United – Polaris

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  • JPNU

    United is making a very big deal about the new Polaris Class/business class upgrade but having just stepped off the plane, not all of it is justified.

    The planes on the SYD – LAX route have not yet had the upgraded seats but do have all of the soft products. The food and wine were ok. I loved the ‘dessert trolley’ and ended up ordering things that I wouldn’t ordinarily have because of the way it was presented. Drinks on arrival were served in a plastic cup and the ice cream in a paper bowl which is in stark contrast to rest of the china and glassware used in flight. I’m surprised they haven’t sorted those issues out yet.

    It is nice to have a choice of pillows and blankets although the cabin was so warm they weren’t really needed. The mattress pad is better than nothing but bunches up easily. The seat (old style, not Polaris) is not great – narrow and limited room for feet. If you are not a side sleeper, you will become one for this flight. I only managed a couple of hours of sleep on a flight of nearly 13 hours (compared to sleeping very comfortably for 10+ hours on a recent Qantas flight).

    The best part of the flight was the cabin crew. They were unfailingly polite and helpful and greeted me (and I assume the other passengers) by nane throughout the flight. I was very pleasantly surprised by that aspect of the flight.


    I’ve never understood why most US carriers use plastic cups for boarding drinks in premium classes and glass for the rest of the flight. Weight? Safety? Bad taste?

    UA are a large carrier so the seat roll out will take time. But it’s disappointing to be stuck with a substandard seat for 13 hours to LAX when competitors QF, VA and even DL are providing a much better product.

    As for excellent service, I think the AUS flights are super popular and lucrative for crew so they attract senior staff with higher bidding power. You’re getting the cream of United’s crews, one hopes.


    I’ll be doing that trip three more times in the next three months and already have bookings with United for thise flights. They were significantly cheaper than Qantas. However, I will try to plan ahead in future to get a better chance of lower fares on Qantas.

    United wins on crew (excellent) but the Qantas crew were good, the food was better and so was the qantity and quality of my sleep!

    But the bottom line is the bottom line – that’s why I had booked with United.


    I would suggest Virgin Aus has a better seat than QF A380 /747 and as good or better catering. You ll miss out on the excellent one world lounge at LAX but gain the Etihad ones on return from Aus.

    Review – Virgin Australia 777 Business Class, Melbourne – Los Angeles

    As for the paper ice cream cup I saw on CNN business travellor that the fancy ice cream bowls specifically designed for polaris kept cracking.


    The biggest complaint i’ve heard about it is the rate that it is being rolled out. United embarked on a massive Polaris advertising blitz when they had precisely ONE aircraft with the new cabin fitted. So with a fleet of hundreds the chances of flying on one of that jet were tiny. I know they’ve rolled it out on a few more aircraft now but it still seems they are over advertising a product most people will not experience.

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