United will introduce a slew of business class improvements this December, which will see it transform the existing Business First product into United Polaris – named after the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation.
First on the list is a brand new international business class seat. Crafted as individual, forward-facing pods, the seats can be turned into 180-degree fully-flat beds measuring six foot six inches.
The new seat has been custom-designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and Priestman Goode, with popular aircraft seat manufacturer Zodiac tasked with construction.
The United Polaris seat will first be available on United’s B777-300ER, which it expects to take delivery of later this year. The carrier’s upcoming B787-10 and A350-1000 aircraft will also sport the new product, while the US carrier is looking to retrofit its B767-300s and B777-200s as well.
United Polaris seat
United’s existing Business First product is most commonly seen in a tight eight-across seating arrangement – with the exception of newer aircraft, such as the B787 Dreamliners, which feature a more comfortable 2-2-2 configuration.
However, the new Polaris pods will be arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, ensuring direct aisle access for all customers.
This will put United on a more level playing field with US rivals American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, who have both introduced high-quality business class products with similar configurations.
The new United Polaris seat will be arranged in a comfortable 1-2-1 seating layout
The new seat will come with standard business-friendly amenities such as power outlets, USB charging ports, reading lights, noise-cancelling headphones and a premium amenity kit filled with Cowshed products.
Business traveller-friendly amenities on the United Polaris seat
Along with the new seat, improvements are being made to the in-flight service experience. United Polaris customers can expect a pre-departure beverage and gourmet chocolate. Meal services will comprise all-new regionally influenced in-flight menus that have been developed in partnership with The Trotter Project and its chefs, including Bill Kim from the acclaimed Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack.
For those feeling extra peckish, made-to-order ice cream sundaes as well as a fully stocked dessert cart will be available throughout the flight. Long-haul flights (daytime flights longer than eight hours and all flights longer than 12 hours) will also provide mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese.
While United Polaris signals the airline’s continued investment in its premium offerings, customers hoping to see improvements made in Global First are likely to be disappointed. The Star Alliance member has previoulsy stated its intention to gradually remove that travel class from its portfolio, calling international first class “a losing business”.
New United Polaris lounge concept
Finally, the airline will also introduce a new United Polaris lounge concept when it opens a new facility at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on December 1.
The lounge will offer custom-designed chairs, private daybeds, shower facilities and chef-inspired hot meals served in a restaurant setting. The concept will subsequently be introduced in eight other locations – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow in 2017.
Custom-designed seats at the United Polaris lounge
For more information, visit united.com