Review: United Business Class 777-300ER San Francisco To Hong Kong

Filed Under: United

United 869
San Francisco (SFO) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Tuesday, March 28
Depart: 1:00PM
Arrive: 6:45PM
Duration: 14hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 18L (Business Class)

I boarded through door L2, which is between the two Polaris cabins. United’s Polaris cabin on the 777-300ER is massive, with a total of 60 seats. There are 28 seats ahead of the second set of doors, and 32 seats behind the second set of doors. I was in seat 18L, which is the window seat in the last row, so I walked to the far aisle and then turned right.

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United 777-300ER Polaris cabin

While each Polaris seat features direct aisle access, the seats alternate between being closer to the aisle and being closer to the window. Odd numbered seats are more private and are further from the aisle, while even numbered seats are closer to the aisle.

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

For example, below is a picture of seat 17L, which is a “true” window seat. The advantage of this seat is that it feels extremely private, as you basically have your own cocoon.

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

Meanwhile I was in seat 18L, which was the seat closer to the aisle. These seats are angled towards the aisle, and what’s a bit odd is that they already start closer to the aisle than the “true” window seats, not even accounting for the angle. I would have preferred one of the seats in an odd numbered row, but when I booked there were none available.

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

The same general setup is true for seats in the center section. Seats in even numbered rows are closer to the aisle and are angled.

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

Meanwhile in odd numbered rows seats are really close together, though there’s a partition between them. When you board that partition is in the upright position, and then you can lower it if you’re traveling with the person seated on the other side of it.

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United 777-300ER Polaris seats

For more on the seats as such, see the post I wrote about United’s new Polaris seats.

Waiting at my seat was an impressive amount of bedding. There were four pieces of bedding, plus a Polaris bear.

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United Polaris bedding & bear

This included two pillows (do note that United has already cut one of these pillows).

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United Polaris Saks Fifth Avenue pillows

There was also a light day blanket.

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United Polaris light blanket

Then there was a thicker blanket (interestingly the ribbon doesn’t actually come off the blanket, but rather is attached to it).

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United Polaris heavy blanket

There was also a Polaris bear at each seat, which was because this was the first week that United was offering Polaris service internationally, so they offered these to commemorate that.

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United Polaris bear

Pretty cute, eh?

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United Polaris bear

Also waiting at the seat was the menu and drink list for the flight.

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United Polaris menu & wine list

Anyway, back to the actual seat. Since I was in the seat closer to the aisle, there was a nice faux-marble (I think?) counter closer to the window. United really did a fantastic job with the finishes in this cabin.

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United Polaris seat side table

Along the counter was the easy to use entertainment controller, as well as a 110V and USB outlet, and the headphone jacks.

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United Polaris entertainment controls

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United Polaris power outlet and headphone jacks

There was also a lamp, as well as a small storage compartment towards the back of the seat.

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United Polaris seat side console

There were United branded headphones, though they weren’t especially comfortable, so I used my own instead.

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United Polaris headphones

Ahead of me was the tray table as well as the ottoman. The ottoman was a decent size — it wasn’t that spacious, but also wasn’t as restrictive as some other ones.

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United Polaris legroom

Waiting on the ottoman were a pair of slippers, which were soft.

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United Polaris slippers

The tray table would slide out from underneath the console, and could be folded over, so that you could have a large or small surface, depending on your preference.

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United Polaris tray table

Then the seat controls were located immediately to the right of the seat. I found the location of these to be super annoying, since I quite easily hit them with my elbow at several points throughout the flight.

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United Polaris seat controls

Also waiting at my seat on boarding was an amenity kit with Cowshed products. The amenity kit had both a “Relax” and “Refresh” section.

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United Polaris amenity kit

For business class, this was a really impressive kit, in my opinion.

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United Polaris amenity kit contents

As far as Cowshed toiletries go, there a “relaxing pillow mist,” lip balm, and soothing hand cream.

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United Polaris amenity kit contents

Literally a minute after getting to my seat I was greeted by the flight attendant who would be taking care of me. “Welcome to Polaris! Can I get you something to drink?” It’s very impressive that United offers pre-departure beverages of choice in business class, as that’s very rare.

