We recently learned that United Airlines will soon be opening a Polaris Lounge at Washington Dulles, and we now have a sense of when other Polaris Lounges will be opening as well.
United Polaris Lounge IAD opening October 2021
United Airlines is planning to open its new Polaris Lounge at Washington Dulles later this month. While no exact date has been announced so far, it’s my understanding that the lounge could open within the next week or so.
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 class passengers. I’d argue that they’re by far the best business class lounges offered by any US airline.
What should we expect from the Polaris Lounge at Washington Dulles?
- The lounge will feature seating for 355 people, including 42 seats in the dining area, 13 private restrooms, and six shower suites
- The lounge will feature 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 will be located across from the United Club at gate C17, and will be 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.
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.
So 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 will be opening its brand new Polaris Lounge Washington Dulles shortly, which is an exciting development for the airline. This is the only Polaris Lounge in the United States that the airline hadn’t yet opened, and that will be changing before the end of the month.
Washington Dulles sure could use some new lounges, so this is a fantastic development, if you ask me. Then 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?