United Polaris Lounge Washington Dulles Opening Soon

United Polaris Lounge Washington Dulles Opening Soon

22

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 ChicagoHoustonLos AngelesNewark, 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.

United Polaris Lounges feature a la carte dining

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 Polaris Lounge Houston

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (22)
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  1. PresRDC

    I find it ridiculous that they could not announce a firm schedule for the other lounge reopenings. "By the end of the year" is not a schedule, it's an aspiration.

  2. David

    Curious to see if they offer pre-pandemic service levels or something modified, like the onboard Polaris product.

  3. Ash Mekonnen

    A brand new jaw dropping united club near Gate C18. Can't wait to see the service and amenities.

  4. Apso Eyot

    Jeb Brooks would be delighted to hear about and visit this new lounge! He uses Dulles often. I can already hear him reviewing it in my head.

    Also, does United have any plans to open a Polaris lounge in Denver? It’s notable that it will be their last remaining hub without one after this.

    1. Towelie196

      There are only five international long haul flights from Denver on Star Alliance. One of which (Tokyo) hasn't been resumed yet, and another (Munich) that has been reduced to three times a week. While they are adding a daily next year to Munich, it just isn't enough to support a lounge.

  5. Randy

    I wonder if this is really just taking over the existing UA Club at C17 and remodeling it as a Polaris lounge?

    1. Dave D

      This is absolutely not a refurb of the C17 United Club. It's an entirely new 2-storey structure, built between C14 and C18. And it's stunning inside. Just wait and see.

  6. Mark

    How does this capacity compare to other lounges? Just wondering how full it will be during the evening departure banks.

  7. glenn t

    Those photos of the regimented dining area shriek 'upper-scale boarding school dinner room' rather than an expensive architect designed exclusive lounge! Pretty pathetic for 2021.

    1. Mark

      The reviews of the Polaris lounges have been extremely positive, even from people who are not always fans of United. I would base opinions on those reviews instead of on one photo.

    2. TravelRocks

      Mark- you are correct. Million Miler on Delta, and probably have flown less than 20K miles on UA. Had been reading positive articles on Polaris lounges. Travelled to Barcelona in late 2019 and UA and DL price was very similar. Decided to book UA really just to check out Polaris Lounge at EWR. I have to give credit to UA. That was my last Intl flight before COVID, but I'd certainly select UA once again...

      Mark- you are correct. Million Miler on Delta, and probably have flown less than 20K miles on UA. Had been reading positive articles on Polaris lounges. Travelled to Barcelona in late 2019 and UA and DL price was very similar. Decided to book UA really just to check out Polaris Lounge at EWR. I have to give credit to UA. That was my last Intl flight before COVID, but I'd certainly select UA once again if pricing was similar to DL just to have another opportunity to visit Polaris lounge. (assuming it reopens with pre-covid amenities)

  8. Janet

    Is there a story? All I see is a few featured comments.

  9. David

    I moved to Northern VA 11 years ago, right when the C train was opened. I was told the reason for the quarter mile walk is that a new concourse was "imminent."

    I don't think it will ever be built in our lifetime, unless UA threatens to close their Hub.

  10. John

    The C/D concourses at IAD we’re opened as “temporary” 35 years ago.

    It’s good to see the Polaris lounge opening, but in general the concourses that United calls home would make Greyhound embarrassed….sharp contrast to the elegant and airy B concourse across the tarmac.

    1. Never In Doubt

      Came to say the same thing. What a grim & inconvenient place to arrive and depart from.
      Less inconvenient if you’re just connecting, but still grim.
      I’ll make almost any schedule sacrifice to fly one of the SFO-DCA nonstops rather than having to go to Dulles.

  11. flyingrohit

    Per EWR VP, EWR PL will open in November

  12. Hammer

    Good to know that this lounge is opening soon, although I’d be surprised if this lounge opened before EWR reopened.

  13. henry

    wasn't concourse c meant to be temporary? guess not if they are investing this much into it

    1. GBOAC

      I was having the same thought about the location. Given that the airport train station for the C Concourse is located a good walking distance from the concourse itself, I get the idea that a newer, wider concourse will be built a few hundred feet from the current concourse.

    2. Never In Doubt

      Note John’s comment above. It was “temporary” 35 years ago. The train’s been there more than a decade. It’s never getting replaced.

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Never In Doubt

Note John’s comment above. It was “temporary” 35 years ago. The train’s been there more than a decade. It’s never getting replaced.

Never In Doubt

Came to say the same thing. What a grim & inconvenient place to arrive and depart from. Less inconvenient if you’re just connecting, but still grim. I’ll make almost any schedule sacrifice to fly one of the SFO-DCA nonstops rather than having to go to Dulles.

Dave D

This is absolutely not a refurb of the C17 United Club. It's an entirely new 2-storey structure, built between C14 and C18. And it's stunning inside. Just wait and see.

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