I ordered some champagne, which was quickly brought to me in an interesting cup setup. It was essentially a plastic cup that was “hooked” into a plate. There’s a plate because you also get a chocolate on boarding. I think it’s fantastic that United offers pre-departure beverages of choice, and especially that they offer them as each person settles in. They’re clearly putting effort into service, and that’s refreshing to see.

However, I found the actual cup and plate design to be terrible. The flight attendant didn’t warn me that the cup and plate weren’t really attached, so it easily comes out of the “hook,” causing me to spill some champagne. The same thing happened to the guy across from me, and the lady in front of me. It might be time to rethink that design. 😉

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United Polaris pre-departure champagne

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United Polaris pre-departure chocolate

Boarding took a while, as is the norm on US airlines. By around 12:55PM boarding was complete, and every seat in business class was taken (though much to my surprise there were several non-revs in business class, so they couldn’t even fill Polaris with people willing to pay to upgrade).

Shortly before 1PM Captain Kim added his welcome aboard the brand new 777-300ER, and informed us of our flight time of 14hr9min. In addition, he introduced his three first officers, including their hometowns (which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before). He also informed us that the “from the flight deck” (formerly known as Channel 9) feature would be available, which allows you to listen to air traffic control. YAY!!!! That’s probably my favorite part of flying United, though many pilots choose not to make it available.

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United’s “from the flight deck” audio

Shortly thereafter, Diane, the purser, added her welcome aboard “the new spirit of United.” Employees really are proud of the product, which is nice to see.

At 1:10PM we began our pushback, next to an Air New Zealand 777.

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View before pushback at SFO

As we taxied out the safety video was screened. Shortly thereafter the crew walked through the cabin to take meal orders for both meals. The flight attendant asked for the first and second choice for both meals. I ended up getting my choice for both meals, though.

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Taxiing SFO

We taxied out towards runways 28L & 28R, and the views were gorgeous.

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Taxiing SFO

I was listening to ATC, and as we approached the runway, ATC asked if we could accept runway 28L for takeoff.

“We’re going to need 28R today, United 869 Heavy.” For those of you not familiar, runway 28R is a bit longer than 28L, so you know you’re on a real heavy plane when you need that runway.

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Taxiing SFO

By 1:30PM we were cleared for takeoff, and had a long takeoff roll, and a smooth climb out.

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View after takeoff from SFO

The views were gorgeous, even though they were somewhat obstructed due to the location of the wing and engine.

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View after takeoff from SFO

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View after takeoff from SFO

About 25 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, so I got out of my seat and snapped a quick picture of both the rear and forward Polaris cabins.

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United Polaris rear cabin 777-300ER

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United Polaris forward cabin 777-300ER

I also checked out the lavatory. There are a total of four lavatories in the Polaris cabin — two between the two cabins, and two at the very front of the plane. There was often a queue for these, as they were also shared with the crew. The lavatories weren’t large, though were fairly nicely appointed.

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United 777-300ER lavatory

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United 777-300ER lavatory

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United 777-300ER lavatory amenities

Once back at my seat, I saw that the crew had passed out landing cards for Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong landing card

I decided to browse the entertainment selection, which was extensive.

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United 777-300ER entertainment selection

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United 777-300ER entertainment selection

There were tons of movies and TV shows from which to choose, and the system was highly responsive.

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United 777-300ER entertainment selection

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United 777-300ER entertainment selection

I also checked out the airshow, of course, which is what I kept on for most of the flight.

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Airshow enroute to Hong Kong

Eventually I decided to watch the show “Vice Principals,” which I hadn’t seen before, but found to be hilarious.

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United 777-300ER entertainment selection

United’s 777-300ERs also offer wifi. Rather ridiculously, wifi was broken for the first half of the flight. Apparently this has been a common problem, so it’s time United figures this out, in my opinion.

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United 777-300ER wifi

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United 777-300ER wifi

Finally a bit over halfway into the flight the wifi started to work. The cost was $8.99 for one hour, $14.99 for two hours, or $29.99 for the whole flight. That’s on the pricey side compared to some other airlines, but still reasonable (I just wish I didn’t have to pay $30 for just a few hours of wifi, since the wifi only kicked in over halfway into the flight). Once connected the speeds were okay, though not great.

