Scoop: Good News for Ice Cream Lovers Flying United Polaris

Sep 4, 2017

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There’s literally more transparency at United this week — in the form of clear ice cream sundae bowls. Yup, another post about #sundaegate… what gave it away?

Back in April, we reported that United had made the arguably unpopular decision to suspend its signature ice cream sundae service on all flights, including international long-hauls in Polaris first and business class. Fragile glass bowls were apparently to blame, but for one reason or another, it took the airline more than two months to develop and roll out a temporary solution that would let flight attendants resume sundae service once again: paper bowls.

The paper bowls were similar to what you’d find at a takeout frozen yogurt chain, and while they were hardly elegant, they got the job done. In the meantime, the airline’s food services team has been working on a permanent solution, and while it’s not quite ready to roll that out, there is an improved (and still temporary) fix:

I noticed the plastic bowls on my flight from Hamburg, Germany to Newark yesterday, and the crew members on board confirmed that it was the first time they had seen them in action. Again, this is hardly a big deal when it comes to the overall in-flight experience, but the transparent plastic bowls definitely represent a step up.

In fact, I don’t think I’d mind if they were implemented permanently, and there’s no denying that they’re considerably lighter than the glass version United was using before, which, considering the number of flights the airline uses these on every day, translates to fuel savings, reduced emissions, etc.

So, kudos to United for this quiet update — I wouldn’t mind one bit if these were here to stay. My vote is to keep the plastic bowls, and funnel that savings into maintaining the old domestic first-class meals, rather than broadly rolling out the most recent cutbacks, currently affecting “select flights” within the US and Canada.

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