United Airlines has unveiled its all-new United Polaris business class, which the airline describes as its most significant product transformation in more than a decade. More than 12,000 hours of research went into the creation of the new product -- designed to create a sleep-enhancing, departure-to-landing experience for intercontinental travelers.
United is outfitting its widebody fleet with a custom-designed, exclusive-to-United seat, designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom. Each United Polaris seat will offer direct access to the aisle, a 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 6' 6"of bed space.
Crafted as individual, forward-facing, suite-like pods, each customer’s personal suite will feature a “Do Not Disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers. United and PriestmanGoode have also developed an all-new look for the United Polaris cabins.
Extensive research done by the airline included insights from customers and employees, inflight production simulations and more than 100 product evaluations. The airline said "sleep" emerged as the single most important priority for international business class travelers.
In addition to the United Polaris personal suites, several other sleep-focused amenities were created. United has worked with Saks Fifth Avenue for custom-designed bedding, including plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer. Mattress cushions will be available upon request.
Slippers will be available on all flights. Plus, customized United Polaris pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours. Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow. New amenity kits will feature ergonomically designed eye shades, calming lavender pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co.’s Cowshed Spa.
With the introduction of United Polaris, the airline intends to donate tens of thousands of pillows, blankets and other inflight service items to Fisher House Foundation, which United and its employees have long supported.
Elevated Dining Experience
Upon boarding their flight, each United Polaris customer will be welcomed with a pre-departure beverage of his or her choice and gourmet chocolate. While in the air, customers will enjoy regionally influenced in-flight menus updated seasonally.
Those will be developed in partnership with The Trotter Project and its chefs, including Bill Kim of three Chicago restaurants -- Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack.
Passengers will also have an upgraded wine experience, with the highest-quality options curated exclusively by United’s master sommelier.
Inflight service will also include made-to-order signature ice cream sundaes, a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options, chocolate truffles and wine flights.
On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.
United Polaris Business Class Lounges
United will also open an exclusive portfolio of United Polaris business class lounges in nine locations around the world. These lounges will feature custom-designed chairs, private daybeds and spa-like showers.
Chef-inspired hot meals will be served in a boutique restaurant setting so customers can refresh and dine before boarding their planes. Premium sparkling wines and spirits, refreshing snacks and bottled water will also be offered.
The first new United Polaris lounge will open at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on December 1, 2016. Lounges in eight other locations – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow – will follow in 2017.
United Polaris Introduction
United will begin to introduce United Polaris on December 1, 2016, with the new inflight food and beverage experience, new custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, new amenity kits and the new United Polaris lounge in Chicago.
The United Polaris business class seat will first take flight in December on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and subsequently on Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, as well as on Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits.