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United Polaris Aircraft Routes & Seating Guide

Last updated: July 27,2022
Originally Published: July 29,2022
by Jestan Mendame

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Several years have passed since United first launched its United Polaris business class product with the promise of providing travelers a re-imagined flying experience. However, it seems that all of their efforts were entirely poured into marketing and not into the actual development of the product.

In its early years, United Airlines sold passengers business class tickets and branded them as “Polaris” tickets, even though the aircraft where it was serviced didn’t have the new retrofitted seats. A lot of passengers were disappointed since the seats were the main highlight of this new product.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into what the United Polaris product is all about, from its routes, amenities, seating details, and much more.


Read More: United Premium Plus, Flight Guides & Tips


The United Polaris Business Class feature lay flat seats and 16-inch wide monitors (Image courtesy of United).

What Is The United Polaris Cabin?

In 2016, United Airlines replaced the United BusinessFirst® and United Global First℠ products with the United Polaris business class service.

The goal was to enhance the travel experience of flyers on long-haul international and domestic flights. The new cabin was first retrofitted to the Boeing 777-300s which featured lay-flat seats, and other premium in-flight and on-the-ground amenities.

United’s goal was to retrofit one aircraft with Polaris seats through the year 2020 which it did a good job at for quite a while. As of this writing, all of United’s international flights are branded as “Polaris” but not all of them will be able to offer the complete experience.

United Polaris Benefits

Your Polaris experience starts from the airport up to boarding so here are some of the amenities that you should expect when flying on Polaris flights.

On-the-ground Benefits

  • Free Checked Baggage And Priority Handling: United’s baggage policy for Polaris passengers varies per flight but typically, you’ll get two checked bags for free. You can use their baggage calculator to get accurate pricing for your baggage. Your baggage will also be one of the first ones to be unloaded from the aircraft so you get to claim it right away upon landing.

  • Faster Check-in And Security Process: You’ll get priority check-in and exclusive security lanes so you get to skip long lines and big crowds.

  • Priority Boarding: Be one of the first passengers to board the aircraft with your Priority Boarding privileges. Polaris passengers belong to Boarding Group 1 along with United First, United Business, Premier Platinum members, Premier Gold members, and Star Alliance™ Gold members.

  • United Polaris Lounge Access: Get access to the exclusive lounges, which feature premium amenities like complimentary food, sleeping areas, and shower suites. Polaris Lounges are a part of the United Club lounge network, but they are only exclusive to passengers on Polaris flights.

In-flight Benefits

  • Seat features: Polaris seats are 23 inches wide with a pitch of about 75-78 inches, and each seat provides a spacious footwell where you can rest your feet. The seats can be turned into a lie-flat bed (may come with privacy dividers), and they have direct aisle access.

  • Bedding: Get complimentary pillows, mattress cushions, blankets, duvets, and other sleeping amenities from Saks Fifth Avenue.

  • Dining: Experience multi-course inflight dining all throughout the duration of your flight. You’ll have the option of having your meals served separately or all at once in your own time preference. You can even have snacks and beverages when you’re feeling hungry at midnight.

  • Amenities: To make your flight experience even more relaxing, you’ll get skincare kits from Sunday Riley, cozy slippers, ear plugs, and face masks.

  • Inflight Entertainment: Watch your favorite TV shows and movies on a 16-inch touchscreen monitor. You’ll also get individual headphones. WiFi is also offered on these flights, so you can browse the web or use your messaging apps.


Read More: How To Save Money On Your United Club Membership


United Polaris Routes

United Polaris business class seats are available on all long-haul international flights, so rest assured that you’ll get lay flat seats when you’re traveling on trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic flights, and long flights to South America.

