United Reveals Their First Transatlantic 777-300ER Polaris Route

Filed Under: United

United introduced Polaris on December 1, 2016, which is the name for their new first & business class experience. This includes new airline lounges, improved food & beverages, better bedding, and also new seats.

United Polaris seat (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

The catch is that United’s new business class seat is so far only available on 777-300ER aircraft, and as of now United has just one of those. So while you can experience the new soft product, it’ll be a few years before most passengers in Polaris find themselves in the new seat.

At the moment United is operating 6x weekly flights between Newark and San Francisco on the 777-300R. Meanwhile the 777-300ER will make its international debut as of March 25, 2017, when United starts flying the plane between San Francisco and Hong Kong.

United 777-300ER (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

Up until now United hasn’t published the next routes to get the new product. Well, that has finally changed.

United will be commencing daily 777-300ER flights between Newark and Tel Aviv as of May 5, 2017. United operates twice daily flights between Newark and Tel Aviv, so the following frequency will be operated by the 777-300ER:

UA90 Newark to Tel Aviv departing 10:45PM arriving 4:20PM (+1 day)
UA91 Tel Aviv to Newark departing 11:10PM arriving 4:15AM (+1 day)


The other frequency will continue to be operated by a 777-200, which doesn’t yet feature United’s new Polaris product.

While United’s new 777-300ER aircraft are a nice ride in the pointy end of the plane, keep in mind that if you’re traveling in economy these planes are best avoided. United’s longhaul 777-200s have just nine seats per row in economy, while the 777-300s have 10 seats per row in economy, so it will be a very tight fit.

United has a total of 14 of these 777-300ER aircraft on order, and they’re taking delivery of them all pretty quickly. So you can expect several more routes with the new Polaris product to be announced over the coming months. Hopefully they also start reconfiguring some planes in their existing fleet pretty soon.

Are you surprised to see United make Tel Aviv their second longhaul 777-300ER destination?

  1. Not surprised at all those flight are usually packed and it’s probably one of the busiest routes for United it just makes sense..

  2. Not surprised at all. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with the Tel Aviv route knows load factors are near 100% on any every single flight. If you don’t believe me track the seat map on united flight status for UA90 or 91 or UA84 or 85 for a week. This is in fact was one of the more obvious choices to get the new 777-300. Long haul with consistently high load factors

  3. I honestly dont see what the big fuss is over ten seats per row in a 777. Its perfectly fine, and if it gers me cheaper seats I’ll take it.

  4. no i am not, the us has a lot of flights to tel aviv non stop and they need to top off the competition including delta with a better product though generally on non-stop tel aviv flights business sis usually a complete sell out on all of them always, and I’ve flown the route a lot!!!!! ElAL has several daily non-stops to compete with

    hope i can try it soon

  5. Not surprised at all, particularly as we move into the summer season. Loads on TLV flights are strong, and the high density in economy will no doubt add extra capacity. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the flight downgraded to a 772 once the summer season is over, however. Tel Aviv has a healthy level of demand year-round, but there is a definite summer peak in demand.

  6. @ W — I’m not sure what “fuss” you’re referring to. I’m suggesting that if you have the choice between nine seats per row and 10 seats per row, you should go with the former. Also, it’s not going to get you cheaper seats. Airlines don’t lower fares when they introduce a denser configuration.

  7. Not in the least surprised. Israel is a major high tech hub and innovator. Nearly every major US Silicon Valley company has branches in Israel, or some kind of cooperation/joint venture with anIsraeli company.

    Loads are near 100%, the line is extremely profitable and chock full of employees flying on their employer’s tab.

    Come over with United and head home with El Al (or at the very least fly them back in First to London and connect to the US from there)!

  8. Lucky now there’s no excuse to not go to TLV. Polaris on the way there then El Al via London or back to JFK. Would be such a great trip report!!

  9. Not related to this news but thought you might find it interesting UA announced seasonal summer service SFO-MUC on the 788.

  10. No, i’m not surprised. UA’s Newark – Tel Aviv is a very profitable route for UA. At some point there was even talk of adding a 3rd flight on some days. Substituting the 777-200 for the -300 gives UA extra capacity. BTW, Air Canada also deployed one of their first 787’s on their Toronto – Tel Aviv route. It instantly gave them more capacity compared to the 767-300 they were using.

  11. Yeah I’ve flown EWR to TLV and tried to use a GPU but quickly realized there was no chance in hell it would ever clear. Not only was it a long upgrade list on the day of departure but business class actually completely sold out ~4 weeks before the flight. I looked at other days for departure and all were similarly full in (paid) business – no R class availability months out either.

