Newark United Polaris Lounge In 10 Pictures

On Thursday afternoon I had the change to check out United’s new Polaris Lounge Newark, which opened in early June. I was flying Austrian business class from Newark to Vienna, which is how I gained access. I’ll have a full review of the lounge soon, but in this post wanted to share my initial impressions.

Overall United did a spectacular job with the Polaris Lounge Newark. The lounge is huge, at about 27,000 square feet, and is beautifully furnished. There’s such a great variety of seating, including dining tables, semi-private seats, comfortable leather seats along the windows, and more.

The lounge is so beautiful that I have a hard time believing this is a US airline lounge. In terms of decor, I think Polaris Lounges are a bit step up from virtually any other US airline lounge.

I timed my visit to be sure I could check it out while it was empty, so I arrived at 11AM, just as the flight to Beijing was boarding. The next international departure wasn’t until four hours later, so the lounge was empty until about 12:30PM, and then slowly started to fill up. However, even later in the afternoon it never really felt overcrowded, given how large it is.

For dining there are two options. There’s a buffet, which I found to be fairly basic. There were a few hot dishes, and then a few cold options that didn’t look all that appetizing. The food didn’t strike me as being very high quality. For example, the charcuterie tasted like what you’d expect from packaged meat at the supermarket.

The lounge also has an a la carte dining area, which is beautiful, with great views of the apron.

The food quality was good, though not great, and certainly not as good as I remember it being at the Polaris Lounge Chicago. I ordered an Italian chopped salad and seared fresh cod. My main course (bottom right below) was tiny. My companion ordered the meatballs in roasted garlic tomato sauce (a “small plate” that was bigger than my main course), and then the Moroccan-spiced braised lamb. The meatballs were apparently good, while the lamb not so much.

The desserts were excellent, with the choice between a New Yorker dessert trio and a brookie (a combination of a brownie and cookie).

I also love that the Polaris Lounge offers freshly made espresso-based drinks, including cappuccinos with the Polaris logo.

The staff in the lounge were incredibly enthusiastic. I think airlines so greatly underestimate the positive effect of having a product employees are proud of, because everyone in the lounge was over-the-top friendly. They’d ask each guest how they were doing, if they could get them anything, etc.

The lounge also has several day beds, as well as nice shower rooms, with Saks Fifth Avenue towels.

I’ll have a full trip report soon, though hopefully these initial thoughts are interesting.

United is doing a spectacular job with their Polaris Lounges, and they’re a big step up over American’s Flagship Lounges (though the entry requirements for those lounges aren’t as strict). I would note that while I appreciate the variety of food they offer, I didn’t find the food to be all that high quality, so I imagine there have been some budget cuts when it comes to what they’re spending on food.

Regardless, I’m very impressed by United’s new Polaris Lounge.

If you’ve visited one of the new Polaris Lounges, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. I wish Delta would now open premium lounges, SkyClub are great for domestic hops but for international, common……

  2. I loved the food choices in Chicago and Veuve Clicquot. The f&b at the SFO lounge was a big step down. I am going to both lounges in July so will see if the Chicago one is still as wonderful as it was in January.

  3. Will you have a review of Austrian’s business class? I flew them 3 years ago IAD-VIE and they had fresh-cracked eggs for breakfast!

  4. @ Jim — Yep, initial thoughts will be up in a matter of minutes, and full review within a couple of weeks. 🙂

  5. I found the food at the IAH lounge to be significantly better than at EWR. I tried the gazpacho and avocado caprese salad with shrimp and they were restaurant quality for sure. Hope you can check that out soon too!

  6. Delta is terrible in both hard and soft product. Even though there service is better than other US airlines. They have old seats on about 85% of their fleet. Especially their 767s. Their lounges are even not being upgraded food wise. And DTW lounges are on par with United clubs. At least united and American ar improving there lounges and seats while delta (with worst FF program) is not changing much.

  7. I was disappointed with the food at the SFO Polaris lounge, and the fact that full service dining there has restricted hours. I had been very pleased with ORD since it opened, and returned there again last month, 2 weeks after having been at the SFO location. ORD was still a great experience, particularly the breakfast buffet options. I told the Global Services representatives at both locations that ORD was much better, and they expressed surprise.

  8. I was in the United Polaris Lounge at Terminal C in Newark Airport last night for about two hours.

    I agree with Lucky’s comments about the wide variety of available seating and was a bit jealous to see that he tried the Brookie which I had my eye on but ran out of time to try.

    The Buffet I saw at the dinner hour was fully stocked and well presented and rather than a “few” hot plates there were more like six (which would be “many” ) plus much more. I did ask a staff member why the salmon appeared yellow when it should be pinkish) and she shrugged her shoulders, said she didn’t know, and went back to what she was doing — so much for pride in working at a new place.

    I was also irked a bit by the response of the female check-in clerk. I had a 3 segment trip (1 on United and 2 on Austrian). When I checked in at the Polaris check-in area, the system automatically assigned me seats on the Austrian flights which appeared to be random. When I asked her to change them or to let me see the seat map, she claimed she was unable to do this — a response which I doubt.

    I would like to see them decorate the long wide empty corridor with some artwork eventually.

  9. So I was just turned away, being told my flight to Lima Peru doesn’t qualify. Really cheesy, United!

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