Frequently asked questions
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United Polaris Overview
What is United Polaris℠?
United Polaris is a reinvention of our international premium cabin travel experience, offering elevated comfort and service from lounge to landing for a restful night's sleep in the air. Our focus as we developed the United Polaris experience was on providing our international travelers with what they've asked for: better sleep in the sky. Features include exclusive United Polaris lounges with new rest spaces and high-end pre-flight dining options; a custom-designed personal onboard suite with added privacy, comfort and convenience; sleep-focused amenities like custom Saks Fifth Avenue luxury bedding and spa-quality Cowshed products from Soho House & Co; and reimagined dining options created in partnership with chefs from The Trotter Project.
When did United Polaris service begin?
On December 1, 2016, United Polaris business class service replaced United BusinessFirst® service and United Polaris first class service replaced United Global First℠ on all international flights and all international aircraft. The new United Polaris seat is now flying on select aircraft and will be added to our existing fleet over the course of the next few years. In the meantime, travelers can enjoy all other aspects of the United Polaris inflight service, from enhanced dining to restful sleep, on any long-haul international flight across our global network.
Where did the United Polaris name come from?
Polaris is the North Star, the point in the nighttime sky that travelers have long used as their guide. We chose the name United Polaris to represent the reimagined travel experience that flyers can rely on for true comfort and real sleep as they travel the world.
Why did United decide to switch to United Polaris?
We set out with the goal of transforming our international business class experience to provide our customers with truly best-in-class service. Based on customer feedback, we tailored that experience to focus on comfort and sleep to put the legacy of the weary business traveler to rest.
How different is United Polaris travel?
The United Polaris experience brings a new level of quality to every aspect of premium cabin travel, from lounge to landing, with a special focus on providing a great night's sleep in flight. We've spent years gathering feedback from our customers, incorporating it into everything from seat design to dining options, and fine-tuning each element of our service to ensure that we're providing an experience that not only meets your needs, but goes above and beyond. United Polaris service offers true comfort and real sleep.
What kind of research went into developing the new international business class?
Hundreds of customers and employees were involved in more than 12,000 hours of research leading to the development of the United Polaris experience. Through many focus groups and hours of on-the-ground and inflight product simulations, including overnight sleep tests for the new United Polaris seats, we tested a wide variety of product and service offerings and received feedback on what worked and what didn't. Only the best features went on to become part of the United Polaris experience.
United Polaris inflight experience
How does United Polaris service provide better sleep in flight?
We've paid close attention to the details that matter when it comes to getting a good night's sleep.
Our new United Polaris cabins feature forward-facing, direct-aisle-access seats that recline flat, providing sleeping spaces that are up to 6 feet 6 inches (198.12 cm) long and up to 23 inches (58.42 cm) wide. In locations where two seats are next to each other, there's a powered privacy divider so you can easily tuck yourself away and forget that there are other travelers nearby. We've even included an illuminated “do not disturb” sign that lets you signal to your flight attendants that you'd prefer not to be awakened.
In a first-of-its-kind partnership, United has worked with luxury goods department store Saks Fifth Avenue to create custom bedding designed to provide the best sleep in the sky. Because temperature is crucial to sleeping soundly, we give you the choice of two different blankets — a quilted duvet and a lighter throw blanket — for the perfect amount of warmth. Mattress cushions are also available upon request. And if you tend to warm up when you sleep, ask for a cooling gel memory foam pillow instead of (or in addition to) the Saks Fifth Avenue pillows you'll find at your seat.
We provide several dining options so you can choose the right time and pace for your meal. We're proud to offer our chef-redesigned, multi-course inflight dining experience, with each element presented in its proper order once the flight reaches altitude. If you're eager to get as many hours of rest as possible, you can choose to enjoy a seated meal in the United Polaris lounge before your flight so you can go right to sleep in the air. Or if you'd prefer to eat in flight but don't want to wait for each course, you can opt for our Express Dining service and receive a single tray with your full meal all at once, at the time of your choosing. For those midflight cravings, we offer self-serve snacks and beverages that you can grab at your convenience.
