United Rolls Back Latest Round of First-Class Service Cuts

May 18, 2018

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Oh United… when can we get off the rollercoaster?

In February, we learned of cuts to United’s flagship Polaris service, including the elimination of Bloody Mary carts and those fancy “wine arcs” — two components that the airline touted often during the early days of Polaris service, which began in December 2016. That only affects long-haul international service, but premium-cabin trips within the US have seen significant cuts of their own.

Those regional adjustments continued this month, with a further reduction of domestic meal service. Drinks were cut as well — tomato juice has since returned, but Canadian Club, Jim Beam, Courvoisier and Crown Royal all got the boot, with Buffalo Trace Bourbon coming on as a new liquor addition.

While those other drink changes remain, it seems that the previously offered meal service will return. A United spokesperson confirmed the rollback:

“We want our customers to know that we value and appreciate them and that we’re listening. Our customers told us that they were not happy about the menu modifications so we made the decision to reverse the changes and return our meal service to our previous offerings.”

That isn’t reflected on the United website, though, which, as of today, shows the reduced offerings:

Still, I received the older, expanded offering on my flight from Chicago (ORD) to New York (LGA) this week:

United has traditionally offered full meals on Chicago-New York flights, even though the blocked ~2-hour duration currently only calls for “Refreshments, which may include scones or muffins.” So while that may not be the best example, my buddy Matthew was offered the same egg white sandwich on his flight from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Newark (EWR) this week.

It’s clear that these cuts were intended to save the airline a considerable amount, but they could have ended up hurting United in the long run if competitors continued to offer a more robust in-flight product. Either way, it’s good to see that UA’s taking customer feedback seriously — let’s just hope similar changes don’t slip back into the mix in the future.

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