Review: United Airlines 787-9 Business Class (Oh, The Food…)

Review: United Airlines 787-9 Business Class (Oh, The Food…)

FROM: OGG
TO: ORD
CABIN: Business
DATE: May 2021
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The hard product was comfortable for this overnight flight but the soft product left a lot to be desired.
111

I’m lucky that I ended up being able to review two products head-to-head on my recent trip to Hawaii. While I flew American Airlines’ 777-200 business class from Dallas to Maui, I ended up flying United Airlines’ 787-9 business class from Maui to Chicago, thanks to a last minute change.

I was expecting the experience to be roughly comparable (American vs. United is like Chili’s vs. Applebee’s), though that didn’t end up being the case. What was the experience like on this 7hr21min, 4,000+ mile flight?

How & why I booked United business class

I booked my return flight on United to the mainland on the day of departure. Why?

  • While I had originally booked a $900 one-way business class fare from Maui to Tampa via Dallas on American, I ended up moving back my return by three days; unfortunately the business class fare for that date was $1,700 one-way, so I decided to just book economy, waitlist a systemwide upgrade, and hope for the best
  • On the day of departure it became clear that my upgrade was unlikely to clear; while I was number one on the upgrade list, business class was sold out
  • While I’m not above taking a seven hour redeye in economy if I have to, I’ll also do what I can to avoid it if easy/practical; on the morning of departure I decided to take a look at other options
  • I was pleasantly surprised to find that United had a very reasonable first class fare (similar to what I had originally paid on American) from Maui to Chicago to Tampa, with the Maui to Chicago flight on a 787-9 featuring the new Polaris seats
  • I remember this flight had been sold out in business class when I originally looked at options, and I realized the reason for this — last minute United had swapped a 787-9 onto the route, rather than the originally scheduled 787-8, and the former plane has an extra 20 Polaris business class seats

That seemed like the best option — thanks to airlines no longer charging change fees, I can use my American Airlines credit towards a future ticket, and ended up spending about as much as I was initially expecting to.

United business class boarding

I was excited to be on a Boeing 787-9 featuring United’s new livery, which has grown on me a lot — how gorgeous, especially with the backdrop.

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 at Maui Kahului Airport (OGG)


United Airlines Boeing 787-9 at Maui Kahului Airport (OGG)

Just for fun I also snapped a picture of the American 777-200 that I was initially going to fly to Dallas.


American Airlines Boeing 777-200 at Maui Kahului Airport (OGG)

There were some highs and lows to boarding. The highs include that the gate agent was awesome — she had a great personality, and cracked some jokes that were actually funny. For example (and of course the humor was in the delivery):

“The only exception to the mask rule is if you’re under two. And no, acting like you’re under two doesn’t count.”

Speaking of boarding, United is the only airline where you really feel like a second class passenger when flying in the forward most cabin. While some airlines pre-board invitation-only elite services (like American pre-boarding Concierge Key members), that’s ultimately not that many people.

United pre-boards Global Services and Premier 1K members. I was the second person in the Group 1 line, yet business class was two-thirds full by the time I boarded. I understand that priority boarding ahead of a premium cabin (for those who don’t need extra time) is largely about ego-stroking, but:

  • It kind of seems impractical, since you have people lining up at the boarding gate, and then other people trying to cut through
  • It creates confusion, because those in first class not familiar with elite ranks are puzzled as to why so many people are allowed to board before them
  • As someone in line said to their companion, “I thought we’d get to board first if we’re in first class, but I guess we board last”

United 787-9 business class layout & seating

I’ve flown the new United Polaris business class seats before, including on the 767-300, 787-8, 787-10, and 777-300ER. However, this was my first time flying a United 787-9 with the new Polaris seats.

Polaris cabins are gorgeous, plain and simple, from the cabin finishes to the mood lighting.

United 787-9 Polaris business class cabin

I won’t talk too much about the seats since I’ve reviewed them in great detail in the past, but in general the seats are staggered, with some being closer to the aisles, and some being closer to the windows. I assigned myself seat 11A, a “true” window seat in the rear business class cabin.


United 787-9 Polaris business class seats


United 787-9 Polaris business class seats


United 787-9 Polaris business class seats


United 787-9 Polaris business class tray table

United 787-9 Polaris business class mini cabin

I’m a fan of Polaris seats — personally I think they’re roughly on par with reverse herringbone seats, as I don’t have a strong preference one way or another. They’re no longer really cutting edge, though.

I appreciated that there were individual air nozzles, since airplane cabins can otherwise feel pretty warm, especially when wearing a mask.

United 787-9 individual air nozzles

One thing I strongly dislike about 787s are the window dimmers, and especially how they can be controlled by the crew. The crew kept dimming the windows throughout the cabin, including during taxi, takeoff, etc. In theory I get it if you’re at cruise and going to sleep, but why do crews do this during other phases of flight?

United business class food & drinks

This is where the experience starts to go downhill. Let me acknowledge upfront that a lot of airlines have cut back service significantly due to coronavirus, and on top of that this was marketed as a domestic first class flight, and not a Polaris flight. But still…

Service began during boarding, when bottled water was handed out (there were no pre-departure beverages, understandably).

United business class service — bottled water

Drinks and dinner were served shortly after takeoff. Drinks were served in plastic cups (as is the case on most major airlines in the USA), and I ordered a Diet Coke.


United business class service — Diet Coke

Dinner choices were described as being either cheese ravioli or chicken with rice and veggies. There’s no way my stomach would be kind to me if I ordered cheese ravioli minutes before attempting to go to sleep, so I selected the chicken.

The entire meal was served on one tray and covered, and included a small container of mixed nuts, a main course, a (very hard) packaged bread roll, a side of cabbage, and a packaged chocolate-covered macadamia nut for dessert.


United business class service — dinner

I first unwrapped the entire meal and immediately snapped a picture, to make up for my sins on the outbound flight (where I forgot to snap a picture). 😉


United business class service — dinner

The main dish was simply disgusting, there’s no other way to put it. It looked about as good as it tasted. The veggies were soggy and tasteless, and the chicken was chewy as could be. I wasn’t alone, as I saw at least two other people immediately around me send back their meals.

I don’t understand how an airline can serve this in good conscience? It’s one thing if this was a one-off mistake, but this just seems to be what United considers an acceptable dish. Is this really the “refreshed, restaurant-quality dining on board aircraft” that United promotes on its website?


United business class service — dinner

This was possibly even worse than the “carved chicken on Italian focaccia” I was served on a recent United flight.

My last United Airlines first class meal

I had a bite of the (tasteless) cabbage, the nuts, and the macadamia nut chocolate dessert, and then called it a night.


United business class service — dinner

My assumption was that there would be breakfast, not because it’s really necessary, but because American serves a (light) breakfast on Maui to Dallas flights, which are even a bit shorter. But nope, an hour out drinks and Biscoffs were served, and that was it.


United business class service — coffee & cookies

Usually I’d say that serving two meals on a 7.5 hour redeye is an overkill, but after the dinner service I sure was hungry.

