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Transport : Airlines

The first planes offering the new United’s new Business Class, including the new Polaris seat, will be the 777-300. San Francisco to Hong Kong was the first route to launch on March 25, 2017, with the 777-300 replacing 747 aircraft.

What Is So Great About United’s New Polaris Business Class?

It’s a step up from the current United BusinessFirst product, offering:

Direct access to the aisle from every seat
Privacy dividers.
Mattress pads and customized pillow selections from Saks Fifth Avenue (on a first come, first serve basis).
Upgraded meal concepts (see menu below and in scroller above).
3 course wine flights on night flights.
A bloody mary cart on daytime flights.
Special airport lounge featuring daybeds and table service..

In fact you can read about United’s New Polaris Business Class on the 777-300ER. My trip in United Polaris Business Class On 787-9 Dreamliner & 777-200 enabled me to experience everything except the seat. I have reviewed the new Polaris seats separately.

When will Polaris seats be available?

The first planes with the new Polaris seat are the 777-300. The first one launched last week on the San Francisco to Hong Kong route.

Dates When United Polaris 777-300 Planes Will Go Into Service:

March 25: San Francisco to Hong Kong.
May 5: Newark to Tel Aviv (flight 90 / 91).
More 777-300s will arrive during 2017.
United will also run domestic test runs from San Francisco to Newark from February 16 to May 4 (6 days a week – mornings from Newark to San Francisco, and afternoons from San Francisco to Newark).

Polaris Launch Dates For United’s Other International Aircraft

777-200: These are are the biggest part of the international fleet and will start conversion in late 2017. Seats will be in a 1-2-1 layout and will start flying in early 2018.
767-300: 3 cabin aircraft should get Polaris conversions starting April 2017 with 30 Business Class seats in a unique 1-1-1 setup. There are no plans we know of for the remaining aircraft that are currently in a standard 2 cabin layout.
787: The 787-8/9 aircraft will be retrofitted as they go through maintenance checks, starting 2018. The brand new 787-10, which will soon arrive will have Polaris. They will have a 1-2-1 layout, though the seats will be longer than those on the 777s.
757: Don’t expect Polaris style seats on this plane. American and Delta don’t have direct aisle access seating on their comparable 757s. Many will be retired from 2018.
747: These will be retired in late 2017 with no Polaris seat reconfiguration
A350: These brand new planes will have Polaris seating.

The 777-300 is the plane which you can soon be sure to get a Polaris seat as well as service, and this will probably run from New York to Asia and India and San Francisco to Asia.

United Polaris Lounge Locations & When They Will Open

There is now a full featured Polaris lounge ready for passengers at Chicago O’Hare in the C Concourse, next to the existing United Club.

Other Polaris lounges are coming to the Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington-Dulles, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo airports.

San Francisco Lounge: mid-2017 partial opening possible, followed by a full opening in late 2017. The Polaris lounge will take over the existing United Club space in the international terminal, plus add a lower level where the Singapore KrisFlyer lounge is currently located.
Los Angeles: late 2017 expected opening in the former International First Class lounge space.
Newark: mid-2017 Phase 1 opening, 2018 Phase 2 opening. The Polaris lounge will eventually take over the current large United Club near the terminal C security checkpoint. A new United Club will open in the C concourse later.
Houston: This lounge will happen most likely in 2018 on the upper level of the current United Club in terminal E.
The remaining clubs in London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo should be ready by the end of 2018.

What Amenities, Food & Beverage Will The Lounges Have?

A buffet with light cold and warm food options.
Table service with food and drink, the menu will be designed by a local chef.
Premium wines like The Prisoner and Daou Cabernet Sauvignon and Veuve Champagne.
Premium spirits.
Sleeping areas.
Showers with clothes pressing while you shower.
A washer / dryer for quick laundry.

How To Access United Polaris Lounges

Not everyone will be able to get into the new United Polaris lounges. Only same day Polaris passengers, and passengers in Business or First Class on long haul international Star Alliance flights can access the lounges.

Star Alliance Gold members, and even Global Services members traveling in Economy Class won’t get in.

Domestic Business or First Class, including P.S. flights, and flights to Hawaii will also be denied access.

Shorter ‘United Business’ non-Polaris international flights in Business Class won’t get Polaris lounge access.

Will P.S. Flights Offer Polaris?

These will not be marketed as Polaris flights, so you won’t get Polaris lounge access while flying Business Class on a domestic P.S. flight.

How Many Miles Will I Need To Spend To Fly In Polaris Business Class

United awards in Polaris class are (for now) still the same price as regular Business Class awards, so you should be able to fly Polaris for just 70,000 miles one way from the U.S. to Hong Kong making them a great use of United miles, or Chase Ultimate Rewards points that transfer to United miles. BUT when I looked there was no low-level availability so the only option was to book at the standard rate of 175,000 miles.

What Does United Polaris Cost

As I outlined above, the cost in miles is currently just 70,000 United MileagePlus miles. If you are paying cash, expect to spend at least $5,120 for the round-trip flight from SFO to HKG. Currently you can experience the full United Polaris experience on the San Francisco to Hong Kong route. I could find flights on this route seem for $3337 one way (be sure to pick non-stop on the (UA 869) Boeing 777-300ER).

Which Routes Give You Free Polaris Pajamas?

United is offering every Polaris passenger pajamas on routes where the flight time averages 12 hours over the course of a year. Here are the routes that will get free pajamas:

San Francisco to/from…

Seoul
Shanghai
Beijing
Hangzhou
Xi’an
Taipei
Auckland
Hong Kong
Chengdu
Sydney
Tel Aviv
Singapore
Newark to/from

Tokyo
Beijing
Delhi
Mumbai
Hong Kong
Shanghai
Chicago to/from

Tokyo
Beijing
Shanghai
Hong Kong
Los Angeles to/from

Shanghai
Sydney
Melbourne
Washington-Dulles to/from

Tokyo
Beijing
Houston to/from

Routes that won’t get pajamas because they don’t cross the threshold include Newark to Tel Aviv or Sao Paolo, Denver to Tokyo, Los Angeles to Tokyo, and San Francisco to Tokyo.

What Wine Will Be Served In United Polaris?

6 kinds of wine will be offered on each flight – 3 white and 3 red. Within each group of 3, there will 2 be to traditional ‘favourite’ varieties like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, and one ’emerging’ variety. You can see a photograph of the wine menu from March 2017 on the scroller above which also showcases the food offerings.

What Kind Of Food Will Be Served In United Polaris?

Food will start with a small appetizer such as Thai lemongrass shrimp or a salad. This will be followed by a choice of 4 to 5 main courses or Entrees like braised short rib, seared turbot, Asian fusion chicken, grilled chicken salad and a vegetarian dish like mushroom & onion ravioli. Dessert will be a choice of cheese, ice cream sundae, or pastries. You’ll also get a truffle with champagne before taking off. I have taken photos of these in the scroller above from my most recent Polaris flight on the 777.

Mid flight snacks will offer the usual cold snacks and fruits on shorter flights, and on longer 10 hour+ flights one or two hot options will be offered like lobster mac.

United Polaris Business is comparable to Delta One and American Airlines Super Diamond Business Class, which both launched several years ago. I discuss which American Airline Business Suite is best separately.

You can also read my American Airlines Business Class review and my top 10 Best Business Class airlines for long haul travel.

This review was written by our friends at MileCards.com.

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