Above: The first part of the United Polaris product to roll out: a luxurious lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport
December 2, 2016 – This week sees United Airlines begin the roll-out of its all-new United Polaris business class offer, the airline’s most significant product transformation in more than a decade.
As United Airlines’ president and CEO, Oscar Munoz stated at the announcement of Polaris in June, the new business class product is “defiantly innovative”, “breaks the mold” and is a “reimagining” of its international business class. Full details are available in our exclusive article HERE.
The all-new Polaris business class seat (pictured below) will first take flight in 2017 on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and subsequently on Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, as well as on Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits. In the meantime, the first phase of Polaris is the launch of an improved inflight food and beverage offer, enhanced amenities and United Polaris lounges.
“In our quest to be the best airline in the world, we are rethinking and reimagining all we do. United Polaris offers an elevated customer experience and redefines the meaning of premier business travel,” said Munoz at the opening of the lounge.
Set up for sleep
United conducted more than 12,000 hours of research when developing the Polaris product and found that sleep is the most important priority for international business class travelers. Thus the Polaris seat is optimized for sleep, but ahead of its launch passengers can enjoy a range of new amenities that will also aid rest.
For example, United has worked with luxury store Saks Fifth Avenue for custom-designed bedding featuring plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets, a large and small pillow, and mattress cushions.
Slippers will be available on all flights, and Polaris pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours. Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow. New amenity kits will feature eye shades, a calming pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa.
Saks Fifth Avenue has also been involved in the service aspects, helping train all employees who help deliver the United Polaris experience. Flight attendant service procedures have been tailored for greater efficiency, including a shorter meal service so customers can have undisturbed sleep times.
Inflight service will also include made-to-order ice cream sundaes and a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options. On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.
United will open Polaris business class lounges in nine locations around the world that will feature custom-designed chairs, private daybeds, spa-like showers, bespoke art installations by artist Wolfgang Buttress, and chef-inspired hot meals served in a boutique restaurant setting so customers can refresh and dine before boarding.
The first United Polaris lounge opens at Chicago O’Hare International Airport near Gate C18 and lounges in eight other locations – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow – will follow.