Today, shortly after 10 am, unveiled a completely revamped business class product it’s calling Polaris—and frequently, “the shining new star of business class travel.” It was, in my opinion, a sparkling production, even by the standards of , one of Manhattan’s coolest venues and the setting for Thursday’s much anticipated press event.
More importantly, it appears to be a move worthy of praise. Following a number of other changes—including a revamped culinary offering, the return of free snacks in coach and a modernizing fleet—United’s hard work in developing Polaris shows a commitment to improving its image. December 1, when Polaris will debut, will signal the next phase of the airline’s push to raise the bar (or simply better compete) in domestic airline travel.
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If you don’t fly business class, you don’t stand to benefit immediately from all that is meant to be exciting about Polaris. But, as newly restored CEO Oscar Munoz told it, the hope is that customers will take notice of the thought hours the airline is putting in and the momentum that it is gathering. More specifically, the many (12,000+ allegedly) hours of research pushed the airline to prioritize sleep, and facilitation of restful sleep appears to a major strength of the Polaris experience. Among the features that Polaris passengers can expect:
- Lie-flat seats with up to 6’6″ of bed space custom designed in partnership with and (with “a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign)
- Custom bedding designed by Saks Fifth Avenue and cool-gel memory foam pillow
- toiletry products (and calming lavender pillow mist)
- 100% cotton pajamas and h slippers
- Noise-reducing headphones
- Updated, route-inspired, seasonal menus built by chefs (and flexibility to move up your meal to accommodate your sleep schedule)
- A la carte comfort foods like lobster mac-n-cheese and grilled cheese
- Pre-departure beverage and gourmet chocolate
- Nine premium United Polaris lounges that will be opening soon (first at Chicago O’Hare on December 1, 2016, and then in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, and London Heathrow next year)
United Polaris will be available on Boeing 777-300ER and 787-10 aircraft, Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, and Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits. Here’s a minimally impressive photo of a Polaris seat as it will appear on these planes from the event this morning:
Here’s much more on the news, the new product and what we can expect from Polaris and United going forward:
- (USA Today)
- (The Points Guy)
- (View from the Wing)
- (Chicago Sun-Times)
- (The Wall Street Journal)
- (CNN Money)
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