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United 777-300ER wifi

The initial service was slow to get started, and only began about an hour after takeoff. The menu read as follows:

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The wine & champagne list read as follows:

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The drink list read as follows:

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Here’s the rest of the pamphlet regarding Polaris services, branding, etc.:

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Service began with warm towels. United uses better towels than other US airlines do in business class, which is nice.

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United Polaris hot towel

After that tablecloths were distributed.

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United Polaris tablecloth

Then a cart was rolled down the aisle with drinks. United advertises their new wine flight, where you can sample either all the whites or all the reds. It’s a nice feature, though I wish they’d actually label the wines, so you know what you’re having. It was served with mixed nuts, and I also requested a sparkling water (they have San Pellegrino — awesome!).

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United Polaris wine flight

By 3PM I was served the starter and salad. It’s interesting that United still uses trays, rather than placing things directly on tablecloths.

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United Polaris appetizer, salad, and bread

The starter consisted of smoked salmon with edamame, radish, and hummus. It was decent enough, though nothing special.

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United Polaris appetizer — smoked nori-wrapped salmon with edamame, radish, and hummus

The salad consisted of Boston lettuce with soba noodles, and was fairly good.

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United Polaris salad — Boston lettuce, soba noodles with sesame dressing

As far as bread goes, I was offered two pieces of cheese bread — I was a bit surprised that there was no choice of bread.

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United Polaris bread

While drinks and appetizers were served off carts, the mains were brought directly on trays. As soon as my appetizer was cleared I was served my main course. I ordered the seared short rib with rice and vegetables. The short rib itself was excellent, while the rice and veggies were bland.

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United Polaris main course — seared short rib

Once the main was cleared, I was asked if I wanted cheese and port. Sure, why not? The cheese plate was cute and fairly high quality, at least for business class.

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United Polaris cheese course

Then lastly the dessert cart was rolled down the aisle. I had an ice cream sundae, along with a cup of coffee (unfortunately United doesn’t have espresso based drinks). The ice cream sundae was excellent, as always.

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United Polaris ice cream sundae with coffee

The entire meal was done about 2hr30min into the flight. I’d say the meal service was good, in the sense that everything was fairly well executed. However, I didn’t really think there was anything special about the food.

The crew was Hong Kong based, and good, but not great. They were friendly and efficient, but also not especially warm.

In Polaris there are three amenities available on request, and quantities of all of them are limited, so I asked for them as soon as the meal was done.

This includes a mattress pad, a cooling gel pillow, and on ultra longhaul flights, even pajamas. All three of these were great.

The mattress pad was extremely well padded and comfortable.

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United Polaris mattress pad

The cooling gel pillow actually cooled me down.

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United Polaris cooling gel pillow

The pajamas were also extremely high quality, much to my surprise.

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United Polaris pajamas

While the bedding is fantastic, the problem is that there’s nowhere to store it, so when you’re not sleeping, the seat just looks sort of ridiculous (and the below picture doesn’t even have the mattress pad in it).

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A lot of bedding in United Polaris!

After lunch I decided to try and get some rest, with about 11 hours left until arriving in Hong Kong.

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Airshow enroute to Hong Kong

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Airshow enroute to Hong Kong

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Airshow enroute to Hong Kong

The crew asked if I wanted help making my bed, though I said I could take care of it — it was a nice offer, nonetheless. United’s Polaris bedding is so damn impressive. It’s hands down the best bedding available in any business class product.

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United Polaris bed

My seat was one of the seats closer to the aisle, and it really did lack privacy. You sort of feel like you’re almost sleeping in the aisle. Fortunately thanks to the “shell” around the seat you have a bit of privacy around your head, but it’s easy for people to bump your knees while you’re trying to sleep.

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United Polaris bed

I managed to get about three hours of rest, and woke up with eight hours to go to Hong Kong. It wasn’t great rest, not because of the seat, but rather because I just wasn’t that tired so early in the day.

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Airshow enroute to Hong Kong

I had heard a lot about United’s mid-flight snacks, so decided to check that out. The snack menu read as follows:

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There was also a small bar setup in the galley with snacks. I was a bit underwhelmed by the selection, as American’s 777-300ER business class snack bar has a better selection.

