And you never know; you might end up sitting next to United CEO Oscar Munoz and getting the chance to chat! Let’s start with the good news: If you’re flying on one of United’s 21 777-300ERs or 11 new 787-10s, you are absolutely certain to get the new seats. Missing from this list is United’s (relatively young) fleet of 787-8s and 787-9s, none of which have been retrofitted to feature the new seats. The airline’s current Polaris-equipped fleet actually breaks down as: Boeing 777-300ER: 21 of 21 (new) Boeing 777-200ER: 38 of 51 (retrofitted) Boeing 787-10: 11 of 11 (new) Boeing 787-9: 1 of 25 (retrofitted) Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. Stay connected with United. This was a “first” in several other ways as well: This is the first 787-10 to be operated by any U.S. airline, the first 787 to feature United’s new Polaris cabin and the first 787 scheduled for daily flights within the United States. Mobile Tools; Open UnitedHub.com in a new tab; Open United's Facebook page in a new tab Thankfully United has come a long way since those early days, taking delivery of new aircraft equipped with the sleek Polaris cabin and retrofitting dozens more. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. It was originally published on Jan. 24, 2019. Oceania. Solo travelers will prefer an odd-numbered window seat (A or L). Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. United is using its newest jet to give a serious upgrade to some transcontinental routes, launching the 787-10 on its premium Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) route, with Newark to San Francisco (SFO) to follow as it takes delivery of more planes. This guide will hopefully help clear this up and serve as the definitive guide on where to find and what to expect in United’s full Polaris business class. Related: The 9 best credit cards for flying United A custom scent, curated music playlist and subtle mood lighting also come together to create a memorable sensory experience. Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. The Points Guy will not sell your email. I would like to subscribe to The Points Guy newsletters and special email promotions. While it will be a while until these seats are actually representative of United’s long-haul fleet, this product is undeniably a huge step up from the one it replaced. We’ll do our best to update this guide as additional planes are retrofitted and new routes are added. The Polaris service includes a host of improvements over the old options, including all-new in-flight dining menus, seats and in-flight amenity kits. If you scroll down the homepage, you’ll see a box on the left with all the different types of alerts you can set. A workout tracker will make all your hard work visible – you’ll always know how demanding your workout was and how many calories you burned. Case in point: I booked Qatar’s fantastic Qsuite from Shanghai (PVG) to the Maldives (MLE) via Doha (DOH), and I specifically reserved a middle pair of seats with a double bed for me and my girlfriend. Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional fleet information. About 10 minutes after boarding started pre-departure drinks were offered, with the choice of sparkling wine, orange juice, and water — now that’s a pour! Please view our advertising policy page for more information. United’s handy Polaris tracker website (above) paints a fairly complete picture, but it’s typically a bit delayed. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. If you manage to find a saver-level seat, expect to pay about 80,000 MileagePlus miles each way to Asia or about 60,000 miles to Europe, but with the new variable pricing, it may be much worse. While all of United’s international business-class seats are now branded as Polaris, only some of the carrier’s long-haul flights currently offer the complete experience, including the new seats and lounges. Check the box for business class and click Search. A RED VENTURES COMPANY. When it comes to planes featuring the new Polaris seats, as it stands: All 777-300ERs and 787-10s have the new Polaris seats; 25 of 38 767-300ERs getting the new seats already have them, with the remaining expected to get them in 2020; 35 of 51 777-200ERs getting the new seats already have them, with the remaining expected to get them in 2020 You have two great ways to keep an eye on your reservation and know in advance if your flight is getting a serious upgrade or downgrade. Unfortunately it gets even more complicated. If your primary concern is locking in a lie-flat business-class award seat on a specific date to a fixed destination, the old planes will get the job done just fine. *Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. If the first available seat for upgrade is a United Premium Plus seat, we will continue to look for space in the United Polaris business class cabin should it become available. If you’d been holding off on booking a Polaris trip, United’s switch to dynamic award pricing likely threw a huge wrench in your plans, but here’s hoping that you’ll be able to experience the full Polaris product on your next international United flight! The airline expects its remaining 11 787-8 to also be fitted with Polaris by the first quarter of 2021. The Points Guy will not sell your email. Photo: Gabriel Leigh. With China and Hong Kong flights currently grounded, the 77Ws typically appear on the following long-haul routes from Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO): Meanwhile, the 