In this article, we compare American Airlines Super Diamond Business Class with United Polaris and discuss which is best. If your ticket price is comparable, does American Airlines or United offer the best new Business Class seat and experience?
United and American Airlines have recently launched new Business Class suites or seats named United Polaris or American Super Diamond. These improved business class offerings include upgraded business class soft and hard products with improved seats, food, and service. I have already reviewed all 3 airlines in my article comparing United vs. Delta vs. American Airlines.
In this article, I only compare American and United and include reviews of the experiences I have had on these two airlines. You can read all my current reviews of United and American flights here:
United Airlines Long Haul Business Class Flight Reviews
I have flown with United Airlines a number of times and have reviewed their long-haul Business Class and First Class flights. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
American Airlines Long Haul Business Class Flight Reviews
I have flown with American Airlines a number of times and have reviewed their long-haul Business Class and First Class flights. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
United Airlines has launched its swish and rounded United Polaris Business Class Pods which are laid out in a staggered arrangement in the cabin. The walled compartments are not massively high but are stylish. They do have a couple of disadvantages. There is very little storage in and around these seats, and the seat feels pretty narrow. Choose a window seat, and you will get plenty of privacy, but the aisle seats are more open, and you may feel vulnerable to passing traffic. Regardless, this is a snazzy cabin environment (more “trendy” than American) and is, in many ways, an upgrade from the existing BusinessFirst product.
American Airlines new Super Diamond Business Class seats incorporate a slightly less ground-breaking design of outward-facing herringbone seats with the BE Aerospace Super Diamond seats, but again, these are a huge improvement on most of their older Business Class seats. Having said that, the best seat AA offers can be found on its Boeing 777-300 (77W) in Business Class and Airbus 321 (321T) in First. These “older” seats are spacious and super comfy for sleeping. Why are they better? Not only are they comfy with loads of space, but the Super Diamond seats have a major disadvantage; they have a fixed screen, so it’s very difficult to watch a movie while you’re fully reclined.
Are United or American Airlines Seats More Widely Available?
In terms of fleetwide consistency, United and American Airlines have just begun to roll out these new seats.
You can already experience the new Polaris seats on certain routes. I have detailed the launch dates of the new Polaris Business Class seats separately. The United Polaris Business Class Pod cabins will eventually be available on aircraft, including the Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, and Airbus A350-1000. Of course, Polaris includes a lounge product, too, which means that you are also much more likely to experience at least some of the Polaris experience. Whether the plane you are traveling on has the new seats or not, on United, you will experience the new Polaris soft product with their excellent bedding and new food and drink offerings.
The Super Diamond seat will be installed on the new American Airlines 787-9 and A350 planes. From this year through 2018, the airline should receive an additional 27 aircraft. Additionally, American will receive around 22 Airbus A350s in 2017. 777-200 retrofits will also be ongoing, although it is not clear exactly when the new seats will be fitted. American also offers excellent seats on their Boeing 777-300 (77W) in business class and Airbus 321 (321T) in first. The seats are comfy lie flat, forward-facing with decent storage, and a large in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen. These seats, in my opinion, are as good as the new Super Diamond.
United’s Polaris seats seem to be rolled out most quickly and comprehensively, so they seem a better choice for the full new Business Class experience, but American has good Super Diamond and reverse Herringbone cabin designs (their angled are not so good). So you have two excellent seating designs on American.
Are United, Delta or American Airlines Airport Lounges Best?
For the pre-flight airport experience, I vote for the magnificent new United Polaris lounges which IMHO are better than American Airlines lounges overall. United’s first Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 1 is already open. It offers specialty cocktails, comfortable seating areas, slick showers, relaxation areas, excellent food, fast Wi-Fi, and a stylish ambiance. The first United Polaris lounge is expected to open at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) by the end of 2017. Lounges in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, and London Heathrow airports will follow in 2017.
