Starting April 1, passengers flying on United Airlines’ Newark-Hong Kong route will be able to select the airline’s recently unveiled Premium Plus and new Polaris business class seats and service on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The Newark route is now the second serving Hong Kong to offer the Polaris business class product following its debut on United’s San Francisco-Hong Kong service in March 2017.
United’s 777-300ER has 60 Polaris seats in total, which are laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration providing direct aisle access to all passengers in the business class cabin. Seats are able to recline to a fully flat bed position and, as we discovered in our review of the seat and service on the airline’s San Francisco-Hong Kong service in September last year, are surprisingly spacious even for taller travellers.
The addition of Polaris business class to the Newark-Hong Kong route is also good news for travellers as just last summer United opened a new Polaris Lounge (see picture below) at Newark Liberty Airport, specifically designed for travellers flying in its new Polaris business class cabin.
While Hong Kong doesn’t yet have a Polaris Lounge of its own, Walter Dias, United’s managing director, Greater China and Korea, sales has previously confirmed to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that the airline is considering carving out a section of its existing United Club Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport in order to create a dedicated section for Polaris passengers.
Premium Plus (see picture below), the airline’s premium economy offering, officially went on sale on December 3, 2018 for flights on 21 international routes departing from March 30, 2019 onwards. The US carrier began introducing its new Premium Plus seats earlier in 2018, though before December 3, 2018 they had been marketed as economy without the full range of premium economy services.
Customers travelling on Premium Plus will get additional legroom, elbow room and recline compared to Economy Plus and economy seats, as well as upgraded dining options on custom dinnerware with complimentary alcoholic beverages. Customers will also receive upgraded amenities including a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and plush pillow, and noise-reducing headphones. Prior to boarding, passengers also receive complimentary standard checked bags, as well as discounted United Club access, Premier Access check-in and priority boarding.
“Hong Kong has always been one of the most important international markets for United Airlines in Asia-Pacific,” said Dias. “We proudly launched the first ever non-stop service between Hong Kong and New York City in 2001, and we are delighted to enhance our offering in the market with a product and service upgrade for travellers from Hong Kong to our popular New York hub.”
“Customers, now more than ever, have the opportunity to choose their preferred flight experience. This product refresh is clear evidence of our long-term commitment to the promising Hong Kong market, as well as in response to the growing travel demand among business and high-end leisure travellers.”
Dias added: “Our decision to upgrade Hong Kong’s services connecting to the US is very timely as it answers the demand from business and leisure travellers from Hong Kong and the surrounding cities of the Greater Bay Area.”
United is offering a fare promotion for roundtrip Premium Plus airfares between Hong Kong and San Francisco, Newark, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston. The airline says fares can be purchased for as low as HK$9,710 (US$1,237), subject to applicable taxes and surcharges, when travelling between April 1, 2019 and July 4, 2019. However, getting a fare as cheap as that may be rather difficult.
A flight to Los Angeles departing and returning on Tuesdays (May 7 to May 14) came out at HK$15,218 (US$1,938).
Aside from Hong Kong, United will also be rolling out Premium Plus on a number of its Asia-Pacific routes at the end of this month, including its Newark-Tokyo service, as well as flights between San Francisco and Taipei, Tokyo, Auckland and Beijing.
See where else United will be rolling out its Premium Plus offering between now and the end of May.