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United Airlines first introduced its Polaris business class product in 2016. This premium service gives business/first-class passengers exclusive access to the United Polaris Lounge network, plus the perks of flying business class on United’s retrofitted planes that feature the new Polaris seats.
The new Polaris seats will have lay-flat reclining features that allow you comfortably sleep during the whole flight. As of this writing, not all United Aircraft have the new seats installed and some Polaris business class passengers may still end up flying on the older planes with older seats.
However, all business class passengers will have exclusive access to Polaris lounges which offer various amenities such as relaxation areas, free wifi, shower facilities, and complimentary meals.
If you want to learn more about what the United Polaris lounge is and how to get access, keep reading!
Read More: Understanding The United Global Services
What Is The United Polaris Lounge Network?
United Airlines revamped their United Business First and United Global First services in 2016 which resulted to the Polaris Business class service.
The name was derived from the North Star, “Polaris”, which was a guide used by travelers back in the day. United wanted to convey the message that flyers can always count on them when it comes to traveling with comfort and safety.
As mentioned, this business class service offers an exclusive lounge network through the United Polaris Lounge and a re-imagined flight experience through the Polaris seats, giving business class flyers a premium airport-to-airport travel experience.
United Polaris Lounge Benefits
Here are some of the perks and amenities that United Polaris Lounges offer.
- Pre-flight Dining Options – Polaris business-class flyers will experience high-end pre-flight dining options that usually include an extensive buffet, complimentary hot and cold beverages, and a wide selection of spirits.
- Sleep and Comfort Amenities – Flyers will have their own private suites to get away from the hassle of the airport, plus complimentary luxurious bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue.
- Chef-inspired Dishes – United has partnered with chefs from The Trotter Project to offer world-class meals to its customers.
- Shower Suites – Shower areas are available for flyers who want to freshen up before or after their flight. Plus, Sunday Riley’s skin care products and toiletries will be provided.
Where Are Polaris Lounges Located?
Polaris Lounges are located in 6 different locations across the US:
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – Terminal 7, between Gates 73 and 75A
- Washington Dulles (IAD) – Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C17
- Newark (EWR) – Terminal C, following security screening between Gates C102 and C120
- Houston (IAH) – Terminal E, between the United Club location and Gate E12
- Chicago (ORD) – Concourse C, near Gate C18
- San Francisco (SFO) – International Terminal, across from the security checkpoint for Boarding Area G
These lounges were closed to the public during the height of the pandemic but they have gradually reopened after the U.S. government started to accept international travelers again on November 8, 2021.
On October 21, 2021, the newly constructed lounge at Washington Dulles (IAD) was one of the first Polaris Lounges to re-open. It was then followed by the Newark, Houston, Chicago, San Franciso lounges, and Los Angeles lounges. All lounges are now open and fully operational.
United was actually one month late in its reopening plans compared to its competitors, Alaska and American Airlines, which reopened their lounges in September.
Who Can Use Polaris Lounges?
There are three types of flyers who are eligible for Polaris business class benefits:
- Polaris Business Class Flyers On Long-haul International Flights – These flyers will have access to Polaris lounges before departure, during connecting flights, or upon arrival.
- Star Alliance Members Who Fly International Business Class – These flyers will also have access to Polaris lounges only before departure.
- Star Alliance Members Who Fly International First Class – These flyers will also have access to Polaris lounges only before departure, however, they can bring one traveling guest with them.
If you’re wondering why Star Alliance elite members have access, it’s because United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance group. For more details, you can view United’s Club and Lounge Access policy.
Read More: United Airlines Wifi Service Guide
United Polaris In-flight Benefits
As a Polaris business class flyer, you don’t only get exclusive access to Polaris Lounges but you’ll also get premium perks onboard United flights, including the Polaris seats. If you’re flying business class on a wide-bodied aircraft, here are the benefits that you’ll be getting:
- Polaris Seats – Polaris business class cabins feature forward-facing and lie-flat seats that have direct access to the main aisle. The sleeping space can accommodate passengers who are up to 6’6 feet tall. The seats also have a privacy divider so you can sleep comfortable in peace.
- Luxurious Beddings – Flyers will get Saks Fifth Avenue custom beddings which are designed to provide maximum comfort when you sleep.
- Multi-course Inflight Dining – These are chef-ispired meals offered to flyers. Plus, flyers can request meals at the time of their choosing so they don’t have to wait during breakfast, lunch, or dinner times. Self-serve snacks are also provided.
- Other In-flight Amenities – Cozy slippers, ear plugs, and Sunday Riley skincare products will be provided during the flight. And as part of the full Polaris exprience, custom requests are also catered by the flight attendants .
However, not all planes will feature the Polaris Seats although plans have been made by United to finish retrofitting all their planes by summer 2022. As of this writing, here are the planes that are now sporting the state-of-the-art Polaris seats:
- 787-8 Dreamliner
- 787-10 Dreamliner
United is still making upgrades on its Boeing 787- 9 fleet so expect to find the older lie-flat business class seats on these planes.
Tip: Using Miles To Book United Flights
Why pay out of pocket when you can use your MileagePlus points to book United flights and still enjoy Polaris Business class benefits.
There are many ways to earn MileagePlus miles but the most popular way to do it is through co-branded credit cards. These cards typically come with lucrative welcome bonuses and competitive rewards rates.
United Gateway Card
- Get 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of getting your card
- Earn 2x miles on United(R) purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
- Earn 2x miles on United(R) purchases
- Earn 2x miles on local transit and commuting
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months + 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months
- Earn 2x miles per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery service), hotel stays, and United(R) purchases
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck(R) application fee Credit
- 25% back on United(R) inflight purchases
- Check your first bag for free (valued up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
- Priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club(SM) with 2 one-time passes every card anniversary
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Get 80,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 3x miles per $1 spent on United® purchases.
- Earn 2x miles per $1 spent on dining, select streaming services, and all other travel
- Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.
- Get an annual $125 credit on United® purchases
- Two 5K-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
United Club Infinite Card
- 100,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months of getting the card
- Earn 4x miles on United(R) purchases such as tickets, inflight food, beverages, Wi-Fi, and other United charges.
- Earn 2x miles on all other travel
- Earn 2x miles on dining including eligible delivery services
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck(R) application fee credit
- Free first and second checked bags (valued up to $320 per roundtrip)
- 25% back as a statement credit on in-flight purchases on United-operated flights when you pay with your Club Infinite Card
If you don’t have a United co-branded card, another way of earning MileagePlus points is through transfer partners. For example, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is a transfer partner of Mileage plus, which means that you can transfer your points from your Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred card to your MileagePlus Rewards account.
It took a while for the United Polaris Lounges to become fully operational again but maybe it was for the better because they took their time and made improvements in their program. United has added a new Polaris Lounge and most of the planes now feature the new Polaris seats.
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