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United Polaris snack bar

I decided to order the tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwich, which I was told would take about 20 minutes to prepare. It was so delicious, but also so unhealthy. But seriously, it was really good.

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United Polaris snack — tomato basil soup and grilled cheese sandwich

I worked for most of the rest of the flight, and then about 75 minutes before landing the pre-arrival meal service began. The menu read as follows:

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Everything was served on a single tray, including a Chobani greek strawberry yogurt, some fresh fruit, a croissant, and my main course. I ordered the Southwest omelet, which was tasty.

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United Polaris pre-arrival meal

The crew later came through the cabin with cinnamon rolls.

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United Polaris pre-arrival meal cinnamon roll

About 30 minutes out the captain provided updated arrival information, and around that time the crew came through the cabin with boxes of chocolates for each passenger, and thanked everyone for flying Polaris.

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United Polaris chocolate

The views on our descent were great, especially as the sun was slowly starting to set.

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View approaching Hong Kong

The seatbelt sign was turned on about 20 minutes before landing, and I enjoyed listening to ATC on the descent.

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View approaching Hong Kong

We had a smooth touchdown in Hong Kong on runway 7L at 6:40PM, and from there a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate.

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Taxiing Hong Kong

We pulled in next to a Cathay Pacific A330.

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Arriving at gate in Hong Kong

United Polaris 777-300ER bottom line

I’m glad I had the chance to experience United’s 777-300ER Polaris in the first week it was in international service. Ultimately this represents a huge improvement for United, though the product as such is hardly revolutionary. The new seats are a big improvement over United’s other seats, though not better than the widely available reverse herringbone seats, in my opinion.

United has done a really great job with the Polaris amenities, including the bedding, amenity kits, pajamas, etc.

I though the food was solid, though nothing special. While there are some nice aspects to the service, like the wine flight and great mid-flight snack, the meal as such didn’t seem materially different from what I’ve had on other flights operated by US airlines.

Overall Polaris represents a great improvement for United, though there’s nothing revolutionary about it. If you can get on one their planes with the new seats then it’s a good way to fly, though keep in mind it’ll be five or so years before the entire longhaul fleet features the new seats (and even that might be optimistic at this point).

If you’ve flown United’s new Polaris product, what was your experience like?

  1. Looks nice. I still think I’d prefer delta one over this though (not to mention many foreign carriers)

  2. Hey Lucky, I’ve noticed recently that the started writing ‘the below picture’ a lot. It feels a little clunky and ‘the picture below’ would parse better to my eye. This may be one of this British English vs US English thinngs.

  3. How was the cinnamon roll?

    Also, you were first onboard…I wanted to see one of your great pictures of the economy cabin!

  4. I think you got it exactly right – it’s a great improvement on the previously horrible product but nothing to write home about. When (or if) they finish installing it in 5 years, they are likely to be lagging behind again.

  5. how is that “one of the top 5 business hard products out there”?
    it looks cramped and busy

    surely these 5 products all beat it

    -reverse herringbone
    – apex
    -vantage XL
    -singapores new seat
    – staggered like thai’s

    how wide are the actual seats?

  6. In 5 years this won’t be that good of a product as others would catch up and UA will be back where they are now.

  7. I have flown it twice now. Not impressed really. I didn’t think the food was that great on the flight, or the wine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, just not good.
    I don’t know if you had this on your flight, but every time I have flown to China, the FA’s are nowhere to be found for over half the flight. They rush through the dinner service, then hide in the back or front of the plane. Then they rush through breakfast. I have to hunt them down to get a bottle of water or a snack. Seems like international carriers (IMO) do a better job of having at least one flight attendant walking around or checking on passengers to see if they need anything and are proactive about it. It’s something that I consider so small for a FA to do but makes such a big difference.
    Because of that, I rather use my United miles to fly on almost any other airline over United.

  8. Glad you are back to reviewing airlines that I may actually fly, Kuwait and Ubekistan airlines, not so much, sorry but I didn’t even read those. Maybe try to fly more pedestrian airlines between the exotics, a bit more. thanks. I really do like your blog,

  9. I’ve read multiple bloggers saying how they thought the Pre-departure Beverages were a nice touch. Do other airlines not do this? I’m a UA 1K and PDB’s are standard on every flight (domestic and international) in premium cabins. I had a PDB on UA Express from IAH-PHL this week.