However, United Polaris is also available on domestic long-haul flights (transcontinental routes), and these are the main routes it serves:

  • Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York Kennedy (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO)
  • New York Kennedy (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO)

In addition, United also offers Polaris flights on retrofitted aircraft in these Hawaiian routes:

  • Chicago (ORD) to Honolulu (HNL), Kona (KOA), Maui (OGG)—and reverse
  • Denver (DEN) to Honolulu (HNL), Kona (KOA), and  Maui (OGG)—and reverse
  • Houston (IAH) to Honolulu (HNL)—and reverse
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL)—and reverse
  • Newark (EWR) to Maui (OGG)—and reverse
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL), Kona (KOA), (OGG)—and reverse
  • Washington Dulles (IAD) to Honolulu (HNL)—and reverse

Aircraft With United Polaris Seats

There are 6 types of aircraft that have the Polaris seats installed, and here’s a quick rundown of its progress:

Boeing 777-300ER: 22 out of 22 delivered

100%

Boeing 787-9: 25 out of 38 delivered

66%

Boeing 777-200 ER: 51 out of 51 delivered

100%

Boeing 767-300ER: 35 out of 35 delivered

100%

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner: 12 out of 12 delivered

100%

Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner: 10 out of 10 delivered

100%

Additionally, Polaris seats are also marketed on two other United aircraft, but they don’t have the new seats installed yet. These are the Boeing 767-400ER and the Boeing 757-200. You can track the progress of United’s retrofitting efforts here.

Seating Tips

Routes change from time to time, so the best way to determine if your flights have United Polaris seats is to know what type of aircraft you’ll be flying on.

In the past, there were instances when flights were being marketed as Polaris flights even if they didn’t have the new seats installed yet. Always remember that “true Polaris cabins” have a 1-2-1 or 1-1-1-seat configuration.

The Boeing 787-8, 787-9, 787-10, 777-200, and 777-300ER all have 1-2-1 seat configurations, while the Boeing 767-300ER has a 1-1-1 seat configuration.

Seating guide for United’s Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of United).

For passengers who want a window view, make sure you pick the odd-numbered rows either on the left or the right side of the aircraft. Here’s an example of a window seat in row 7.

Window seats on odd-numbered rows provide a better window view (Image courtesy of United).

Here’s an example of a window seat in row 6. The seats are closer to the aisle and in our opinion, don’t really provide full privacy even with the seat enclosure.

Window seats on even-numbered rows are closer to the aisle (Image courtesy of United).

It’s the same scenario for middle seats. The odd-numbered rows have the seats installed on the inside part of the suite while the even-numbered rows have the seats installed on the outer side of the suite near the aisle.

Here is an example of an odd-numbered middle seat in row 7.

Middle seats on odd-numbered rows have the seats installed on the inside part of the suite (Image courtesy of United).

Here’s an example of an even-numbered middle seat in row 6.

Even-numbered middle seats have the seats installed on the outer side of the suite (Image courtesy of United).

You can check United’s aircraft information page for more details about seating availability and specifications.

Polaris Seat Configurations On The Older 767-400 and 757-200 Aircraft

We mentioned above that business class seats on the Boeing 767-400ER and the Boeing 757-200 are also marketed as Polaris seats by United but don’t have the newer seats installed yet.

The 767-400ER has a 2-1-2 seat configuration which features the older Continental aircraft Collins Aerospace Diamond seats. Traveling couples can take the window seats while solo travelers can take the middle seats, although the middle ones don’t provide as much privacy. On the other hand, the 757-200 has a 2-2 seat configuration.

Here is the seat configuration for the 767-400ER.

(Image courtesy of United)

Here is the seat configuration for the 757-200.

How To Earn United Miles?

First of all, United offers several co-branded credit cards where you can earn United miles directly:

  • United Explorer Card
  • United Club Infinite Card
  • United Quest Card

There are also cards where you can directly convert your points into United miles:

Alternatively, you can also get an Amex card which you can transfer to a Star Alliance partner such as Air Canada, then book United miles. Here are some cards you can sign up for:

Bottomline

United loyalists have been waiting for a long time for this product to come full circle. It’s good to know that among the 5 out of 6 aircraft types where United plans to install its new Polaris seats are already 100% completed.

  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on other travel purchases

 

Learn More

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