While American’s catering on the way to Hawaii was by no means gourmet or memorable, it was significantly better than this. On the bright side, I think this is probably the fewest calories I’ve ever consumed on a 4,000+ mile flight, so yay?

United business class service

I have low service expectations — after all, I’m an American Airlines frequent flyer — but even so this crew managed to disappoint:

  • There was no “hello” on boarding, and when service items were distributed they were simply handed out without anything being said; the little talking that did happen typically came in fragments
  • For example, the first words any crew member said to me was when the flight attendant asked me for my dinner preference — “for dinner tonight do you want grilled chicken breast, rice, and vegetables, or cheese ravioli?”
  • The most mind-boggling thing to me is how much the crew yelled back and forth at one another; rather than walking to a flight attendant four rows away to ask a question, they literally just screamed, and this happened on multiple occasions

On the plus side, the purser seemed like a nice guy, and his announcements were professional. Unfortunately he wasn’t serving the area where I was seated, though he did politely say goodbye as I deplaned (while other crew members hid in the galley).

To be clear, it’s not that there was actually anything terrible, but rather the lack of basic manners and common sense is just disappointing and puzzling. I’d consider it okay if at a fast food restaurant one employee yelled to another 10 feet away, but outside of that…

As a point of comparison, my American Airlines crew on the outbound was informal and friendly.

United business class bedding

While United’s Polaris bedding is exceptional, unfortunately this flight only had limited bedding. There was a Saks Fifth Avenue pillow and day blanket. The pillow was nice, while the blanket was rather scratchy and warm, and not nearly as good as the Casper bedding that American offered on the outbound.

United business class limited Saks Fifth Avenue bedding

United 787-9 business class entertainment & Wi-Fi

United’s inflight entertainment is quite good, and there was a big selection of movies and TV shows.

United business class inflight entertainment


United business class inflight entertainment

Unfortunately the one feature of personal televisions that I like most — the moving map — wasn’t working on this flight, so I had to use Wi-Fi to keep track of our flight progress.

United business class moving map


United business class flight data

The headphones were the standard Polaris ones, which are fine for a flight like this, but nothing exciting for a long haul flight.


United business class headphones

I did buy Wi-Fi for the flight, which cost $20.99 for the entire flight without data caps. That’s good pricing, and speeds were acceptable.

United business class Wi-Fi pricing

Views, views, views!

I’ve always loved flying, but since the pandemic I’ve had more of an appreciation than ever before for just looking out the window and enjoying views. We had some gorgeous views, both departing Maui and arriving in Chicago.


View after takeoff from Maui

Gorgeous sunset shortly after takeoff

View approaching Chicago


View approaching Chicago

Bottom line

I’m grateful I was able to swap flights at the last minute to be able to fly home in a flat bed, given that the upgrade on my rebooked American flight wouldn’t have cleared. I was also happy that this would allow me to write a head-to-head comparison of American and United on roughly comparable Hawaii routes.

To my surprise, American won by a long shot — while United Polaris seats are solid, the food, service, and bedding, all lagged significantly.

If you’ve flown United business class to or from Hawaii, what was your experience like?

Conversations (111)
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  1. JohnB

    I don't why anyone is expecting what airlines offered in the past. All airlines have less crew than they did 2 years ago. The catering companies are in even worse shape. Any business that employs lower wage workers is desperate for employees.

    The chicken was not great, but probably very edible. A little pepper adds a lot of flavor. But why are you expecting gourmet food on an airline?

  2. Jon G.

    Hi again. Need to correct my names in my post! Needed to say I love Ben, and OMAAT, and this airline-loving community Ben has birthed. Sorry about the name miscue. No excuse.

  3. Jon G.

    Hi! Love you all and Lucky and One Mile at a Time! Ok...AGREE completely. UA's Polaris catering is simply terrible. I paid $3,875 for a r/t Guam (GUM) to Milwaukee (MKE). UA has the Guam market to its self and charges accordingly. Only one meal on the 7.5 hour flight to Honolulu (HLN). It was breakfast, and it was worse than the quarantine meals I got at Guam's Dunsit Thai Resort hotel. Mealy scrambled eggs,...

    Hi! Love you all and Lucky and One Mile at a Time! Ok...AGREE completely. UA's Polaris catering is simply terrible. I paid $3,875 for a r/t Guam (GUM) to Milwaukee (MKE). UA has the Guam market to its self and charges accordingly. Only one meal on the 7.5 hour flight to Honolulu (HLN). It was breakfast, and it was worse than the quarantine meals I got at Guam's Dunsit Thai Resort hotel. Mealy scrambled eggs, fatty sausage and that's it. Just horrible. The HNL to DEN 777 flight, approximately 9 hours?, (I forget), was again ONLY ONE MEAL. It was at least palatable, Katsu Chicken and Rice, but, as on all the legs, VERY SMALL portions. The best food I was served was on the DEN to ORD leg, on a 737-900 Max. Belgium Waffles, and they were good. The returning flights were like the first two legs. Small portions, only one meal on long, over-water flights, and lousy food. The chicken dish out of HNL to GUM was unbelievably bad. I showed the Purser, Paul. It was one overcooked, greasy, small, thigh of chicken. Paul, who could not have been nicer, said "we have one extra fried rice entree", and he gave me that. It was better, but really, not good. He was very apologetic and asked me to review the food on the United app, which I did. Paul was embarrassed by what United serves its "First/Business" passengers. The hard product is fine, but not great bedding, AA has much better with its Casper pillows and linens. Service on all legs was FINE, but tge food, with the 737 exception, was deplorable. Also, as a retired Navy officer, and one-time pilot, I asked the FA's, more than once, nicely, if the guys and gals upfront would activate, "From the Flight Deck", to hear the ATC chatter. I love that. Even when in "Oceanic" mode, some old United pilots would turn on their High Freq channels, and it was glorious to listen to. Not once was "From the Flight Deck", energized. Disappointing. Very disappointing. So!... I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm a spoiled Business Class guy only complaining about the small stuff. I usually/often fly coach, and paying almost $4,000 for these 18 hour long flights ...well, it was a huge decision and a treat for me to pull the trigger on. But, with the food and boarding let-down, it was pretty bad. AA does much better in Business. Food-wise and with making Business class feel special in their Boarding process. And, non-U.S. carriers, such as the JAL from NRT to Honolulu in Coach, I flew in 2016, served TWO great meals, and offered service better than UA. United has the Guam market to the mainland sown-up. And it shows. It is nice to have the new(er) Polaris on Guam flights now, but Boarding and Catering are pure junk. Thank you for letting me rant. Sorry for all my negativity. PS: Lucky, you are so right about United's Boarding process. As the Army SF community says, it's a "Complete Goat Rope". Ok!, "nuff said"!
    Thank you all.

  4. Pete P

    It's the same crap Hawaiian Airline served us on Maui to Seattle flight. Apparently United and Hawaiin use the same catering company. That chicken was absolutely disgusting.

