United has launched the first phase of its United Polaris business class rollout, which will culminate in a new fully-flat business class seat next year.
Phase 1 includes a revamped in-flight food and beverage offering, new custom-made bedding, and the opening of the first of nine United Polaris lounges, at Chicago O’Hare airport.
The new Saks Fifth Avenue bedding features “plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer”, as well as mattress cushions and gel-cooled pillows on request.
Polaris passengers will also be offered slippers on all flights, and customised pyjamas on flights over 12 hours. There are also new amenity kits by Soho House and Co’s Cowshed Spa.
United says that “thousands” of its old pillows and blankets will be donated to the Fisher House Foundation.
The new F&B offering sees customers welcomed with a pre-departure drink of their choice, and a “gourmet chocolate”. On morning flights passengers “can choose a sweet and bubbly Mimosa or create their own savory and spicy Tito’s Handmade Vodka Bloody Mary”, while on afternoon and evening services “passengers can create their own wine tasting menu, with a customizsed wine flight with the highest-quality options curated exclusively by United’s Master Sommelier”.
There will be seasonally updated, regionally influenced in-flight menus, designed in partnership with The Trotter Project, and customers will be offered made-to-order ice cream sundaes and a dessert cart with “a variety of petit dessert options”.
Staff delivering the United Polaris offering will undergo training at Saks Fifth Avenue, and new flight attendant service procedures have been implemented, including a shorter meal service “so customers can have undisturbed sleep times”.
The new in-flight Polaris service began at 0001 today (December 1) across all of the airline’s markets.
On the ground United has also opened the first of nine new Polaris business class lounges, located near gate C18 at Chicago O’Hare International airport.
Revamped lounges will also open at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow, with features including “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”.
The carrier will launch its all-new United Polaris business class seat on its B777-300ER aircraft next year, before rolling out onto B767-300 and B777-200 aircraft, and forthcoming B787-10s and A350-1000s.
Business Traveller was at the launch event for the new seat in New York earlier this year, where the photos on the Flickr slideshow below were taken.
Features of the custom-designed seat will include a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access, mood lighting, several storage areas, “multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining”, electronic privacy dividers and 16-inch HD TV screens.