June 6, 2016 – United Airlines has unveiled its new intercontinental business class product, United Polaris. Over the last three years, the airline has been working closely with PriestmanGoode on a complete overhaul of the passenger experience, including the redesign of domestic and international aircraft interiors, lounges, digital media, inflight food service items, menus and many other details. The cabin includes a new seat, based on an original, patented seat concept and layout invented by Acumen, for which United Airlines is the exclusive North American licensee. PriestmanGoode led the strategic development and the creative direction of the concept into a United Airlines product.
Manufactured by Zodiac Seats UK, each United Polaris seat faces forward and offers direct access to the aisle, 180° flat-bed recline and up to 6ft 6in of bed space. Seat features include integrated personal stowage with latching door, headphone hook and mirror, a Do Not Disturb sign, bespoke reading light, a cocktail table, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, a 16in HD IFE screen, and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers. The lighting and seat controls can be operated from any position.
PriestmanGoode’s other designs for the United Polaris cabin include bespoke galleys, monuments and bar areas; branded elements including literature boxes and boarding and cabin panels; tableware, table linen, menus, salt and pepper pots, glassware, hollow-ware and chocolate boxes; amenity kits; and cabin trim and finish.
United Airlines reports that more than 12,000 hours of research were conducted over the course of the United Polaris development, and sleep emerged as the most important priority for international business-class travelers. The design was informed by insights from hundreds of customers and employees, inflight product simulations and more than 100 product evaluations.
Several other amenities are included with sleep in mind. United Airlines worked with Saks Fifth Avenue for custom-designed bedding. The collection will feature duvets, day blankets and a large and small pillow for each passenger. Mattress cushions will be available upon request. Slippers will be available on all flights, and pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours. Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow.
The inflight menus, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project, are regionally influenced and will be updated seasonally. Inflight service will include made-to-order signature ice cream sundaes, a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options, chocolate truffles and wine. On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot snacks including lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.
United Airlines will begin to introduce United Polaris on December 1, 2016, with the new inflight food and beverage experience, custom bedding, amenity kits and a United Polaris lounge in Chicago. The United Polaris seat will first take flight in December 2016 on B777-300ER aircraft and subsequently on B787-10 and A350-1000 aircraft, as well as on B767-300 and B777-200 retrofits. United will open new United Polaris business-class lounges, also designed by PriestmanGoode, in nine locations around the world.
Images: PriestmanGoode/United Airlines