  5. Dan

    Wow, it's great to know what kind of crap food you're getting so you can pack your own lunch or dinner. Wow, I'm just speechless and shocked. This is 2021, and they can't seem to get the meals right. It speaks volumes, how much they care about the Business Class customer.

  6. HoKo

    Mannn, that chicken dish looks gross

  7. NYGuy24

    Disappointing to hear this about United Polaris

  8. YVR - Char

    On one hand, i was happy to read an airline review yet, on the other hand this United flight seems dreadfull; worlds away from a Cathay or Qatari flight; at least you had a change of scenary in Maui: stay healthy

  9. Arthur

    @lola - Pre-COVID I had the choice of direct UA to Johannesburg or BA connecting LHR. I understand wanting to be direct, but not only was paid business class much cheaper on BA, but I knew I would enjoy the experience more, for food, beverage and lounges.

  10. Brian Williams

    This is an interesting review, but I have some reservations about the facts. My wife and I have flown a lot, on many different Airlines. We have always enjoyed United’s Business/First Class. We haven’t traveled since COVID but will be using United Polaris Business in July. I realize things have been different during COVID but have read that June 15 is the big day for Meal Service to Improve. I also suspect the pre-departure experience...

    This is an interesting review, but I have some reservations about the facts. My wife and I have flown a lot, on many different Airlines. We have always enjoyed United’s Business/First Class. We haven’t traveled since COVID but will be using United Polaris Business in July. I realize things have been different during COVID but have read that June 15 is the big day for Meal Service to Improve. I also suspect the pre-departure experience will change as well. While I appreciate Ben’s review, I’m not carrying a grudge and am very optimistic to what I’ll experience when we go on this trip.

  11. Arnie

    Oh yes, and there was pre-departure service. Champagne, a lot of :)

  12. Arnie

    (there were no pre-departure beverages, understandably). Really ? In what year are living ? Enough excuses because of Covid.

    I flew Qatar airways with my daughter from GRU-DOH-JNB and service was full premium as before, or even better ! Dinning on demand , Crew were superb, every single one of them ! Double bed in QSuite and privacy. They made a 14h flight feels like a 6h flight. I could stay there as long...

    (there were no pre-departure beverages, understandably). Really ? In what year are living ? Enough excuses because of Covid.

    I flew Qatar airways with my daughter from GRU-DOH-JNB and service was full premium as before, or even better ! Dinning on demand , Crew were superb, every single one of them ! Double bed in QSuite and privacy. They made a 14h flight feels like a 6h flight. I could stay there as long as needed.

    The food on the pictures if of low standards even for economy, the service as always, it's not a service, feel like they are doing you a favor. I will run away from any American airline as much as I can.

    Thank you for the review

  13. Dmodemd

    Wait. You said this was marketed as domestic first class. Sounds like that's what you got (and a bit more). Why are you claiming this is a Polaris Business Class review?

    1. Ben

      @ Dmodemd -- I'm not claiming this is a Polaris business class review? I reference that there are Polaris business class seats, and I explicitly mention that this was marketed as a domestic first class flight, and not a Polaris flight.

      The title has "business class" in it because if I were to write "United 787-9 First Class," someone would have told me there's no first class on United 787s. The truth is that marketing...

      @ Dmodemd -- I'm not claiming this is a Polaris business class review? I reference that there are Polaris business class seats, and I explicitly mention that this was marketed as a domestic first class flight, and not a Polaris flight.

      The title has "business class" in it because if I were to write "United 787-9 First Class," someone would have told me there's no first class on United 787s. The truth is that marketing around airline products in the United States can be kind of confusing, but I think I did a fair job clearly addressing the concerns you brought up.

  14. Vert

    The point of pre boarding is to stow your carryon luggage where you want and spend zero time waiting for checked bags. Admittedly less of an issue in lie flat cabins. The United gates at OGG don’t have a lane for pre-boards but they absolutely should. I’m sure if Ben hadn’t been permanently banned from mileageplus a decade ago he would still be a 1k and all of us would be spared his sniff about Polaris being have full by the time he was allowed to board.

  15. Sn

    I’m platinum with United and I agree with Lucky on boarding. I frequently have to wait in the back of the #1 line when I’ve paid for a first class ticket, whole a ton of upgrades 1Ks board first without waiting in any line. All those that are commenting negatively about luckys boarding point are clearly 1K or GS, and they don’t want to have to wait in a line cause they think their status...

    I’m platinum with United and I agree with Lucky on boarding. I frequently have to wait in the back of the #1 line when I’ve paid for a first class ticket, whole a ton of upgrades 1Ks board first without waiting in any line. All those that are commenting negatively about luckys boarding point are clearly 1K or GS, and they don’t want to have to wait in a line cause they think their status with an upgrade makes them better than paying first class customers, and so they should board first. I’m surprised they haven’t added on in their comments by complaining that they have to wait for the disabled pax to board or even the pilots to be on board first.

    @lucky, I will also say that my flight choices are limited to United and AA due to airport offerings, and I have seen your many posts in the past complaining about unhealthy American meals... and the whole time I felt well clearly he hasn’t seen United meals if he’s complaining about foods having too many calories (instead of their flavor). It’s good to see you finally review United a bit more. I’ve decided to fly Lufthansa back over from Europe in a couple weeks instead of Polaris due to this post.... and yes 1Ks I do know the food “quality” is different on first vs Polaris. It’s not that much better though. At least Lufthansa hasn’t cut their inflight quality and offerings.

  16. Carrie

    @Kent ..... I think that you have summed up my quest to understand the airline offerings in the US perfectly!
    I have never understood the obsession with priority boarding (but maybe that is because I do not live in the US) or dining in a metal tube but having said that, I do appreciate french bubbles in the sky and a decent lounge pre-flight.

  17. Kent

    Oh and in addition…there is little to compare between DL, UA and AA. Much like American politics, the odds are good but the goods are odd.

  18. Kent

    Don’t get the priority boarding concept. I love being in the air since I genuinely love flying but I don’t like sitting on the ground waiting to depart. My time is much too valuable to me. Therefore I always like to board last. Even in first class, there is no reason for me to spend any longer inside that tube than required. I love airlines with ask me when I want to board. Time on...

    Don’t get the priority boarding concept. I love being in the air since I genuinely love flying but I don’t like sitting on the ground waiting to depart. My time is much too valuable to me. Therefore I always like to board last. Even in first class, there is no reason for me to spend any longer inside that tube than required. I love airlines with ask me when I want to board. Time on the ground means better connectivity which translates into productivity. In addition, having a one of people continually next to you during the boarding process is a little uncomfortable.

    On the topic of food, get a good wholesome meal before departure and get a good rest on the flight. As a frequent traveler, I avoid airline meals since they are rarely healthy or nutritious.