  10. @ Jack — On most airlines, you don’t get a pre-departure beverage of choice in international business class. Usually the choice is just between water, juice, and sometimes champagne.

  11. Hello Lucky,
    nice report, it almost makes me consider flying with a US airline, again (something I refuse since 9/11). Do you know, where the gel pillow comes from and if one can buy it somewhere? This could be a nice travel pillow for tropical destinations.

  12. I am not a vegetarian however I did notice there were no vegetarian options on the menu. Isn’t that odd now a days?

  13. Great review.

    Minor typo in penultimate graf: I *though* the food was solid, though nothing special. … [make it “thought”]

  14. “Ultimately this represents a huge improvement for United, though the product as such is hardly revolutionary.”

    Five sentences later:

    “Overall Polaris represents a great improvement for United, though there’s nothing revolutionary about it.”

    A+ writing.

  15. @Lucky:

    $100,000 question: Would you go *out of your way* to fly this product again? If so, what factors must be in place to do so? Like, does it have to be the lowest fare by $X or Y number of points? Take into account ground services at origin/destination, crew demeanor, etc.

    So many bloggers and acquaintances keep saying, “This is a great improvement…for United,” clearly qualifying that statement by reiterating that this is a leap forward for an otherwise terrible airline, but is still a shitshow compared to other carriers that are constantly refreshing their cabins/service – sometimes twice in the same amount of time it will take UA to get their act together with this moderate upgrade.

  16. I know you are focused on critiquing the products rather than the economics of the airline business, but I think it would be interesting to have a conversations between the approaches to their revamped business classes between the US carriers. Unlike DL and AA, United has gone with a significantly larger J cabin with no true Premium Econ product (at least not yet). I think that it’s safe to say, that upgrades, mileage redemption might be easier on United premium cabins given the size of the cabin. So is the slightly better AA and DL products worth the trade off for less overall seats which might hurt upgrade/redemption chances? Is having a Premium Econ product worth the trade off for less J seats?

    I’ve heard from CO execs years ago that they don’t have to have the ‘best’ product in the market. Just good enough to stay competitive. I think Polaris fits this narrative.

  17. @Mikal finally someone noticed! I am a vegetarian I have issue with that more than you. Having to go through special meal orders, and in some flights, not seeing the special meal delivered to the plane, is a nuisance.

    Oh and that meat looks like it was fresh out of slaughterhouse!

  18. Hold on… is that a printed wine list?! United used to not do that, claiming the wine selection changes too often. Is the wine list part of the changes they made with Polaris?

  19. @ Calum — It’s a tricky meal for airlines to serve, though sadly pretty standard. Agree it’s a bit odd.

  20. @ Jacky — I disclosed that very clearly in the introduction. They paid me negative 75,000 LifeMiles and negative $5.60 in taxes.

  21. That plastic champagne flute ‘hooking’ into a plastic base with a chocolate on the side is the tackiest thing I have ever seen on a plane. Who eats chocolates when they board a plane? What is so wrong with using an actual glass for a premium beverage rather than something you would use when camping?

  22. UA Plat here. I actually think that the service flow is a downgrade from previous service on pm-CO planes/routes. Standard pmCO BusinessFirst service was trayless, appetizers and salads were delivered as separate courses with dressing, croutons, and cracked pepper added to the salad tableside by cart (similar to KE F), and a cheese trolley with cheese cut and plated tableside. Oh, not to mention a bread basket with choice of bread (though that was true of pmUA service in BusinessFirst as well). That being said, I do appreciate the improvement in food and (especially) wine quality, as well as the updated bedding!

    I do appreciate that UA has a full bar available pre-departure on international flights. Even in NH F last week I was approached with a pre-poured tray of OJ or Champagne only. The Champagne was not Krug for PDB (not sure what it was, perhaps it was the J Champagne), and I was not offered a refill. Once in the air the service was flawless, however.

