New United Polaris Menu Focuses on Fresh and Flavorful Ingredients - United Hub
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New United Polaris menu focuses on fresh and flavorful ingredients

By The Hub team, August 29, 2016

On December 1, we will begin serving an all-new menu for our United PolarisSM business class and United Polaris global first service featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and bold flavors from around the world. The dishes will rotate every three months, so customers will continue to have new flavors and dishes to experience on board.

"We have some amazing new menu items including Thai-style lemongrass shrimp on a bed of papaya mango salad, and smoked duck with cranberry pumpkin farro salad and whole grain mustard," said Jeff Pelch, senior manager of product strategy and implementation for United's Food Services team. "And those are just the appetizers."

This menu is the culmination of nearly a year of work between United executive chefs and chefs affiliated with The Trotter Project, a nonprofit organization, committed to mentoring and internship programs for youth interested in the culinary arts. The Trotter Project chefs bring their expertise in different global cuisines to make inflight dining a memorable experience for United customers.

"From a food perspective, this is one of the largest launches we've ever done," said Chef Gerry Gulli, United's menu development manager. "It's not just the launch of a new menu, but an entirely new experience. We've conducted 28 menu workshops in 16 cities on 5 continents to ensure that we are developing cuisine that showcases the flavors of the destinations we fly from."

When creating the new United Polaris menu, chefs and design teams focused on fresh, bold flavors and regional ingredients. It all started at a design workshop, where The Trotter Project chefs and United team members developed menu concepts. After the workshop, United Executive Chef Gerry McLoughlin and his team worked to translate the concepts into inflight dining selections based on what he knows will resonate onboard.

"We want to maintain the overall concept," Chef McLoughlin explained. "But we have to consider temperature variances, how the food will get plated, and how it will hold up in the operation. It's very different than serving at a restaurant on the ground. Our restaurant is traveling at 500 miles per hour at 35,000 feet above the ground."

Then the team had the opportunity to taste a lot of food. The chefs also used feedback from customers before making the menu decisions. The reimagined entrees that made the final cut include poached salmon with lentil chili and broccolini; braised short ribs with bordelaise and creamy polenta; lemongrass-infused chicken in a coconut ginger soup; and Shahi paneer with vegetable jalfrezi and basmati rice. The new seasonal salads feature ingredients like baby spinach, strawberries, red seedless grapes, oranges and pumpkin seeds.

"We placed a priority on bold flavors, since you lose about 30 percent of your sense of taste in the air," explained Chef McLoughlin, who has worked in prestigious kitchens at the Drake Hotel and the Palmer House in Chicago. "We decided to really push the envelope with our new menus."

Creating the best inflight dining experience for customers involves more than just picking the right ingredients and recipes. The chefs even worked with the new custom dinnerware, including plates, bowls and serving dishes, that will be used in flight during the meal service. This helped them decide on the right portion size for each dish and allowed them to make sure the presentation of the dishes on board resembles the presentation that would be used at a restaurant.

"Every element of every menu item was scrutinized," Chef McLoughlin explained. "And every detail of the service was examined. We set the bar high and I'm confident that we're going to deliver a memorable experience."

Customers will even have the option to enjoy a meal at a United Polaris lounge before their flight. Travelers can indulge in a full multi-course meal service or choose from a variety of small plates, in case they'd like to get right to sleep once on board.

Get a sneak peek of the full experience before United Polaris takes off on December 1, 2016.


United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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