because there are too many others with the same status on the flight.

Polaris Nuts

The meal started with a hot towel, mixed nuts (warmed), and a choice of beverage (I had a ginger ale).

UA Polaris Meal

Next, the entire meal was brought out on one tray (except dessert). This included the salad, appetizer, entree, and bread. The salad was not really a Caesar Salad as it had tomatoes, but it was a huge improvement over the grain bowls and cauliflower/raisin mixes they have been serving. The appetizer was fine. The entree was incredibly bland and there was barely any sauce (most of the rice was plain). A pretzel roll was included on each tray (there is no choice of bread). Overall, it was edible and leagues better than what has been served, but it was nothing special.

Polaris Dessert

Dessert included a choice of cheese plate, chocolate mousse cake, or an ice cream sundae. I had the cake. Again, it was fine.

Polaris Snack Basket

The snack basket is kind of pathetic. While it’s nice to see the addition of fresh fruit, there were only mini chocolate bars and some sort of Love Corn chips, otherwise.

UA Polaris Meal

The pre-arrival meal was also better than it had been. The choice of a Beef Burger or Spiced Tomato Rigatoni Pasta. I had the pasta and it was tasty. My husband tried the burger and also thought it was good. This is an improvement from the Burger Wellington or couscous that was being served.

Polaris Wine Menu

There is a wine list again and the selections are decent. I didn’t have any wine, but this is a marked improvement.

Anthony’s Take: United made strides from what it has been serving, but it has a ways to go. The salads were fresh and the quality has improved. I’m still not sure why they list snacks that are not served on European routes. We’ll see if this is maintained or what comes next.

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Greg July 5, 2023 - 10:16 am

Interesting they already switched up the wines from last month – also interesting the ‘better’ wine is listed at the top vs more discreet in the middle or bottom

But yeah they need to start offering the app/salad separate from the main

D.A. July 5, 2023 - 11:40 am

Not even close to being a Caesar salad…no anchovies at the UK caterer?? or just UA being cheap?


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