  23. American has downgraded their business class snack bar on the 777-300 since your review, unfortunately. The last few times I’ve taken it, it’s just been bottles of water and some packaged snacks. United’s spread here looks nicer, frankly.

  24. Why should the bother with glass to drink such cheap wine- clearly below the competition. Those wines can be had for $10 to $15 at Retail (at least the 2 reds I checked).

    Everyone talks about how cheap the plastic cup is; clearly that matters more to most than the wine quality.

  25. you said you were in “18L, which is a window seat in the last row”. It’s not really a window seat though, it’s more like an aisle.

  26. @Alex E….my thoughts exactly.

    I also noticed the menu very similar to the Eastbound one Matthew from “Live and Let’s Fly” had on his recent flight to Germany. The entree(s) looked identical to yours but the appetizers were completely different. Nowhere on your smoked salmon dish was there the promised “nori wrapper,” and your soba noodles were just an afterthought to a large traditional salad while his was an entire bowl of noodles. Certainly United has standardized these items, but different caterers must be interpreting them to their own whims.

    Even with all these changes though, I would still actively avoid UA for international travel. There are just too many other superior carriers. They’re fine for short haul domestic travel, but a few bottles of $10 wine and a grilled cheese sandwich isn’t swaying me.

  27. Having flown in the Polaris cabin (not on a Polaris flight) and Delta One’s reverse herringbone, I much preferred United. The seat itself was much more comfortable, the privacy of the true window seat was awesome, and the food and service on Delta were nothing to write home about. Plus, people complain about the lack of storage on United, but Delta is significantly worse. Delta A350s notwithstanding, I’d pick Polaris over One any day. (No, I don’t work for United, nor was I paid by them to leave this comment.)

  28. @Alvin “Also, you were first onboard…I wanted to see one of your great pictures of the economy cabin!”

    It’s 10-across Y. Just imagine a medieval torture chamber and then squeeze everyone together until you have to take turns to breathe. Or imagine a 1700s TATL slave ship with 400 slaves chained together below decks and no sanitary facilities, except slaves were actually worth something to their owners, unlike pax to UA FAs.

  29. For a premium product in 2017 you’d expect specialty coffees to be served, esp. if UA highlights “Our partner: illy”.

    To me, in J, the main meal’s main course is the most important part of the food service, and as such I find the short rib pretty sad in its presentation, appearance, and with the apparently blend tasting rice and veggies, the opposite of what Lucky describes as “solid” food service.

  30. I’m flying Iah to FRA in August and back from AMS and trying to figure out which seat is best for sleep. Business is wide open so I have plenty of options. It is 777-200 each route. Any suggestions appreciated.

  31. Lucky (or anyone who has flown this), I have this flight upcoming for a family of 4. What seats would you recommend for family of 4?

  32. Have you flown DL’s 330/747 recently? Curious how the US carriers compare to each other, AA DFW-HKG vs UA SFO-HKG vs DL SEA-HKG

  33. @lucky did they turn off the main cabin light for this flight . I just flew on SQ non stop SFO-SIN flight . Took off at 1130am. And I would say annyoingly the main cabin light was on for 11 out of 16.5 hours of the journey . Doesn’t make it easy to sleep. I understand it’s a day time flight but still when all pax gets personal seat lights why couldn’t they turn off the main cabin light ? And also agree with @calum after the long flight, that arrives 7pm in Singapore , meal before landing was breakfast. Odd I thought

  34. Handsome LUCKY – you said “For businessclass, this was a really impressive kit, in my opinion.”
    Please remember Polaris Class is not a new term for Business Class.

    Polaris (class) is a new term for the new aircraft combining Global First and international Business Class.

  35. @lucky – it was curious to me that they do not mention what type of champagne they have.Does it really change that frequently? What was poured or actually offered on your flight for champagne?

  36. Interesting you say that pre departure beverages aren’t common, @Lucky. Every single international business flight I’ve seen has given out a PDB. Im very surprised you say its not common…

  37. @ schar — Pre-departure beverages of CHOICE on international flights aren’t common in business class. Usually you have a choice of a couple of things, but you aren’t asked what you’d like.

