In last week’s post, the emphasis was on United’s Polaris class food offerings while waiting in the airport. This week, we switch to the in-flight eating experience on our flights between Newark, NJ and Dublin, Ireland.
For both flights, we had 2 meals – a welcome service that started within the 1st hour after take-off and an arrival service that was served approximately an hour prior to landing. The welcome service was the bigger service of the 2 meals and felt like it took close to 2 hours to complete. The arrival service was more like a quick meal, and felt very rushed.
EWR to DUB
For our 1st meal on our outbound flight, the options were – a beef short rib, a spicy chicken, seared fish, and a salad. Sonia and I had both picked the short rib, but as they had none left by the time they asked me my order, I settled for the fish. Running out of certain meals seems to be common with United’s Polaris class, so there is a good chance that they may not have your choice by the time you make your request.
Prior to the entree, we were given a starter that consisted of a chilled shrimp served with a mango slaw and a salad of cabbage, carrots and mango. Both were good and for me were the highlights of the meal. The shrimp had good flavor and were a decent size, while the salad added a nice freshness and crunch to the meal. The salad came with a sesame dressing that paired nicely with the sweetness of the chopped mango.
Once we were finished with our starters, the flight attendants switched out our plates and served our selected entrees. For us, there was nothing special about the entrees. While I had originally wanted the short rib, the fish ended up being a good alternate. Again, not much to say about the entrees as the freshness and the flavors found with the starters were lacking.
At the end of the welcome service is what I considered to be the best part of the welcome meal – the dessert service. More on that below.
DUB to EWR
For our return flight, our welcome meal was breakfast as we had an early flight back. Our options were a traditional breakfast, steak & eggs, or strawberry-stuffed pancakes. Again, Sonia and I picked the same option – steak & eggs, and no need for either of us to pick an alternative.
Similarly as with our previous welcome service, our meal started with a duo of cold plates. This time we got citrus fruits and a chilled oatmeal. For both flights, I was pleasantly surprised by the starters. I am not much of an oatmeal person as I find it mushy in general, but the chilled oatmeal had a nice consistency and sweetness. Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture to share of these starters as the flight attendants serving Sonia’s side missed serving her starters. She was probably a good 15-20 mins behind on the service as it took a significant amount of time for her to flag someone down for help.
Our entrees this meal were better than the previous flight, but again, nothing special to note about them.
As I noted above, the best part of the welcome service was the dessert offerings, which was my favorite part of the meal based on taste and options. After the entree, the flight attendants came down the aisles with a cart that included ice cream sundaes, fruit and cheese plates with a port wine, and mini desserts. With so many options, it’s hard to choose, but the best part is you are not limited to only one choice. My biggest advice here would be go with a sundae (number of toppings from which to choose), and be sure to ask about the mini desserts. If they have a mini fruit tart (apple or cherry usually), have one of those as well. The crusts and fruit flavors are amazing.
DUB to EWR
I am going to skip the arrival service on our EWR to DUB flight as it was basic breakfast fare with not too much commentary to add to it. As for our meal on the return flight, this was probably our favorite of all the entrees on our flights – a hamburger wellington.
While the hamburger wellington was simply a hamburger patty encased in a pastry dough, the patty itself was nicely seasoned while the pastry dough was a nice and flaky bread option. The meal came with a mozzarella and tomato salad as a side and a box of chocolates for dessert. Due to the timing of this meal, everything is served at the same time.
Overall, the meal service for Polaris class was decent, but the entrees were disappointing. They felt uninspired and looked unappealing, and when compared to the starters and the desserts, the entrees fell flat. For us, the highlights were in the beginnings and the ends of our meals, and I cannot say this enough, save room for dessert. If someone were to ask me what is something United does best, without hesitation, my response would be desserts.
Coming Next Week
Next week we will be posting highlights of some of our eats on our flights within Europe. I am still in awe of what constitutes on snack on the European airlines.