American Airlines is also improving its lounges. The American Airlines Flagship Lounge at JFK will also get an overhaul, with the airline introducing brand-new lounges in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia. These lounges will be accessible by all long-haul international and transcon domestic First and Business-Class passengers. The airline will also update its Admirals Clubs. But I prefer the look and slick finish of the United Polaris lounges.
Is United or American Airlines Food & Drink Best?
United offers Business Class food from Chicago chef Bill Kim and wines selected by United’s Master Sommelier, Doug Frost. An example of a meal from one of my recent flights included a lemongrass shrimp with fresh greens, a choice from 4 mains; roasted chicken thigh served with a red bean curd sauce & rice, bell pepper, bok choy, mushroom, and water chestnut. There was also a beef and fish option. United’s main course portions are larger and more filling than typical business class mains. Afterward, a cheese plate was offered, followed by a run of the signature dessert card, which includes custom-made ice cream sundaes and a choice of three small sweets, including a salted caramel chocolate bar and mini tiramisu.
American Airlines offers less refined Business Class food and is not my first choice. On my last flight with American, dinner was served on a single tray. The starter consisted of Thai chicken with grilled five-spice pineapple, watermelon, and Asian mint dressing. It was served with a house salad with artichokes, roasted tomatoes, and feta cheese, with a choice of creamy Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette. As an entrée, I choose the seared halibut with gremolata, with sautéed tomato fennel, lemon risotto, and broccoli. For dessert, I ordered the Black Forest mousse cake.
Are United or American Airlines Pajamas Best?
United Airlines offer 100% cotton pajamas upon request (or Pyjamas as we say in the UK) on flights longer than 12 hours. There are not enough pajamas for every Business Class customer so be sure to request a set. Note that two sizes are available: small/medium and large/extra large. And what are they like? They are grey with a royal blue waist tie and buttoned neck. They have the United logo on the chest. They are soft and comfortable but also thin and light which makes them easy to transport and they will not be too warm on the flight. If like me, you get cold when you are tired, you might need to wear a jumper over them.
American Airlines pajamas are again grey and blue (grey top, blue bottoms- at least the ones I was given were), usually with a V-neck. The Pajama choice is not a deal-breaker when choosing between these airlines.
Are United, Delta or American Airlines Amenity Kits Best?
United give you an eye mask, earplugs, Do Not Disturb sticker, tissues, Polaris-themed disposable socks, Cowshed hand cream, lip balm, pillow mist, a toothbrush, paste, floss stick, breath mints, comb, hand sanitizer, and pen. United’s new amenity kits aren’t very exciting- although I personally like the smell of Cowshed products.
American has also revamped its amenity kits. They offer different kits depending on whether you’re flying a transcon, business class, or first class, and with each kit, they partner with a different skincare provider. Their kits have discount codes for buying the skincare products from Cole Haan and the skincare partners, but as you never know what you are getting, these are my least favorite amenity kids.
Find out which airlines I think offer the best Business Class amenity kits in the skies.
Are United, Delta, or American Airlines Pillows Duvets & Bedding Best?
United offers Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, with a lovely blanket and comfy bedding. In fact, the bedding is so good that some customers have been walking off the plane with keepsake Saks blankets! United win!
Are United, Delta or American Airlines Best For Personal Space?
American’s seats feel less claustrophobic, more spacious, and offer more storage, so, in this category, American is best.
Which Is Best?
So to answer my original question, United Polaris vs. American Airlines Suer Diamond: Which Is The Best Business Class? My vote is for United for great lounges, stylish cabins, bedding, and quick rollout.
American Airlines seats are, however, super comfortable and less claustrophobic, but their new Super Diamond seats have a major disadvantage; they have a fixed screen, so it’s very difficult to watch a movie while you’re fully reclined. If you travel American, you should also consider their Boeing 777-300 (77W) in business class and Airbus 321 (321T) in First. The seats are lie-flat, forward-facing with decent storage, and a large in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen. These seats, in my opinion, are as good as the new Super Diamond.
You can also read my Delta vs. American, which has the best Premium Economy my top 10 Best Business Class airlines for long-haul travel and the best airlines to travel to Europe in Business Class.
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