Tried & Tested

Flight review: United B767-400ER Polaris business class

10 Jun 2018 by juliangregory
The-United-B767-400 business class-seat

Background

United flies five times a day to New York’s Newark airport. These typically operate with the 767-400, although presently one flight a day is using a 767-300 which has the newer Polaris seat.

I was lucky enough to fly on that on the way back and the review can be read here.

Flight review: United B767-300 Polaris business class

The flight I was on was served by a B767-400ER with the business class service being Polaris, but the seat being that which has been on these aircraft for some time.

Check-in

I arrived at Heathrow T2 at 0635 for my 0755, eight-hour flight to Newark (UA883). There was no queue at check-in and I was quickly issued my boarding pass and on my way through Fast Track security where again there was no queue.

The lounge

The United Lounge is by gate B46. It takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the lounge so I did not have much time but decided to go inside and take a quick look. The lounge was very comfortable, modern, spacious and light with big windows. I did not have time to sit down, but the selection of hot and cold food at breakfast was good with both continental and English breakfast available. I would happily have passed time there if needed.

Boarding

The flight was boarding from Gate B32 which was about four-minute walk from the Lounge. When I got there at 0710 there was nobody waiting and I was approached by a security person who checked my passport and I was directed though to boarding. I scanned my boarding pass at the automatic gate and walked onboard. The cabin crew were chatting with a member of the flight crew so I walked onboard and directly to my seat.

The crew then came round twice offering a pre-flight drink and I asked them to take my jacket.  The plane pushed back on time at 0755 and was airborne within seven minutes.

The seat

On this B767-400 there is one cabin of Business Class with a 2-1-2 configuration (AB-D-KL).

The seat map can be seen here on United’s website

There are 39 seats across eight rows to the sides and seven rows in the centre with the final row reserved for cabin crew. This was a day flight so I did not fully recline the seat to sleep but for sitting the seat was extremely comfortable and very easy to adjust. Had I wanted to sleep on boarding the seat had a good size pillow, blanket and quilt provided by Saks 5th Avenue. The seat is fully flat with a width of 20.6 inches and a length of six foot three inches, although at the feet the width is quite small.

United IFE-screen

The amenity kit on my seat came in a tin covered by a protective plastic bag saying Polaris First. I suspect that either the business class ones had run out or someone had put the wrong one on the seat!  The tin contained socks, a cloth for cleaning glasses, toothbrush and paste, earplugs, tissues, mouthwash, pen, eyeshades made from a very strange material, and Cowshed toiletries including lip balm, moisturiser, hand cream, eye balm and a chamomile towelette.

For storage there was a small area under the seat in front of shoes and an area beside the seat for small items and a water bottle. There was a hanging space for the noise cancelling headphones and USB and multi-power socket. For working there was an average size table which was very stable.

Best seat

I was in aisle seat 5B.

The flight was quiet so the window seat beside me was empty. In terms of what was the best seat I was divided. The crew serve from the galley behind and the galley in front with my row being the last row to be served from the front. Two toilets were in the rear galley so if you are further forward you avoid passengers walking past you.

Had the window seat been occupied then the passenger would have to climb over me get out so for a night flight perhaps the centre seat would be better. The disadvantage of the centre seat is that there is an aisle on both sides and I was not sure whether this would increase the likelihood of being knocked  – it certainly looked a bit isolated particularly as so many airlines now have formats in reverse of 1-2-1.

The flight

Service started quickly with a drinks (and nuts) offering just 20 minutes after take off. This flight is billed as serving breakfast and this service started at 0845. To start there was a grapefruit and orange platter with a very tasty chilled oatmeal with coconut milk, chia seeds and mango.

There was also a croissant and strawberry jam although the menu suggested a selection of breads and preserves. The main course was a choice of Traditional Breakfast (bacon, egg, sausage, potato cake, baked beans, mushrooms and tomato), Steak with scrambled eggs, roast potatoes, asparagus and tomato, French Toast with vanilla sauce and berry compote or cereal.

I tried the traditional breakfast which was satisfactory for one served at 36,000 feet. I was then surprised that there was a trolley served dessert offering of cheese assortment, ice cream sundaes or what is billed as sweet treats and included macaroons and cake. I skipped this.

A basket of snacks including fruit, biscuits and seeds was available at the front of the cabin throughout the flight. Drinks were available from the galley and I did not observe another service (unless it happened in the hour I fell asleep) until 45 minutes before arrival and the second food service. There was a choice of grilled chicken with tomato sauce, couscous and vegetables or a fruit, vegetable and cheese plate with cured meats.  I chose the latter and was tasty and more than adequate as a top up before landing.

If you wanted a glass of wine there was a choice of Robert Well 2015 Riesling, Joseph Drouhin 2016 Chablis, Bouchard Pere et Fils 2015 Cote de Beaune Village and Catena 2015 Cabernet Franc.

Wifi is available during the flight at a cost of $33.99 for the whole flight or $18.99 for an hour.  You can also connect your device to unitedwifi.com to get complimentary access to selected partner sites such as Hyatt and United Private Screening where you can stream a range of films and TV to your device. The IFE system also has a good choice of movies and TV if you want to watch on the screen in the seat in front of you.

Arrival

We arrived at 0956/1456 almost an hour early and were at the gate 7 minutes later. After a slight delay with the jet bridge we were in the terminal and quickly towards immigration.

Verdict

A comfy seat with good bedding. Good quality IFE, and with the wifi available you should be able to stay connected. The 2-1-2 configuration lets it down especially on a night flight when neighbouring passengers may want to get out.

united.com

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