  12. W, everyone is different, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, for most adults, and especially those who are taller than 5-feet and who are NOT anorexic, the ten across seats per row at 17″ (or slightly less) versus nine across are not just ridiculously small for ANY flight longer than 90-mins, it’s an insult. Add in the “main cabin” rows where the pitch (legroom) just is 31″, and it’s not just an insult, it’s a dangerous form of abuse that puts every passenger’s health at risk from Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, often referred to as “Economy Class Syndrome”. Add into this equation, that these new 366-passenger planes will have four fewer bathrooms (ten) versus the 374 passenger 747’s that United is retiring by year’s end, and well, except perhaps for the “new plane smell” and updated seat back IFE, if one is unable to pay the $7,500 and higher, or the equivalent amount in shekels, or yuan, etc., that it will cost to sit in Polaris, but instead “only $1,500 or so” (which to most people is still a lot of hard earned money) to sit in the back of this unsafe (as in DVT) flying abomination, then for them Lucky is SPOT ON CORRECT. As someone who has long followed this industry, written extensively about it in the past, among many other things done in connection with the airline and travel industries, this “innovation” by United cuts both ways: Polaris holds the promise of being a dream for those fortunate enough to afford it…but for the rest/most of us, the back half of this new plane is a nightmare best avoided even if it means making a connection on another airline’s hub taking OLDER planes like 767’s, Airbus A-330’s, or widebody Jumbo jets like 747’s or Airbus A-380’s which have fuselages/cabins wide enough to fit ten seats per row (unlike the 777 which was designed for nine) and which also are equipped with several more (and larger) bathrooms. The latest models of Boeing widebodies, the 777 and 787 were designed for ONE LESS SEAT per row in economy than now being done by most airlines, and are BEST AVOIDED unless one is fortunate enough to be in the front premium cabin or true “international style” premium economy section. Otherwise, and quite literally as a matter of health and well being, I wholeheartedly agree with Lucky: when one is paying many hundreds or THOUSANDS of dollars, one should AVOID THIS “NEW” plane and one’s like it!!! It’s about a “fun” as flying a Boeing 737 anywhere, but only worse because sectors like EWR-TLV or SFO-anywhere in Asia are 12-15 hours long…at least with a 737 the misery is usually over within three hours or less! Oh, and one last thing, Lucky is also correct, if you really think fares go down on these densified flying abominations, I’ve got a very nice bridge nearby to sell you, too…

  13. Susan writes:

    “TLV is a money maker on their P/L reports.”

    Yeah well, that’s what happens when a country bans the ME3 airlines from competing. Even United ends up looking attractive.

  14. Howard,

    Yeah, sure, but when asked, people would rather be herded in and pay less, so who are we to question an airline that gives the customer what he/she wants?

  15. Matrin,

    Alas, true. The question then is, when does it cross the line, and thereby requiring remedies either “voluntarily” via an enlightened self-interest approach thru a trade association to keep regulators at bay? And failings that, by government intervention. These largely unsafe high density configurations are as much an abuse allowable by diminished competition as they are a function of passengers seeking the lowest fares offered, which in an age of diminishing competition usually go up, not down. A perfect example of this being the “basic economy” which in theory only a lawyer could love, claims “lower fares” are being offered, but in reality, for most passengers, results in an increased total fare significantly higher than in the past due to the plethora of fees that seem to serve the interests of the extremely few who benefit from the disproportionately high alllocation of resources to stock buybacks that excess profits from fees and upsells are designed to capture. When is enough, enough? The current practice of product degradation, or “unbundling” of standard product features that used to be part of the “basic” or core main cabin fare, and have instead been “repurposed” as “options”, “choices”, amenities or even perks and luxuries. As if traveling with a few pairs of underwear, socks, a change of clothes, and shoes is a “luxury” that must either “fit” under the seat in front of you, or subject to a punishment/penalty fee to use an overhead bin, much less one checked bag. Ask any parent traveling with their children if an overhead bin or at least one or more checked bag is a “luxury” they can forsake? The supposedly “current rage” of stripping the product doesn’t down to nothing to drive upsells, is neither new nor innovative. In fact, it’s nothing more than the long discredited classic “bait and switch” that railroads in the mid-1800’s used by offering THIRD CLASS cars/carriages that were roofless and had no seats so that only if one could not afford anything better. Does this sound familiar? This shameful practice was outlawed long ago for the railroads. The United Airlines new Boeing 777-300, a plane that will be flown almost exclusively on ultra-long haul sectors, and its main cabin configuration, along with other airlines and similarly configured ling-haul aircraft calls into question when just as happened with the clearly abusive practice seen in the railroads back in the mid-1800’s, when is enough goung to be enough before an abusive, deceptive practice, that somehow is managing to be dressed up as something its not, as in neither new, nor innovative, is going to be called out for what it truly is: deceitful, dishonest, and long ago discredited?

  16. Martin, apologies for the typo in your name…typing on the fly using hand-held devices often gets the better of me!!!

  17. New products, a super poor services and terrible flight attendants mean nothing, like those state owned airlines in China. But some airlines in Chinese do really well like hainan and Xiamen. American and united service are rubbish

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