When curating our selection of United Polaris amenities, we put a strong emphasis on sleep. Cozy slippers are perfect for quick trips out of your seat or just standing and stretching. In your amenity kit, we provide premium sleep mist and skincare items from Soho House's Cowshed Spa to keep you relaxed and refreshed. And ear plugs and an ergonomic eye mask ensure that you can block out any ambient distractions while you doze. On flights longer than 12 hours, we also offer 100% cotton pajamas upon request.
Which United Polaris service items and amenities are mine to keep?
When you land at your destination, you are welcome to take your slippers, amenity kit and pajamas (if applicable) with you.
Did United Polaris service replace United BusinessFirst and United Global First?
United Polaris business class replaced United BusinessFirst on international flights, and United Polaris first class replaced United Global First service. Both of these changes come with significant enhancements to the service and products provided in our previous international premium cabin experience.
How do I know if I'm flying United BusinessFirst, United Global First or United Polaris?
If you're flying in a premium cabin on December 1, 2016, or later, you'll experience our new United Polaris business class or United Polaris first class service.
What happens if I booked United BusinessFirst or United Global First but am flying after December 1, 2016?
There's no need to worry or make any changes to your ticket. Your reservation will automatically change to United Polaris business class or United Polaris first class service.
Were there changes to United Global First?
In December 2016, when United Global First became United Polaris first class, we launched new enhancements to amenities, dining and service that improve the overall travel experience. In addition to receiving the higher-quality United Polaris amenities, United Polaris first class still has even more elevated amenities and the specialized attention you've come to expect from our international first class service.
Will United Polaris first class eventually be phased out?
As we update our fleet over the next few years to incorporate our signature United Polaris direct-aisle-access seating, we'll be phasing out the first class cabin and moving toward a two-cabin experience for international travel. But keep in mind that the new United Polaris business class seat is comparable in space and privacy to our current international first class seats and offers expanded storage for your personal items, plus other unique new features.
How does the switch to United Polaris affect United p.s.® Premium Service transcontinental flights?
At first, our p.s. premium cabin service will not change significantly. As of December 1, 2016, BusinessFirst service on p.s. transcontinental routes became United Business®, and now features our custom Saks Fifth Avenue pillow and duvet. Previous p.s. features did not change other than the new bedding.
United Polaris Lounge
What new features will the United Polaris lounges have?
Our brand-new United Polaris lounges will be available exclusively to our international premium cabin travelers, offering a thoughtful selection of amenities to prepare you for your flight. The United Polaris lounges will feature our pre-flight dining option, which includes a menu developed by award-winning chef Art Smith, an extensive buffet with hot and cold selections and table service. Pair your meal with your beverage of choice, with options including specially curated wines, premium spirits, craft brews and handcrafted cocktails designed by mixologist Adam Seger. If you'd like to freshen up, our spa-like shower facilities feature premium Cowshed products from Soho House & Co. You can also sit back and relax in a tucked-away area with daybeds, soft lighting and gentle white noise, which will put you in the right mindset for a restful flight.
Where will the United Polaris lounges be located and when will they open?
The first United Polaris lounge is now open at Chicago O'Hare, near Gate C18. Eight additional lounges will open at Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles International, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Washington Dulles, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Tokyo Narita. Opening dates for these lounge locations will follow over the course of the next few years.
Who can use the United Polaris lounge?
Only customers traveling in United Polaris business class or United Polaris first class on long-haul international flights, as well as customers traveling in international first or business class cabins on Star Alliance™ partner airlines, will have access to the United Polaris lounge.
United Polaris seats and aircraft
How different are the new United Polaris business class seats from United's international first class (United Global First) seats?
We custom-designed the new seat specifically for relaxation and restful sleep, working with ergonomics experts and running two rounds of sleep tests to ensure that it provides our most comfortable inflight experience yet. The United Polaris seat is as spacious as our existing United Global First seat, with up to 23 inches of width and up to 6 feet 6 inches of length when reclined fully flat. The shoulder space is even greater when the seat is upright, at nearly 32 inches across. The new seats also offer increased privacy and more useful storage space for personal items.
When will the first aircraft be available with the new United Polaris seats?
We took delivery of our first Boeing 777-300ER featuring the new United Polaris seats and cabin design in February 2017, and the aircraft is now flying between San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Back to the United Polaris experience
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