Mini-Review: United Polaris In-Flight Dining With The New Spring Menu

The new United Polaris soft product rolled out in December, and features improved dining and bedding options. The new United Polaris Lounge in Chicago opened at the same time, and added restaurant-style dining in mid-January. And the new all-aisle access seats have recently debuted, albeit on a very limited number of routes.

The new seats won’t be installed fleet-wide for years — and it seems that might even be optimistic — the in-flight Polaris experience is all about the bedding and the meal service. My family flew United Polaris in January and found the food to be a distinct improvement over the past, both with the selection and the quality.

Well, apparently United is planning on revising the menu on a quarterly basis. I recently had a chance to sample some of the new offerings which rolled out March 1st.

United Polaris Menu for US > Europe

Here’s the menu my family had on a flight from Washington Dulles to Brussels, which should be typical for Eastbound flights this season:

PolarisMenuSpring2017

As usual, we tried to order a different dish for each family member. We’ve learned from experience that this enables us to swap around in case someone ends up not liking something.

I had the seared short rib, which was not as tender as the braised short rib on my first Polaris flight, but was still good. The rice dominated the plate, and the carrots were a little plain, but if you are looking for a simple meal, this is a good way to go, and I had no complaints.

UnitedPolarisMarch2017meal4

My wife had the char siu duck, which she enjoyed very much. The swiss chard with pancetta and the sweet stewed apples were really nice complements to the moist and not-too-fatty meat.

UnitedPolarisMarch2017meal2

We ordered the quinoa salad for the little one, but he mostly just ate the chicken. While the salad itself was served cold, the sliced chicken breast was served warm on top.  The salad was a nice mix of textures and flavors — better than your typical United pile of greens.

It came with the mini bottles of balsamic vinaigrette on the side.

UnitedPolarisMarch2017meal1

We usually order the pasta dish for our daughter, so she got the risotto.

UnitedPolarisMarch2017meal3

That leaves the miso arapaima, which we had no takers for. So I can’t comment on it.

United Polaris menu for Europe > US

United Polaris flights from Europe to the United States also have a new menu for the spring. We didn’t fly Polaris on our return, so I don’t have first hand experience — or pictures — but here are the offerings courtesy of Live and Let’s Fly:

  • Roasted rack of lamb with mint demi-glace, Anna potatoes and green beans
  • Poached chicken breast with chicken broth, potatoes, broccolini, kale, peas and white asparagus
  • Roasted halibut with ratatouille, artichoke, pattypan squash and zucchini
  • Butternut squash ravioli with ginger-pumpkin sauce, butternut squash and mushrooms
  • Butter lettuce with cucumber, Kalamata olives, radishes and tomato, served with grilled chicken

Bottom line

I’m glad to see that United is planning to change up the menu for Polaris business and first on a regular basis. The dishes might not all be radically different, but a little variation can go along way for those that are flying these routes often. I had a chance to sample a few of the dishes this quarter and found them to be quite good.

But if I’m flying Chicago to Europe, I’d still rather eat in the lounge and sleep on the plane.

Have you flown United Polaris since the beginning of March? What are your thoughts on the new menu offerings?

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Comments

  1. @Luis : one thing we’ve learnt from all the photoshopping and instagramming is that filters work both ways. if someone were to have an agenda, all it takes is 30 seconds of editing to make a perfectly normal dish look worse than your neighborhood soup kitchen. I had friends with such poor photography skills they made Iceland look like Armageddon.

  2. One thing I’ve noticed is, why is it US carriers seem to have an aversion to offering a choice of appetizers? Not a huge deal, but variety even among appetizers would be appreciated. But hey, they do offer 5 choices of mains, so there is that.

  3. I had the short ribs. Boiled vegetables? Do they still really do that? Is my gramma in the kitchen?

    The salad was so bad I didn’t eat it. Strawberries, mango and blueberries–none of which were ripe enough to eat–and the lettuce had been frozen and defrosted and had reached the decomposing stage.

  4. Recently flew Polaris SYD – LAX. I rarely get fish on planes but I ordered the Hapuka. It was actually pretty fantastic. The sides with it were excellent as well. I was very impressed.

  5. Mmmmm, duck. That looks good.

    I do have to agree with Julia on the lack of choice for appetizers, though.

  6. Traveling Polaris First SFO-FRA next week and Polaris Business CDG-SFO the week after,
    I’ll let you know.

  7. Char Siu actually means barbecued pork in Cantonese so that dish translates to ‘barbecued pork duck’, which is kind of sounds funny. But I get what they are trying to do and frankly, the dish doesn’t look half bad at all. I’d order it 🙂

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