  38. I have flown about 8 or 9 flights in Polaris since it was rolled out. The bedding is nice but apart from that I don’t see any difference. I haven’t been on one of the new 777-300s yet. I agree with most of the comments here. Once I make my points for 1k I fly Singapore Airlines to Asia and onward to Europe and vice versa (sometimes Thai) but going to Europe I tend to fly Lufhansa if I’m not going to the UK if it’s not too expensive (often a lot more than UA) and I can afford it. I don’t fly codeshares very often because with some exceptions (like Thai) you can’t get advance seat assignment and that often makes a huge difference on aircraft.

  39. [email protected]

    I just returned home from Singapore last night in UA Global First SIN-HKG and then Polaris t on the 77W HKG-SFO and then the same plane (domestically marketed as PS) over to Newark. I love the new airplane because with no First Class there is no incentive to Upgrade and waste miles. There were 3 of us in row 9 – 2 center seats 9D and G I think and then L. Row 9 is a bulkhead and the ottoman area where your bed folds into is bigger than any of the other rows. Row 9 is better than Row 1 if you have carry on as there is no overhead bin on 1DG as that is taken up by the pilots crew rest. I was traveling with my husband and friend from college, so the two middle seats together in Row 9 are nice and private if you like to chat. And if you don’t you can just raise the divider.

    Personally I am glad they got rid of the second pillow because you really don’t need it and it just clutters the cabin.

    There was a bit of Galley noise but since we has started out in Indonesia I was pretty wiped and barely made it through lunch. Slept almost 9 hours.

    The mood lighting is great as on the 747 the lights came on pretty suddenly. I like the cabin decor and while I pretty much only fly UA I have to say the 1-2-1 seating is amazing since we are still subjected to the 2-4-2 Polaris seats on the 772’s.

    The biggest difference I noticed, and this was my 4th 773 flight with UA, was how tender the beef was. Apparently UA cooks the beef in one oven, chicken in another, pasta a third and can’t even remember what the 4th was. I last flew out in Global First on a 747 and the beef was like rock hard and tasteless. So a big improvement there. Everything else was plated and the the appetizer is definitely a step down from the usual smoke salmon with something else. The bread is plated as is the cheese, and the sundaes are suspended until July due to issues with the new ice-cream glass bowls splintering. They served vanilla ice cream out of a cup but at least it was British-style ice cream which I love, and they had some able pie and then smaller bites like macaroons. All in all I am not a big plane eater no mater what flight so while maybe the presentation seemed a little underwhelming the short rib was cooked to perfection.

    If you have issues with noise row 9 is next to the Galley and we had a chatty crew, but I passed out for most of the flight. But for those sensitive you might want to sit a few rows away.

    Odd number seats by the window are best if traveling alone and you really feel well off to yourself and very private. I haven’t been on a Dreamliner yet because I feel their dispatch rate is still a bit unpredictable, so flying on a brand new widebody does feel very special when the United Aircraft haven’t had any real mods in like 10 years.

    We departed onetime and arrived early into San Francisco. The same plane brought us to Newark so as GS we were able to access the Global First Lounge which has Laurent Perrier Rose as the main champagne, and I love it.

    Got back on the same bird 2 hours later and had a very nice continuation onto Newark – so much nicer and quieter than the 757’s. All crews were great but after so many years you realize a few jokes and silly traveling companions will win over anyone’s heart.

    Overall, since my only mission with flying is to requalify for GS Status each year, which I can give to my Husband as my sigOther, I spend a lot of time on UA planes. It’s such a great benefit if Newark is your home airport because those secret checkins that open up to the front of the security line – worth hours of my life every year.

    As Global First is going to be removed from all UA aircraft, probably by the end of the year, this new Polaris 77W is perhaps a bit less spacious but totally more private unless as Ben said you get an even number row. But with 60 seats and booking 3 weeks out we were able to get into the odd number rows – and then the cabin s filled up completely in the last week. So I think as long as you can book three days before you should be able to get an odd row.

    Thumbs up to United – the seat is always the most important part of any premium cabin and while I am sure UA is behind others the experience was just really refreshing and comfortable. Thank goodness!!!


  40. I could put up an argument that Delta’s “Westin Heavenly Bedding” (especially on longer routes for the lumbar support pillow) is better then Saks Fifth Av.. Good review though.

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