  19. Florida Sunshine

    I agree. United is awful. But, Ben u should be lucky they let you fly on them. I guarantee why u aren’t Ck or 360. They don’t want you. Bc your past. U aren’t their market.
    From 360 on delta last 8 years. And 360 delta is like red carpets at award shows.
    U just don’t qualify and won’t. And I’ll never get it. Hahahaha. But enjoy making millions on followers but ur...

    I agree. United is awful. But, Ben u should be lucky they let you fly on them. I guarantee why u aren’t Ck or 360. They don’t want you. Bc your past. U aren’t their market.
    From 360 on delta last 8 years. And 360 delta is like red carpets at award shows.
    U just don’t qualify and won’t. And I’ll never get it. Hahahaha. But enjoy making millions on followers but ur time is ending quick. Get a new life. And reality ( 1800 ) night. Your 100k safari. Antarctic cruise prob (60) u write it all off. Sad. And u like Democrats. How about you don’t pay one penny on written taxes thank you republicans. But u going and add up everything u write off. Ur hypocrite. Just like u asked for ur husband credit cards in first date. I bet ur the bitch tho. How about we take 60 percent from u. Ur a tool on trump. But u are clueless tax hikes. SO KEEP THIS MILES ANS POINTS. AND BUGGER OFF TOO ANYONE THAT WONT ARGREE. This is being political and bias. But Ben making money.

    1. Benedict

      Why are you being so rude? It's really uncalled for.

  20. Florida Sunshine

    United sucks, but Delta still best. FYI. Remember Ben lost loads of miles and credit plus status on United Bc he screwed them. The took him out. He has given few reviews complimenting them. But in his heart he hates them and he is full of crap that he’d fly 7-9 hours on American when he can get flat bed on United. So massive discount. U aren’t that style. Bc u won’t pay for it...

    United sucks, but Delta still best. FYI. Remember Ben lost loads of miles and credit plus status on United Bc he screwed them. The took him out. He has given few reviews complimenting them. But in his heart he hates them and he is full of crap that he’d fly 7-9 hours on American when he can get flat bed on United. So massive discount. U aren’t that style. Bc u won’t pay for it all like people at four seasons. Spit on u. I don’t care if you spent 20-30k on this trip. Ur blog lost all but ur making money so kiddos. At least I can fly there private at 34. But stop bragging on how much stuff is. We all get it, u make money but shut up. I know many wealthy people that hate how u changed. Go back too humility. Instead boasting on what u pay. ( do you realize most world make less than what u spent on trip ). Congrats. But don’t rub it in people face lately. Or last few years. I could by u over but u disgust me. Ur a huge dem ( as u expressed in post ..... thought miles and points. Keep politic out, oh right that means more traffic and posts. Makes u more money. but happy on rep tax. Hypocrite. Ur truly a dividing person.

  21. Lola

    Pretty disgusting! We are in the Star Alliance, but we only fly United partners for reward miles or use Chase for other partners. We are planning a trip in late August from EWR-JOburg UA Polaris seats non stop( not sure if that is on the Dreamliner)
    We have flying blue miles, but not sure if we want to have to connect in EWR and then again in either Amsterdam/Paris.
    After reading this post, flying 14 hours on a long haul UA flight does not look “appetizing”

  22. Rich

    For me, if I am living on the east coast I don't see a point visiting Hawaii. I can get to Europe in less time. Obviously travel now is restricted but I have been to Hawaii once and that was enough for me.

    Airplane food is at best passable. If possible bring your own snacks or buy a sandwich or salad.

  23. Zachary Kondo

    Just flew HNL to LAX and back this past week.

    Flew in a 777 with the Polaris seating going. I wanted to go to sleep, it was a 10pm flight. I heard it was chicken and rice so perhaps the same as your meal. Sounds like I didn't miss much. Service was okay, it was a redeye so not expecting much interaction. The one thing is I wish thr blanket was longer. I'm 6ft so...

    Just flew HNL to LAX and back this past week.

    Flew in a 777 with the Polaris seating going. I wanted to go to sleep, it was a 10pm flight. I heard it was chicken and rice so perhaps the same as your meal. Sounds like I didn't miss much. Service was okay, it was a redeye so not expecting much interaction. The one thing is I wish thr blanket was longer. I'm 6ft so you basically choose between covering your bottom or tops.

    Coming back we flew a 757 with the newish recliner seats. Not a fan. We had Thai chicken over noodles. I was hungry. The chicken was definitely dry, but the flavor was okay. Roll was hard. And a white chocolate cookie, bleh. Overall though I was expecting a sandwich so having a hot meal was nice.

    Service was okay. Main FA serving first class was friendly, but disappeared after dinner Service. Didn't come around with water or snacks for the rest of the 4 hours.

  24. dalo

    All I care about boarding is if I'm inside when the plane door closes . After that everybody takes off at the same time, right?

  25. stogieguy7

    @Emily - In this case, you obviously can't drive, but I very much agree with you. Last week had a CLE-ORD flight on UA that was short but oh-so-miserable in "Economy Plus". Next week, business takes me to the MSP area and yes I am driving. Final decision was made on the aforementioned flight.

    @Ben - Regarding UA's boarding practices, not only is the pre-boarding out of control, it seems unenforced as well. Flight I...

    @Emily - In this case, you obviously can't drive, but I very much agree with you. Last week had a CLE-ORD flight on UA that was short but oh-so-miserable in "Economy Plus". Next week, business takes me to the MSP area and yes I am driving. Final decision was made on the aforementioned flight.

    @Ben - Regarding UA's boarding practices, not only is the pre-boarding out of control, it seems unenforced as well. Flight I took last week was a 737-900. I was second in the Group 2 line. Some 15 minutes after "pre boarding" commenced and over 50 "group 1's" boarded (yes, I am serious, it was at least 50), I finally boarded to find the plane about half full. So, somewhere between 75 and 90 pax had already boarded. Now, how does that happen? Come on, it's CLE-ORD. On a Wednesday. Sure, there are elites but not that many. Nor is domestic first that ample - maybe 12 seats. No, it's an issue that UA needs to resolve. Clearly a lot of abuse.

  26. Andrew

    haha "I'm on the United diet" is another way of saying you're fasting

  27. david

    Rude UA flight attendants yelling at each other.

    Yup, sounds about par for the course.

  28. Mike Acker

    For almost two decades I was a 1K flyer on United , so still a lifetime Platinum with 2mil miler, but like others I gave up six or seven years ago when their service went down the toilet and corporate tied the hands of even the best customer service agents. Ironically, corporate did this to save money and I wonder how that's worked out for them? This story reminds me of the worst first class...

    For almost two decades I was a 1K flyer on United , so still a lifetime Platinum with 2mil miler, but like others I gave up six or seven years ago when their service went down the toilet and corporate tied the hands of even the best customer service agents. Ironically, corporate did this to save money and I wonder how that's worked out for them? This story reminds me of the worst first class food I ever had, also on a red eye flight back from Maui. Disgusting just as your experience proved. I think they're catering company there needed to be fired 10 years ago. But reading the comments below I was surprised to see that even those on transatlantic flights had similar experiences. Apparently United's service has reached an even lower low than I thought possible.