787-10s are currently being used for premium transcontinental service between Newark and Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco, in addition to a number of international routes: If, on the other hand, you’re flying on one of United’s 777-200ERs, 767-300ERs, 787-8s or 787-9s, you might not be as lucky. When you’re training to reach a specific fitness goal, fitness trackers and sports watches can be a huge help. Europe. We're proud to offer United Polaris customers a chef-designed, multi-course inflight dining experience. United Polaris is a reinvention of our international premium cabin travel experience, offering elevated comfort and service from lounge to landing for a restful night's sleep in the air. We can see from the Polaris tracker that 27 of the 38 Boeing 767s have been retrofitted vs. only one of the 12 787-8s. United Airlines has provided Business Traveller with an update on the rollout of its Polaris business class seat, with 15 aircraft now fitted with the new product.. While Aeroplan passes on massive fuel surcharges for some airlines, including Lufthansa, they don’t for United. Some comments below may refer to an older version of this guide. Window seats (A and L) in odd-numbered rows are the best choice for all passengers, as there’s no way to sit next to someone you’re traveling with in this 1-1-1 layout. Today we’re going to give you some strategies to help with that very goal. Initially United just introduced the new service as well as a new lounge, and then a few months later the first plane with the new Polaris seats came into service. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. What you’re hoping to see instead is the 1-2-1 configuration shown below: This tells you, at the very least, that this flight is currently scheduled to be operated by a Polaris equipped jet, but as we’ll talk about in a minute even that isn’t a 100% guarantee. Unless you’re on a 777-300ER or 787-10, all of which feature the new Polaris seats, there’s still a chance you’ll get the old seats. Between United’s Polaris tracker, third-party Mainline Fleet Tracking and using ExpertFlyer to search for the new Polaris seatmap, you should be able to minimize the odds of any disappointing surprises. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. ExpertFlyer offers a number of different search options, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve selected the seat map search before filling in the info for your chosen flight. Is Amtrak’s big Rail Passengers Association point bonus worth the cost? According United’s Polaris tracker, the airline has already reconfigured 13 of 14 Boeing 767-300ERs, 13 of 51 Boeing 777-200s and all of its 777-300ERs and 787-10s were delivered to the airline with the new seats. Unfortunately since then, United’s execution of Polaris service has left a … Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Let’s use UA881, United’s daily nonstop flight from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) as an example. (It also partners with Capital One, though at a relatively poor 2:1 transfer ratio.) We worked with ergonomics experts and ran two rounds of sleep test to create the most comfortable inflight experience yet. This means that your “free” ticket really will be as close to free as possible, with under $10 in taxes. Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. I flew United 777-300ER Polaris between San Francisco and Hong Kong a couple of months ago, and had a good experience. While there are many things about the way United introduced Polaris that rightfully angered some customers, it’s nice to see an airline investing a significant amount of money to deliver a better onboard experience. The airline was always stingy with saver-level business-class award space, but the same routes that were deemed premium enough to get the new Polaris seats first are now some of the hardest ones on which to find award seats. United has a handy site where you can track the progress on Polaris retrofits: Click here to check it out. You don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of different aircraft models to do this research, as the pattern is same for every long-haul aircraft in United’s fleet: 777s and 787s with the new Polaris seats have a 1-2-1 layout in business class, while those with older seats do not. The lounge offers customers three distinct experiences: an area to relax, an area to recharge and an area to engage. You can look at any of United’s routes operated by a 787-8 to see just how variable it is, but let’s use UA35 from San Francisco (SFO) to Osaka, Japan (KIX) as an example. A few of these planes are already operating, and we tested the new configuration out on its first flight from Newark to London-Heathrow. The flight I booked from Doha to Male was operated by an A350-900 featuring Qatar’s excellent reverse herringbone business class seats but not Qsuite. United Polaris Lounge Houston. Meanwhile the retrofitted 777-200s feature 50 of the same seats, with 32 in the forward cabin and 18 in the rear. While the core design elements of the Polaris cabin are identical across the fleet, there are minor variations between different aircraft types due to sizing constraints. N644UA, a 767-300ER that’s been flying for United since 1991, spent four months on the ground in Hong Kong, where it underwent a complete cabin overhaul. You can use United’s Polaris tracker tool as a guide for determining which planes have available seating. Thankfully United recently announced plans to begin retrofitting its 787s, with the first refreshed plane expected to enter service by the end of 2019. CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners. Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. One of them is a new aircraft alert. If, on the other hand, you’re only looking to fly the most up-to-date product, you simply can’t be certain that that you’ll get a plane with the new Polaris seats. While the Polaris soft product (food, service, amenities) rolled out a little early, the full experience, including the redesigned modern seats, launched in early 2017 when United took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER. United’s 777-300ERs feature 60 Polaris seats in a customized 1-2-1 configuration, with 28 seats in the front cabin and 32 in the rear. If you’re not familiar with ExpertFlyer, you should start by reading this beginners guide. United has come a long way towards making the Polaris product actually representative of its long-haul fleet, but it still has a ways to go as well. 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. These seats are closer to the window and offer much more privacy than the even row window seats, as you can see below (the odd-numbered seats are in the front and back, while the even-numbered row is in the middle). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Seat selection on the 767 follows the same guidelines as the 777s. These include United’s own MileagePlus program, Air Canada’s affiliated Aeroplan program, Avianca LifeMiles and Singapore’s KrisFlyer program. Is Amtrak’s big Rail Passengers Association point bonus worth the cost? Don't miss a shred of important travel news! Follow along with the United Polaris tracker to see the fleet retrofit. The 767-300ERs are an equally tricky story, with only 57% of them having received the new Polaris treatment. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. Sign up for our FREE bi-weekly email updates. You should also aim to avoid sitting in the front or back of the forward cabin, or in the front of the second Polaris cabin, since these seats are right next to the galleys, lavatories and walk-up bar. Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. United MileagePlus miles are relatively easy to earn, both from cobranded cards like the United Explorer Card  and by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. Longer flights are attractively priced as well, with one-way Polaris awards costing the following amounts: While LifeMiles did recently announce changes to partner award rates within the U.S., these didn’t extend to Polaris, so if you can find I class availability with United, Avianca should be able to book it. Unfortunately, this isn’t foolproof, as United’s 767-300ERs and 777-200s are all listed the same way (“763” and “772”, respectively). On its tracker, it states that the Polaris suite will start on the 787-9 in late 2019. Along with the airline’s 9 787-10s (out of 14 on order), these are the only planes in the fleet where you’re absolutely guaranteed to get the new Polaris seats. You can follow United’s Polaris tracker for fleet and lounge updates, but here’s where things stand at the moment according to United: As a result, you have some serious guesswork to do to make sure you book the full Polaris experience. United has since taken delivery of all 18 of the 777-300ERs (also referred to as “77Ws”) that is has on order. The 787-10 has all 44 of its Polaris seats spread across 11 rows in a single cabin. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. More and more Boeing 767-300ER and 777-200ER offer the seats as well. Each of the Polaris lounges features an open and airy design, restaurant-quality a la carte dining, and an aviation-themed cocktail menu. If you’re traveling by yourself, we actually recommend shooting for a bulkhead window seat (1A, 1L, 9A or 9L), since you’ll have more room for your feet and won’t be staring at the head of the person in front of you. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. Overall, of the aircraft that have been started, that’s a 62-percent chance of getting Polaris. Despite the slower-than-expected progress, United recently announced the tenth route on which it will fly a 777-300ER with its new Polaris seats. Simply fill in your flight information and ExpertFlyer will send you an email if it detects a change in your scheduled aircraft type. However, if you do find saver business-class award space (I fare class on United, just like all other Star Alliance carriers), you should be able to book it with any of the below programs. A RED VENTURES COMPANY. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. All of United Airlines B777-300er and B787-10 offer the new Polaris Business Class product. Long before the first Polaris lounge opened or the first plane to feature the new Polaris seats completed a single flight, billboards and TV ads were popping up all over the country promising a re-imagined flying experience “from Ahhhh to Zzzzzz.”. Our focus as we developed the United Polaris experience was on providing our international travelers with what they've asked for: better sleep in the sky. NOTE: This is The Points Guy’s permanent page on United Polaris. If you board the plane to see a stunningly blue Polaris cabin, kick back and enjoy it, but understand the odds currently aren’t in your favor with these types of plane. The first is AwardWallet. