We recently learned about a new United Polaris Lounge coming to Washington Dulles, and the lounge has officially opened as of today. Woot!
United Polaris Lounge IAD now open
United Airlines has opened its Polaris Lounge at Washington Dulles Airport as of Thursday, October 21, 2021.
For those not familiar with Polaris Lounges, these are United’s premium international business class lounges, which are open to long haul Star Alliance business & first class passengers (status alone doesn’t get you into these lounges). I’d argue that they’re by far the best business class lounges offered by any US airline.
What should we expect from the new Polaris Lounge at Washington Dulles?
- The lounge is roughly 21,000 square feet, and features seating for 355 people, including 42 seats in the dining area, 13 private restrooms, and six shower suites
- The lounge features a library where guests can enjoy Washington DC-inspired decor, a bar area with a coffered ceiling, and an a la carte dining room behind lattice pocket doors
- The lounge is located across from the United Club at gate C17, and is open daily from 5:30AM until 10PM
United Airlines announced its new Polaris experience back in 2016, which included an all new business class inflight experience, as well as new lounges. Prior to the pandemic, the airline opened Polaris Lounges in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, and San Francisco.
The lounge in Washington was the last lounge location in the United States that had been announced but wasn’t opened. The lounge was more or less complete right around the start of the pandemic, but at that point there was no benefit to opening it. I can’t wait to check out this lounge myself!
When will other Polaris Lounges open?
Around the start of the pandemic, United Airlines closed all of its Polaris Lounges, given that demand for international travel more or less collapsed. With international travel demand slowly recovering, when should we expect Polaris Lounges to reopen?
- The Polaris Lounges in Chicago, Houston, and Newark, will open before the end of 2021
- The Polaris Lounges in Los Angeles and San Francisco will open by early 2022
As a point of comparison, American’s Flagship Lounges (which are comparable to Polaris Lounges) have started to reopen as of September 2021, and the plan is for them to all be reopened this fall. With the United States lifting travel restrictions for vaccinated foreigners as of November 2021, we should start to see a slow recovery in international travel demand.
United is a bit behind American when it comes to reopening its premium international lounges. Then again, United has much stricter entry requirements for accessing these lounges, and therefore there are also fewer potential eligible guests.
United Airlines has opened its brand new Polaris Lounge Washington Dulles as of today, which is an exciting development for the airline. This was the only Polaris Lounge in the United States that the airline hadn’t yet opened before the pandemic, and it’s now the first to open during the pandemic.
Washington Dulles sure could use some new lounges, so this is a fantastic development, especially given how bad United’s terminal there is. As far as other lounges go, we can expect Polaris Lounges in Chicago, Houston, and Newark, to open before the end of 2021, and Polaris Lounges in Los Angeles and San Francisco to open by early 2022.
What do you make of the new Polaris Lounge Washington Dulles, and United’s general Polaris Lounge reopening schedule?