  29. Jeff Paint

    Sounds like you had an OH-ARGHH-DDD based crew full of battleship greys. Some things never change.

  30. Antonio

    Chicken usually is yummy, but with that rice and veggies it's true that it looks like Rykers Island prisoner's food. Law & Order in United came to my mind....

  31. Emily

    @NSS - until now... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtHNRxVZy9g :)

  32. NSS

    @Emily - Driving to Maui isn’t a winning proposition.

  33. Ryan

    United doesn't even try here, and that's what's disappointing. I suppose that if the flight is already full, there's no incentive to improve.... but these pics are just embarrassing (I think that cafeteria food at my elementary school looked better than this).

  34. David

    "You should’ve gotten the pasta dish with cheese. Tough to go wrong there."

    Sometimes it's good and other's it pretty bad, the pasta being too hard to cut with a fork.

    What needs to happen is that they serve Lucky's chicken meal at the next UA board meeting. That might get someone's attention.

  35. HKGBanker

    I've been grounded in Hong Kong for the past year or so. Seeing pictures like this makes me think I may not be missing flying quite as much as I thought! It never ceases to amaze me quite how awful the US legacy carriers are! And don't get me started on the crew. I'd fire the lot. Rude, lazy and "primarily here for your safety"........

  36. DCharlie

    @Carrie - that would be an amazing and a most comical post! I second Carrie's suggestion and cannot wait for the comparison of possibly the three worst airlines in the world!!!

  37. Carrie

    This is off topic but I would love a post rating American, United and Delta as to how Americans regard their prestige. As an 'outsider' and someone who has blindly followed the oneworld path when travelling within the USA, I would be interested to learn which airline is considered the premium offering within the community of savy American travellers.

  38. Trent

    @Ben - You weren't flying first class. You were flying in their premium cabin, but ultimately it is business class. Many airlines board their high value customers before others in business class. So I still struggle to see the context of highlighting this observation.

  39. Bert

    I considered moving back to United for my frequent transatlantic flights, but reading your review reminded me of what it was to fly United compared to KLM for example. The best thing United has is its website and the ease of selecting flights on the *alliance airlines.

  40. Esquiar

    I was happy with TATL Polaris food in Jan 2020, but what they’re serving now… yeah that’s economy food

  41. Trent

    I don't get the grip with boarding. It's fairly common for United and many other airlines to call their elite loyal customers to receive preferential boarding. Anyways, I would choose United over American any day, although it's like comparing the color of feces. Both stink.

    1. Ben

      @ Trent -- It's an observation more than anything else. But it really isn't "fairly common." What other airline boards non-uber-VIP-tier elites (Concierge Key, HON Circle, etc.) ahead of the most premium cabin? American boards Executive Platinum members after first class, Delta boards Diamond Medallion members with first class.

  42. guflyer

    About your comment that United is the "only airline where you really feel like a second class passenger when flying in the forward most cabin," when flying business class recently on Aeromexico, they insisted that business group passengers board last. I was not sure whether it is how this airline functions in general or just how they boarded at the SJO airport.

    @Clayton, do you know how things work for those with Admirals Club...

    About your comment that United is the "only airline where you really feel like a second class passenger when flying in the forward most cabin," when flying business class recently on Aeromexico, they insisted that business group passengers board last. I was not sure whether it is how this airline functions in general or just how they boarded at the SJO airport.

    @Clayton, do you know how things work for those with Admirals Club access at LHR now that T3 is closed? Is there a club in T5?

    1. Ben

      @ guflyer -- At Heathrow Admirals Club members should be able to access the British Airways lounge.

  43. John MacGyver

    United is the worst major airline in the world. Literally most 3rd world country's airlines, who have fleets of 6 or 7 planes, are better than United.

  44. WestCoastGuy

    @Milo: That was exactly my thought. Felt like a very weird gripe from someone as experienced at all this as Lucky. Reminds me of that famous Key and Peele skit:

    https://youtu.be/qhxlZC8BZJ4

  45. pgSFO

    I flew SFO-HNL return recently, and the food was poor. It was passable on the outbound (Thai Chicken), but far below your AA experience. The breakfast was dreadful on the return - in fact it’s the same as SFOJFK, which is shocking for a premium route. This is the “return” of premium route catering, and it’s worse than ever.

    One question - was the bread roll served warm? The purser on my last flight...

    I flew SFO-HNL return recently, and the food was poor. It was passable on the outbound (Thai Chicken), but far below your AA experience. The breakfast was dreadful on the return - in fact it’s the same as SFOJFK, which is shocking for a premium route. This is the “return” of premium route catering, and it’s worse than ever.

    One question - was the bread roll served warm? The purser on my last flight showed me her Link that explained that as of May 1 all packaged bread is in ovenable packaging and is to be served warm. Judging by the crew description, no ...

    1. Ben

      @ pgSFO -- Nope, it was not warm. Interesting that it's now supposed to be served warm.

  46. UpperDeckJohnny

    Producing food like this is a heritage crew problem.

    They can't be bothered to run the galley how they have been trained. Any chef/cook/mother or indeed brother knows that if you reheat steamy vegetables with roast meat, you'll end up with meat that a Samurai's sword wouldn't cut, let alone human teeth.

    Either the designing chef, or the caterers, but I'm guessing the crew, have put together a combination that will never function in culinary...

    Producing food like this is a heritage crew problem.

    They can't be bothered to run the galley how they have been trained. Any chef/cook/mother or indeed brother knows that if you reheat steamy vegetables with roast meat, you'll end up with meat that a Samurai's sword wouldn't cut, let alone human teeth.

    Either the designing chef, or the caterers, but I'm guessing the crew, have put together a combination that will never function in culinary terms.

    The answer is to accept, by design, roast chicken that sits in its own delicious sauce in a partitioned dish with the corn and rice having their own sections.

    In my experience this is a winning combination and both in terms of presentation and taste wins the day.

  47. Ken D.

    Wow! Back in April took American 777-200 from Dallas to Maui and the 787-900 back from Honolulu to Dallas. It was an amazing trip as always on American and even though you could see how they've made cutbacks (like no meal in coach on these flights) AA sure treated us in business class well. It was a trip def worth redemmingng FF miles for.

    Thanlks for the review. We've never flown business.or first on United and probably never will.

  48. Mm

    Meals like this will continue until someone with decision-making powers becomes embarrassed. Sadly, in the last 5 years, embarrassment has become almost nonexistent.

  49. Caleb

    Sorry... but I can't be sympathetic. This is still a domestic flight. A long one, sure - but domestic. Who are the competitors? Drag-me-off-the-plane United, Sky-Peso Delta, Discount Doug's AA, No Power or Peanut Southwest... there's no incentive for any of these guys to go above and beyond. As a side note - my last few AA flights have forgotten the catering. I'd jump for cabbage and a chocolate covered macadamia nut. I'm flying to...