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. However, the disconnect between expectation and reality created a lot of confusion around the Polaris brand and what it actually entails. This brings me to my next suggestion and yet another functionality in ExpertFlyer that can help …. A state-of-the-art space starts with easy aisle access at each seat. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. While not a perfect indicator, a change in seat assignment often corresponds to a change in aircraft type. While the Polaris soft product (food, service, amenities) rolled out a little early, the full experience, including the redesigned modern seats, launched in early 2017 when United took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER. Since you’ll find Polaris primarily on long-haul flights to Europe, Asia and South America, we’ll focus on those destinations. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). They feature either 30 or 46 Polaris seats laid out in a 1-1-1 configuration. When looking to book Polaris seats, make sure to verify your route and flight will have the new seat, in addition to the Polaris service offered aircraft new and old. Here’s the foot space for a non-bulkhead seat, measured with a 13-inch MacBook Air: Here’s that same computer in the foot space of a bulkhead seat: If those are taken, the other odd-numbered window seats should be your next plan of attack, though be aware that 7A and 7L on both the 772 and 77W lack a window, as you can see in the below picture. The retrofitted 767s are a much simpler story. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. So far, the first five have opened in Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Houston (IAH) and Los Angeles (LAX). How to Earn Miles to Book Polaris Everything US citizens need to know about the Bahamas’ simplified entry process, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Tel Aviv (TLV) — only flights 90/91, though flights 84/85 are operated by a 787-10 with Polaris seats, Shanghai (PVG) — seasonally, from Oct. 27 to March 27, U.S. to Australia & New Zealand: 80,000 miles, U.S. to Europe: 55,000 – 57,500 miles (depending on final destination), U.S. to Asia: 75,000 – 77,500 miles (depending on final destination), U.S. to Southern South America: 55,000 miles, U.S. to Asia: 105,500 – 115,000 miles (depending on final destination), U.S. to Australia & New Zealand: 130,000 miles, Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. There are four more locations waiting on Polaris lounges, including United’s hub at Washington Dulles (IAD) and three international locations: London (LHR), Hong Kong (HKG) and Tokyo (NRT). The same holds true for 12A and 12L on the 772 and 16A and 16L on the 77W. However, this doesn’t mean that your flight will feature United’s new Polaris seat, or even the new Polaris lounge. Couples traveling together should pick seats D and G in an odd-numbered row (shown below) so they’ll be able to communicate during the flight. Along with the airline’s 7 787-10s (out of 14 on order), these are the only planes in the fleet where you’re absolute… As a member of Star Alliance, there are several different programs that make it easy to book awards on United. You can tell you’re on an updated plane by looking for the 1-1-1 configuration (rather than the 2-2-1 on the older layout). Elite members with Star Alliance Gold designation on their boarding passes don’t get automatic access when flying economy (as they would with regular United Clubs). Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Today we’ll focus on this mixed part of the fleet, and talk about the tools you can use to increase your odds of flying in a modern Polaris cabin. The new Polaris lounges have been a huge step up from the carrier’s tired old United Clubs and Global First lounges. Due to the smaller fuselage of the 767, the Polaris seats here are 24 inches wide and have 75 inches of pitch. Restaurant-quality dining. Check out Polar's high quality fitness trackers, heart rate monitors for running, triathlon and cross training & GPS-enabled cycling computers and sports watches for endurance training. It’s time to rethink digital advertising. These lounges are restricted to passengers traveling in international Star Alliance business or first class. United Airlines is rearranging its Polaris coverage over winter. Asia. For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter. 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Polar Unite motivates you to stay consistent in your training and makes staying fit and healthy a … This included opening nine new Polaris lounges around the globe. The 16-row, 46-seat cabin is good news for award travelers, as it means more business-class seats (and therefore hopefully more award space), but expect service to be slow with that many passengers. The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. © 2021 THE POINTS GUY, LLC. United actually has a clever “Polaris tracker” on its website that shows the progress, and just like Premium Plus, they plan to add one newly equipped … Regardless of whether you’re alone or with a friend/family member, seats D and G in even-numbered rows are worth avoiding, as they don’t provide any privacy nor do they have any window views to make up for it. It’s easier to search for award space if you perform an advanced search on the United website and check the box that says “my dates are flexible,” but as you can see, San Francisco to Hong Kong doesn’t have a single saver-level business-class award seat for months at a time. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. You’re good to go if you’re flying a 777-300ER or 787-10, but that’s where the certainty ends. While some people like surprises, I’d much rather know exactly which plane I’ll be flying before I leave for the airport (as well as its tail number, recent flights, safety record and more, but I can be a bit nerdy like that). United Polaris was introduced in December 2016. Each seat also features a 16-inch in-flight entertainment screen. View list below for exact numbers. KrisFlyer points are also incredibly easy to earn because they are a 1:1 transfer partner of all three major transferable points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. United’s approach to rolling out its new Polaris premium-class product has been a long-running saga. At the time of writing, this route has had the new Polaris seats for just one of this week’s three flights, with the old 2-1-2 configuration for the rest. After that our next choice would be a slightly less private even-numbered window seat, followed by a seat in the center section. Avianca LifeMiles has risen from obscurity to rapidly become one of the most popular ways to book Star Alliance awards. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. It wasn’t just United’s aging fleet that was in desperate need of a facelift, and part of Polaris includes bringing the ground experience up to modern day standards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. A few weeks after booking I got a notification from AwardWallet telling me my seat assignments had changed from two middle seats to two window seats in different rows. At 22 inches wide, SeatGuru says that the seats on the 772 are one inch narrower than the 77W, but when TPG Senior Writer JT Genter flew the first 772 retrofitted with Polaris seats, he said it felt the same as the 77W. The new Polaris cabin looks very sleek and is especially blue, due in large part to the aggressive use of mood lighting. Here are the one-way award ticket costs for Polaris flights: Aeroplan should have access to the same saver award inventory as United, and you can book directly on their website. It’s much more of a mixed bag when it comes to retrofitting existing aircraft with the new Polaris seats. I love using this tool to manage all my travel reservations, as it keeps me from making stupid time zone mistakes or not having an important confirmation number in front of me when I need it. You’ll pay only 25,000 miles, as Avianca doesn’t add a surcharge for transcontinental flights. Nevertheless, this can be a great feature to let you know if your flight has been changed from a guaranteed Polaris flight to one that requires a roll of the dice. I load all my flight and hotel reservations to my account, and it automatically alerts me if there are any changes to my seat assignment. A painfully ironic case in point: When a former TPG staffer experienced one of the worst flights of his life (for reasons well beyond the fact that he was seated in United’s outdated business class), he was told to wait under this Polaris ad in the United Club for a manager to come speak to him. United has come a long way since the early days of the Polaris business class launch. However, you also have to realize that United hasn’t even started on the 767-400ER or the 787-9s, of which fleet-tracking website airfleets.net says United has 16 and 25, respectively. Overview Polaris destinations on world map . See, United’s dreaded eight-across international business class, 777-300ER Polaris Hong Kong (HKG) to San Francisco (SFO), 777-200 Polaris Washington D.C. (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA), switching to a 777-200 with old seats on Dec. 3, 2019, switching to 2x daily 777-200s on Oct. 26, 2019, all three variations of the 787 Dreamliner, United recently announced plans to begin retrofitting its 787s, TPG Senior Writer JT Genter flew the first 772 retrofitted with Polaris seats, several different programs that make it easy to book awards on United, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points, effectively using variable/dynamic pricing, Singapore’s KrisFlyer program has undergone some devaluations in recent years, Calling all Queen’s Gambit fans: There’s a new hotel room in Lexington, KY, just for you. © 2021 THE POINTS GUY, LLC. According to the Polaris tracker website Dulles is the only location currently under construction, but United hasn’t shared updated opening dates for any of these lounges so it might still be a while until they open their doors to premium passengers. If you’re looking to fly United’s new 787-10 on a transcontinental route, it’s cheaper to book through Avianca than United. Instead of opting for a standard reverse herringbone or staggered seat like many airlines, United has an exclusive five-year license on the design for these seats, so it’ll be a while before any airline can copy the Polaris layout. For now, your best indicator of whether you’ll be getting the full Polaris experience is still the aircraft on which you’re flying. The 777-200s have been sporadically operating long-haul routes like Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and Washington-Dulles (IAD) to London-Heathrow (LHR). More heavily in marketing billboards than in actually getting its game-changing new cabin. 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