United Airlines to Launch New ‘Polaris’ Business Class Concept

By Jesse Sokolow on 2 June 2016
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A mock-up United's new Polaris lounge

A mock-up of United’s new Polaris lounge

NEW YORK—United airlines introduced on Thursday a completely new business-class product. Dubbed “Polaris” after the North Star, the new offering includes a new pre-flight dining experience, all-new cabin and seats, new bedding and amenities, and a new in-flight menu.

The airline conducted extensive research over a period of three years to develop Polaris, according to Maria Walter, managing director for product development and brand strategy. This consisted of testing various concepts including eight-hour long sleep labs to better understand how passengers would interact with the service and their surroundings.

The experience will begin in the new United Polaris business-class lounge, which will offer custom-designed chairs, private daybeds, spa-like showers, and hot meals served in a boutique restaurant. Wines, spirits, snacks, and bottled water will also be available.

When passengers board the aircraft, they will find completely original seats, as opposed to United having selected an option already in the marketplace, which were designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode, and manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom. Each suite-like pod is forward-facing and has direct aisle access, with a fully lie-flat seat that offers up to 78” of bed space.

The suites feature a “Do Not Disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, various storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, and a 16” HD monitor. Additionally, seats in the center of the cabin feature electronic privacy dividers.

United worked with Saks Fifth Avenue to develop custom-designed bedding, which features plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets, and large and small pillows. Mattress cushions and gel-cooled pillows will be available upon request, as will slippers on flights lasting longer than 12 hours.

The new United Polaris amenity kits will feature ergonomically-designed eyeshades, calming lavender pillow mist, and additional products from Soho House’s Cowshed Spa.

United Polaris passengers will be offered a pre-departure beverage as well as gourmet chocolate. United says that the in-flight meals will be regionally-influenced and updated seasonally, and the carrier will offer a high-quality wine list curated by United’s master sommelier.

United Polaris in-flight service will also include made-to-order ice cream sundaes, a dessert cart with petit options, and chocolate truffles. Additionally, on daytime flights lasting more than eight hours, hot snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.

United will begin rolling out the Polaris experience on December 1. It will first be introduced on United Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, followed by Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000s, as well as Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits. The new Polaris lounge will debut at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, with additional lounges in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, and Washington, D.C. scheduled to open in 2017.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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