    Sorry... but I can't be sympathetic. This is still a domestic flight. A long one, sure - but domestic. Who are the competitors? Drag-me-off-the-plane United, Sky-Peso Delta, Discount Doug's AA, No Power or Peanut Southwest... there's no incentive for any of these guys to go above and beyond. As a side note - my last few AA flights have forgotten the catering. I'd jump for cabbage and a chocolate covered macadamia nut. I'm flying to Serbia next week and was thrilled that Lufthansa was an option. Mind blowing? No. Dependable? Like a 300,000km Mercedes engine.

    1. Ben

      @ Caleb -- Hah, I'm not looking for sympathy! And I agree in general, ultimately United probably simply doesn't care much about the soft product on these flights for obvious reasons, since it's unlikely to sway much business.

  50. DANIEL C RICE

    Yikes that food looks abysmal. Best meal I ever had in 1st was on Delta from SEA to NRT. My wife and I pre-ordered the Japanese meal as to avoid being served Golden Corral quality “American” food. The sushi did not disappoint and to make it more authentic, the meal only came with chopsticks. No silverware. I think we did impress our Tokyo-based Flight attendants!

  51. Bren-Bren

    Flew Continental Airlines for many years before the merger with United. Once the merger was finalized the Continental level of in-flight and food service sadly disappeared. Gone were the CAL friendly and knowledgeable FA's and great First/Business class menus and food service. Now on United all there is now are very non interactive FA's and horrible food. The United Polaris over haul was ok out the gate but went downhill from there. So I can...

    Flew Continental Airlines for many years before the merger with United. Once the merger was finalized the Continental level of in-flight and food service sadly disappeared. Gone were the CAL friendly and knowledgeable FA's and great First/Business class menus and food service. Now on United all there is now are very non interactive FA's and horrible food. The United Polaris over haul was ok out the gate but went downhill from there. So I can agree the only good part remaining is the seating.

  52. Belinda

    If and when UA brings back special meals, order a Halal or Kosher one. Though I get when booking day of that won’t be an option.

    And you’re just now discovering UA crews are the loudest in the sky? Back in the day when you could still ask flight attendants to behave like human beings, almost every UA flight I took in Business I had to ask the FAs to tone it down so I could try to get some sleep.

  53. Nicholas

    @ Sir Walter Raleigh

    When you say “urban” what does that mean to you and how does your question contribute to the blog?

  54. Bobby

    Well not too long ago Domestic First was not offered separate boarding. All the high elites and then lopped in to group one

    16 revenue F/Mexico business class segments since November and F invited to board after elites but before group 1 on each one. Only thing is I don’t think they check if really 1K , BP scans and off you go.

    The meal. Ugh. Corn and soy beans have to be...

    Well not too long ago Domestic First was not offered separate boarding. All the high elites and then lopped in to group one

    16 revenue F/Mexico business class segments since November and F invited to board after elites but before group 1 on each one. Only thing is I don’t think they check if really 1K , BP scans and off you go.

    The meal. Ugh. Corn and soy beans have to be some of the cheapest out there but they will hold up to reheating unlike say bok choy. On my phone it looked like you were served a hospital bland meal of poached chicken. Surely a third choice would have been nice to. Maybe an Asian noodle cold plate with a side protein.

    Offer a snack box for the second service!

    Many are buying revenue premium class domestic flights/Caribbean as it’s not that much more than Y many times and pays for itself between buying Y+ and 1 checked bag. Spending $10 towards F food would be appreciated

    I’ve had extremely friendly crews upfront , albeit on narrow body and regional jets all trying to provide a true F experience with serving seats 2 at a time. Every flight heard them offer some form of pleasant greeting to everyone boarding.

    I guess I just lucked out. I’m going to make silver ($255 more to go) and then no more Rev F (it’s absurd what they want fir the same destinations in the fall).

    I might buy the Y+ subscription but I’m sure on most flights I could score Y+ at check in

  55. The Original Donna

    Many airline F and J meals are predictably bad and live up to promise. And occasionally, I’m pleasantly surprised. I have one rule for long flights: never board hungry or without a backup snack. I would not have consumed one bite of that mess.

  56. SFO Flyer

    You should've gotten the pasta dish with cheese. Tough to go wrong there. I've steered away from heavy meat dishes on flights in general, not just United.

  57. Clayton

    @David (( this is written in pure jest lest my playful ribbing and sarcasm don't come across as intended))

    That flight from Europe is a bit*h eh. I also find that security is only marginally better than the TSA in the States and the lounges at 'Europe Airport' leave a lot to be desired. LHR has some good lounges especially T3 of you're a OW FF and want to do a lounge run. CDG,...

    @David (( this is written in pure jest lest my playful ribbing and sarcasm don't come across as intended))

    That flight from Europe is a bit*h eh. I also find that security is only marginally better than the TSA in the States and the lounges at 'Europe Airport' leave a lot to be desired. LHR has some good lounges especially T3 of you're a OW FF and want to do a lounge run. CDG, well it's all very French really imo and AMS is fine as long as you're an experienced marathon runner for when your gate is invariably assigned four days away from whichever airlines you're usings lounge but they're all better than that abomination of Europe Airport.

    That said, even that made up place is better than the Trainwreck that is BER ( possibly the most un German entity in existence).

    Playfull ribbing ends

  58. DCharlie

    Nothing like another horrid review of the US3 to cheer one up - what a national embarassment...

  59. Emily

    ...and this is why people in the US prefer to drive...

  60. Kent

    I think a comparison of food between the three major US carriers is like trying to select between choices for how you want to die - ultimately they are all deadly. That food looks like something my dog threw up. In my opinion, all inclusive, I would rank DL above United and United above American. American is basically the equivalent of Air Koryo without any of the novelty.

  61. John S

    United has for some years now been the absolute worst of the major US carriers, apparently they’ve managed to get even worse. That “meal” looks like someone vomited

  62. Andrew

    The two worst F meals I've ever had on a flight were the last two weeks going to/from Maui (via SFO) on United. Appallingly disgusting food. My dog's food has to taste better.

  63. Kate

    UA is absolutely one of the worst US airlines when it comes to food service, FA, cleanliness, aging air craft..etc. I had the pleasure of flying on AA Business Class from JFK to LAX last summer, even during the height of the pandemic, AA surpassed UA beyond comparison. As for the overseas carriers, I have flown many in Business Class and coach, it would not be fair to compare them to the pathetic service received...

    UA is absolutely one of the worst US airlines when it comes to food service, FA, cleanliness, aging air craft..etc. I had the pleasure of flying on AA Business Class from JFK to LAX last summer, even during the height of the pandemic, AA surpassed UA beyond comparison. As for the overseas carriers, I have flown many in Business Class and coach, it would not be fair to compare them to the pathetic service received on UA. I am a 1K member on UA due to business travel on partner airlines, but truly means little knowing what UA had too offer.

  64. Terry Kozma

    We have people commenting on United service that have not flown the carrier in 7 years. This is very helpful!

