Wayfarer review: United Airlines’ latest long-haul Polaris Business Class wine menu is a global standout

by James Wilkinson

Since United Airlines first launched its Polaris Business Class, the carrier has consistently been taking its onboard offering to another level, thanks to elevated amenity kits, food and most recently, wine.

In recent months, United’s onboard wine menus on long-haul flights have been noticeably getting better, however the latest release is one of the best we’ve ever seen from the Star Alliance carrier.

Onboard UA 870 from Sydney to San Francisco this week (5 Sep), United was serving Champagne Heidsieck Monopole NV, the 2019 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville in the Napa Valley, the 2021 Albert Bichot Hautes Cotes de Nuits Rouge from Bourgogne in France, the 2021 Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey, California, the 2022 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc from California’s North Coast and the globally popular Whispering Angel Rose from Cotes de Provence.

United has also introduced a new ‘Cellar Selection’ red, which the carrier says are a “variety of unique, yet approachable wines from around the world” and the menu varies from flight to flight.

On UA 870 this week, the special offering was a 2020 Emilio Moro Tempranillo from Spain and a drop that was popular with Polaris passengers onboard.

Featuring a special reserve wine is a good way to mix-up the offering and it also gives United the chance to put on wines from the markets the carrier serves, be it Greece, Spain, Australia or New Zealand.

However, where the latest wine list jumps out is the addition of a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to the list. But not just any Cabernet Sauvignon, because Goth currently produce one of the leading wines from Oakville and it’s a wine that retails at US$75 per bottle.

It’s a significant jump from the previous menu, which featured the 2019 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles (US$36) and while that’s a very decent wine for the price, Oakville is a significant jump on Paso in terms of quality.

As someone who flies United Airlines over 50 times per year, it’s fantastic to see the carrier focusing on serving more California wines onboard – we’d love to see United flights having only American wines alongside Champagne – and also significantly raising the bar when it comes to serving quality drops.

The Business Class experience is becoming more premium than ever across the globe and it’s fantastic to see United Airlines continuing to raise the bar and serving some of America’s best wines inflight.

The author was a fully-paying customer and reviewed the flight anonymously.