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After seven years, United will soon be able to claim that its Polaris product has been installed across all international wide-body jets in the fleet. This means that customers will know what to expect when they board a United plane and won’t be surprised with outdated seats as they sometimes have over the past few years.
United began this rollout in 2017 when it announced Polaris. In December 2016, it released the following statement:
In setting out to create a transformative business class experience, United chose to outfit its widebody fleet with a custom-designed, exclusive-to-United seat, rather than select an option already in the marketplace. Designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom, each United Polaris seat will offer direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 6 foot 6 inches of bed space.
Crafted as individual, forward-facing, suite-like pods, each customer’s personal suite will feature a “Do Not Disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers. Complementing the new seats, United and PriestmanGoode have also conceived an all-new look for the United Polaris cabins.”
Having flown Polaris dozens of times, the seats are some of the more comfortable to fly, but not without drawbacks. Many Polaris cabins are not designed well for couples traveling together. I find that once in the seats, the level of privacy is excellent for being out of view for other passengers, but difficult to talk with a travel companion. The footwells outside of the bulkhead row are also too small for my feet and I always look to book row one.
Aircraft Roll-Out Status:
United will have Polaris and Premium Plus in all international wide-body aircraft within the next three months. These include:
- Boeing 767-300ER: 32/37 complete
- Boeing 767-400ER: 5/16 complete
- Boeing 777-300ER: 22/22 complete
- Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner: 12/12 complete
- Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner: 38/38 complete
- Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner: 21/21 complete
It’s amazing that it has taken United seven years to get to this point. Once complete, they’ll need to look forward to what’s next as many of United’s competitors have upgraded their seats during this time to more cutting edge seats and suites with doors and other amenities.
Anthony’s Take: I’m happy to see that the finish line is in sight. Overall, the hard product that United offers in Polaris is excellent (don’t get me started on the food, though). It will be interesting to see what’s next now that the aircraft will all be aligned.
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