  65. shoeguy

    Enjoy the experience now. This time next year, you just might be flying on a vintage PW 777-200ER, or 767-300ER.

  66. Margie O.

    It's predictable how bad the US empire airlines were in terms of real quality. From the food, the FAs, etc. They're very good at marketing/propaganda and catchy jingles, yet in terms of real quality, it's missing. Simply an illusion. Onward and downward!

  67. David

    That chicken looks worse than discounted frozen dinners.

    Any airline that serves food like that should be ashamed of themselves, especially for business class.

  68. Alonzo

    Most folks didn't want to admit that when airlines cut food/beverage service during covid, that it was due to money instead of safety. Now that food/beverage service is back, y'all wanna complain about the food quality. Eat at home or eat at the limited options at the airport. This BS food is here to stay on US based airlines. Sure Delta and AA are better than United. But Jetblue has always and will always be...

    Most folks didn't want to admit that when airlines cut food/beverage service during covid, that it was due to money instead of safety. Now that food/beverage service is back, y'all wanna complain about the food quality. Eat at home or eat at the limited options at the airport. This BS food is here to stay on US based airlines. Sure Delta and AA are better than United. But Jetblue has always and will always be the standard for food in the US. Stop expecting more, you'll always be disappointed

  69. Stephen Morrissey

    @David

    The pillow and the blanket were eaten by the hungry passenger...

  70. UA-NYC

    United food is consistently pretty bad going back years now. This is nothing new sadly.

    Polaris true window seats are good. Angled ones (1/2 of the seats) are poor. Much worse than standard reverse herringbone IMO. Exposed right into the aisle and the side table is awkwardly behind you.

  71. MikeyInOregon

    I have stopped flying United 7 years ago, I would rather pay extra to fly with other airlines. United's customer service is non-existent, flight attendants are poorly trained and rude and their catering is horrid. I'm no surprised to see that that hasn't changed in 7 years.

  72. Carl

    Matthew at Live and Let's Fly would probably disagree with your food comment and might actually say it would be quite good on the other hand.

  73. Aaron

    @Minus-
    One of the main approach paths to ORD (for runways 27/28) is heading west from over Lake Michigan... so the flight from Maui would have flown south of downtown heading east to get out over the lake so they could then loop back toward ORD north of downtown and land on 27/28.

    If the landing was heading the other direction (on runways 9/10), they would have just come straight in from the west and never passed by downtown at all.

  74. Robert Fahr

    Did United sell you a domestic First or Polaris class ticket? I cannot follow from this review.

  75. NK3

    Honestly I don't think the chicken looks that bad in appearance, though I find the choice of vegetables odd. To me it looks like the takeout teriyaki chicken I order fairly often (though it is usually not served with that kind of vegetable blend). Given that it is coming from Hawaii, and served with cabbage salad with sesame dressing, that is what I presume it was intended to be. Now it may be a very...

    Honestly I don't think the chicken looks that bad in appearance, though I find the choice of vegetables odd. To me it looks like the takeout teriyaki chicken I order fairly often (though it is usually not served with that kind of vegetable blend). Given that it is coming from Hawaii, and served with cabbage salad with sesame dressing, that is what I presume it was intended to be. Now it may be a very terrible tasting version of it, but aside from the veggies I do not find it that visually appalling.

  76. laceyb

    I remember about 8+ yrs ago, UA used to offer the gourmet meals you could buy...now they were on intl flights if you flew econ or premium econ. But a flight from the east coast to europe is less time than the flight you took...i wish they would bring them back! if i remember right they cost $25? for several courses with wine & they always had a great mediterranean veg option -
    food...

    I remember about 8+ yrs ago, UA used to offer the gourmet meals you could buy...now they were on intl flights if you flew econ or premium econ. But a flight from the east coast to europe is less time than the flight you took...i wish they would bring them back! if i remember right they cost $25? for several courses with wine & they always had a great mediterranean veg option -
    food is such a no-brainer and low hanging fruit, it amazes me how american carriers continue to be so bad at it!

  77. Airfarer

    Flew LHRORD a week or so ago in Polaris. Yes, you can ruin pasta. My top layer was crunchy. Otherwise the same experience.

    Off topic. Just flew ORDDCAORD on AA in MCE for an overnight. Flights were packed both ways. Things did change quickly.

  78. eponymous coward

    So where did you credit the miles?

  79. cls

    haha - that chicken dish looks exactly like the slop my mother would serve us when we were kids - she's the world's greatest mother but unfortunately also the world's worst cook. Anyways, nice to see the flight reviews back.

  80. Bill n DC

    Wow. I had similar experience as AA Plat on nonstop UA DCA-DEN. Outboard gate agent horrible as we stood in group 2 line as paid First Class (Yes, honey, the ‘upgrade’ cleared ;-) )
    Between not in uniform military and families + there were 30 people in Group 1 Gate agent rudely answered. Anyone can buy group 1. :-( United, where everyone is above average. Yes OH bins were full :-(
    FA Laura...

    Wow. I had similar experience as AA Plat on nonstop UA DCA-DEN. Outboard gate agent horrible as we stood in group 2 line as paid First Class (Yes, honey, the ‘upgrade’ cleared ;-) )
    Between not in uniform military and families + there were 30 people in Group 1 Gate agent rudely answered. Anyone can buy group 1. :-( United, where everyone is above average. Yes OH bins were full :-(
    FA Laura saved the day with wonderful service. :-)
    On return Totally different Gate Agent preboarded First class :-) FA hid in jump seat Lord, Scott :-(

  81. Sir Walter Raleigh

    How “urban” was the crew?

  82. Milo

    Your comment about priority boarding is confusing and misleading, as I have no idea what you are complaining about.

    First, you keep switching between business class and first class. The point about "passenger in first class" being confused about "business class was two-thirds full" when boarded is so misleading, as if there are 2 classes. But AFAIK, there is only one Polaris class, not separate Polaris First and Polaris Business.

    Also, what's wrong with passengers...

    Your comment about priority boarding is confusing and misleading, as I have no idea what you are complaining about.

    First, you keep switching between business class and first class. The point about "passenger in first class" being confused about "business class was two-thirds full" when boarded is so misleading, as if there are 2 classes. But AFAIK, there is only one Polaris class, not separate Polaris First and Polaris Business.

    Also, what's wrong with passengers with elite status seated in the premium cabin being boarded before other passengers seated in the same premium cabin without elite status? Sure, the 2 people in line you've quoted may not be seasoned travelers and may feel entitled just for flying "first class", but as a seasoned traveler yourself, you should know better. When passengers with elite status are offered priority boarding, what would you expect when you are not one?

    Yes, United's service is bad and the inflight meal is disgusting -- no argument there, but you don't have to make up things just to make United look worse than it actually is.

  83. Auspointer

    Hey Lucky - under the last section titled Bottom Line, I think you were able rather than table ;-)

  84. Charles

    What is your united status strategy?

  85. Barry Brann

    I agree that UA should bring back the Polaris comforter. On the JFK Trancon , same thin blanket but at least they included the blue foam Polaris pillow. That would have enhanced your HNL flight.
    Their original comforter equalled the Casper, but it seems to have been mothballed.

  86. David

    For the love of God. Please stop showing that sandwich!

    Earlier this week I flew Polaris on a 787-10 from Europe to IAD. My meal looked about the same as yours except I had a beef dish. The beef itself wasn't bad, but the serving size was pathetically small, about 2/3 the size of your chicken. I'm not looking for a steakhouse quality meal, but if I'm going to pay for a business class...

    For the love of God. Please stop showing that sandwich!

    Earlier this week I flew Polaris on a 787-10 from Europe to IAD. My meal looked about the same as yours except I had a beef dish. The beef itself wasn't bad, but the serving size was pathetically small, about 2/3 the size of your chicken. I'm not looking for a steakhouse quality meal, but if I'm going to pay for a business class ticket, would it hurt to offer decent size portions? Gone are the days of snack carts sitting out for later if you get hungry. Now they come around with a basket of non-nutritious crap. Remember the tomato soup and grilled cheese for a snack?

    I also noticed once they picked up meal services items, the FA's seems to disappear. Given how empty Y has been on my international flights and the lack of service in J, I'm really questioning the wisdom of booking business class. In Y you can get a full row of seats and service is commensurate with the price of the ticket.

  87. TimR

    @Ryan, yes the only cost involved with a flight is the food....

  88. Ryan

    I think the effective cost of the meal that United serves is around 1 - 2$. Imagine paying almost 1000$ and get this kind of food. The only real winner is United because you paid that amount.

  89. D3kingg

    I’m just happy flight reviews are back. I can sense a return to OMAAT normalcy.

  90. Minus

    How are both your photos going in opposite directions over the Chicago skyline approach photos? One is going towards ORD and the other is going away from it.

  91. David

    When you arrive at your seat, where do you put the pillow and blanket so you can sit down?

  92. Joel

    I had a similar experience on HNL-ORD in January. My chicken was pretty dry and bread was hard. Coffee and biscoffs is a disappointment to what should be something more prior to arrival. I also thought the bedding was pretty bleh for a Hawaii flight.

    Meanwhile on Monday I flew Delta One on HNL-MSP on a 333. They did a full Delta One service and had the HNL SkyClub stocked and filled with excellent...

    I had a similar experience on HNL-ORD in January. My chicken was pretty dry and bread was hard. Coffee and biscoffs is a disappointment to what should be something more prior to arrival. I also thought the bedding was pretty bleh for a Hawaii flight.

    Meanwhile on Monday I flew Delta One on HNL-MSP on a 333. They did a full Delta One service and had the HNL SkyClub stocked and filled with excellent staff. Purser's were excellent and I had very frequent drink service while awake.

    For catering I did the tenderloin and it wasn't overcooked nor dry. Vegetables were perfectly cooked and the bread was soft and warm. For breakfast they only had oatmeal with fruit, fruit bowl, and croissant, which I thought was fine. I also slept significantly better with the heavenly bed duvet and pillows versus United. I actually felt well rested when I work up.

    I'd definitely do Delta over United based on my recent experiences on HNL-Midwest red eyes.

  93. Brad B

    How the hell are Polaris seats no longer cutting edge? Like is a door really necessary on every business class seat,I prefer to not have them as they make it feel like I am sleeping in a coffin. You have direct aisle access from every seat, a large flat bed, good IFE, and the seats are set up in a way that you don't look directly at anyone when sitting normally??

    Also, how are you...

    How the hell are Polaris seats no longer cutting edge? Like is a door really necessary on every business class seat,I prefer to not have them as they make it feel like I am sleeping in a coffin. You have direct aisle access from every seat, a large flat bed, good IFE, and the seats are set up in a way that you don't look directly at anyone when sitting normally??

    Also, how are you not glad you just got Polaris seats on this flight, if it weren't for the PW4000 groundings this flight would have been on an HD-777 with 2-4-2 seating, this is a bonus upgrade you got.

  94. Richard

    Thanks for the review and oh boye! Food looks disgusting. I hope that mess was caused by thee caterer in Hawaii. We fly Polaris DEN-HNL in a month and I’m sooooo excited to break out the COVID and get in the air again, have nice drinks and good food on 30k ft. After reading through your article my hopes somehow fall apart…

  95. DWT

    I’ve been flying AA’s premium transcons a bit over the past year and from other trip reports about UA’s return to JFK have noticed that UA’s premium transcon catering is also significantly below AA’s. For example, AA always has a real side that is served but on UA for breakfast apparently the side is… a prepacked Dole fruit cup. You know, what you might expect to get in economy on the breakfast tray on a transatlantic redeye.

  96. RobASFO

    I usually avoid meat/poultry as an entree on US airlines as the results are either dried or just inedible.
    Pasta is usually a safe choice.
    At least they served Biscoff cookies :-)

  97. dalo

    Pretty sure I saw the meal shown in the first two pictures before. It came in a box that said 'Hungry Guy' or something like that.

  98. Abidjan

    Disgusting meal, service. Lame UA. AA all the way.

  99. Greg

    Also enjoy the vaporware meal on Delta from HNL-MSP - nothing

  100. KK13

    Yikes, that food looks disgusting! Feel sorry for you, Ben.
    Honestly, I thought that was a piece of fish or something... chicken? No way!

    I don't understand why most first class food offered by the US-based airlines (domestic) are so pathetic... and simply put, unhygienic.

    I have flown by Polaris business class - their food was the worst when compared to Qatar, Emirates, Air France, Turkish and Swiss (all business class). The only...

    Yikes, that food looks disgusting! Feel sorry for you, Ben.
    Honestly, I thought that was a piece of fish or something... chicken? No way!

    I don't understand why most first class food offered by the US-based airlines (domestic) are so pathetic... and simply put, unhygienic.

    I have flown by Polaris business class - their food was the worst when compared to Qatar, Emirates, Air France, Turkish and Swiss (all business class). The only airlines that UA could beat was Lufthansa.

  101. Greg

    With UNITED rising become a 1K and enjoy the boarding privileges

    The chicken dish is disgusting - work harder UNITED with your out station catering spec

  102. Willem

    You assigned yourself Seat 11AM... perhaps that’s when your coffee wore off?

    (Appreciate the review, as always!)

    1. Ben

      @ Willem -- Good catch, thanks! Fixed.

Featured Comments Load all 111 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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JohnB

I don't why anyone is expecting what airlines offered in the past. All airlines have less crew than they did 2 years ago. The catering companies are in even worse shape. Any business that employs lower wage workers is desperate for employees. The chicken was not great, but probably very edible. A little pepper adds a lot of flavor. But why are you expecting gourmet food on an airline?

Benedict

Why are you being so rude? It's really uncalled for.

Jon G.

Hi again. Need to correct my names in my post! Needed to say I love Ben, and OMAAT, and this airline-loving community Ben has birthed. Sorry about the name miscue. No excuse.

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