Sundae-Gate Is Back… But It’s Not United’s Fault

by Sam Roecker

#SundaeGate 🍨

The ongoing CO2 shortage in the UK is affecting more than just the beer industry. What happens when a country doesn’t have ample dry ice (the solid form of CO2) to stock catering carts? Sundaes disappear from United Polaris…at least on flights departing from London Heathrow (LHR).

Dry ice is commonly used in airline catering to keep food chilled or frozen – looking at you, ice cream.  Slabs of dry ice are placed in galley carts to keep perishables chilled on longer flights. Without the ability to “freeze” the ice cream, United is instead turning to prepackaged desserts on Polaris flights departing London.

Nothing says premium like plastic…

United Sundae Shortage CO2 Polaris Sundae

United’s Temporary Sundae Replacement | Photo Courtesy of Kevin Schorr

I suppose “serve chilled” is a sad irony in United’s neverending #SundaeGate fiasco.

History Lesson on #SundaeGate

United introduced Star Wars-inspired space bowls glass “globes” for its signature sundaes with the launch of Polaris. The preportioned ice cream scoops were kept frozen in the glass bowls – chilled using dry ice – which ended up cracking.

United Airlines Polaris Sundae Bowl

United’s Glass Sundae Bowls | Photo: United Airlines

Glass shards served with ice cream is understandably not an ideal sundae topping – and a legitimate reason to discontinue use on flights. United turned to paper bowls for an interim solution while the carrier searched for a replacement.

Sure, procuring new bowls for thousands of flights cannot be easy or inexpensive, but surely there was a viable alternative? A year later, United reintroduced the bowls with the same design…made of plastic.

Just when you thought #SundaeGate finally began to melt away, dry ice came in to steal United’s show.

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