United’s retrofitted 767-300 Polaris Business Class cabin provided great comfort during a recent morning flight from Amsterdam to Newark.
I checked in online and totally bypassed the check-in counters at AMS. After spending a bit of time in the ASPIRE lounge, I headed to the gate and was among the first to board.
Amsterdam (AMS) – Newark (EWR)
Tuesday, September 11
Duration: 8hr, 20min
Distance: 3,656 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 6A (Business Class)
United 767-300 Polaris Business Class Seat
This flight was all about the seat for me. I chose to connect in Newark instead of Houston, even though I have yet to check out the Polaris Lounge in Houston, just for the seat. The Polaris cabin includes 30 lie-flat seats staggered over a 1-1-1 configuration. I really commend United for squeezing so many seats in the cabin yet still ensuring that each person has direct aisle access.
Some complain that these seats are not ideal for couples traveling together, but I think couples get along better when they sleep well and this seat is much more comfortable than the previous generation.
The seat includes a shelf large enough for books or electronic items, a small cabinet for storage, coat hook, reading light, and power port with separate USB charger. There is plenty of legroom in the footrest.
Part of the tray table folds up to create a stand for tablets or mobile phones. There’s also an additional USB charger adjacent to the monitor.
United offers Saks Fifth Avenue bedding in business class, which is among the best in the skies. That aided my rest, along with individual air nozzles.
United 767-300 Polaris Business Class Lavatory
After takeoff, I changed into pajamas. The lavatory is small, but was very clean. It included Cowshed amenities: I love the spray/toner.
United 767-300 Polaris Business Class Service
The Newark-based crew provided excellent service onboard. I slept through most of the flight, but the purser worked my side of the aisle and was charming and friendly.
United now has added blue cloths to make the beverage carts look a bit more attractive:
United 767-300 Polaris Business Class Dining
Meal service on this flight included breakfast after takeoff followed by lunch prior to landing. Here’s the menu:
Breakfast begin with “overnight oats” (bircher muesli), a croissant, and fruit plate. The oats had some coconut in them. And of course every longhaul meal on a United flight begins with a hot towel and mixed nuts.
For my main course, I chose a cheese omelet. It arrived very well-done, but thankfully still tasted good. I skipped the ham and am always afraid to eat those tomatoes for fear of squirting them all over.
A snack station was set up on the shelf in front of row one after the breakfast service. It included whole fruit, sandwiches, chips, and candy.
Prior to landing, lunch was served. I chose the chicken breast served with Israeli couscous and a side salad. United has switched from balsamic vinaigrette to a sweet mango dressing. I miss the balsamic…
I also asked for a sandwich from economy class, which I probably did not need but ate anyway. These sandwiches are very tasty and I almost always ask for one when flying in business class from Europe to the USA on United.
United 767-300 Polaris Business Class IFE + Wi-Fi
I watched the latest Tomb Raider movie while I was eating breakfast and also had to send out a few emails. Internet worked well and the latest IFE system onboard this aircraft responds very quickly, a huge improvement from the old system. TV shows and games were also available. The 767-300s have Air Traffic Control available “Channel 9” which hearkens back both the old days of flying United.
Noise-cancelling headphones are provided:
United 767-300 Polaris Business Class Amenities
Gel pillows are now automatically provisioned on seats, but you still must ask for mattress pads. These make a big difference, so ask for them.
An amenity kit included socks, eyeshade, tissues, comb, pen, toothbrush, toothpaste, ear plugs, and Cowshed skincare items. I didn’t open mine so I could donate it to charity.
This is a relatively short review because I spent the flight sleeping, but that’s actually my point: the most important thing about business class is the seat, and United shines in this category with its new Polaris seat. The seat is comfortable, private, and the bedding is excellent. While I may prefer the food and little houses on KLM, I’d take United for the seat.
“I really commend United for squeezing so many seats in the cabin”
I wonder if any of that came at the expense of space in economy…
“Some complain that these seats are not ideal for couples traveling together, but I think couples get along better when they sleep well and this seat is much more comfortable than the previous generation.”
I don’t think it’s an issue of preferring the previous generation seats, but rather, preferring the set-up on the 777, where the 1-2-1 configuration means you get the new seats plus you’re still able to sit together.
“The oats had some coconut in them”
As per the menu, it was coconut milk, which makes me wonder if you could ask them to swap out the coconut milk for cow’s milk.
Glad you enjoyed the food, but that breakfast entree did look appetizing at all. Especially for a business class meal.
Did you book this with points or pay $$$ for it?
Are you sure you were on United? Doesn’t look anything like my $600 one way from IAD to CLE last year on an ERJ145.
Your 1.5 hr IAD to CLE regional flight is very different from a 9hr AMS to EWR widebody flight
If you’re concerned about squirting, don’t eat it so vigorously. Go slow.
That omelette looks abominable. I thought it was a burnt pancake or toast at first glance.
1-1-1 makes sense on the 767 given how narrow the plane is. How does seat comfort and space compare to Polaris on the 777-300?
Not going to deny that it looks bad. Just want to stress again that at least it was a tasty meal. Sometimes United does the presentation very well. Less so ex-Europe.
I’m not a fan of those noisy inferior Boeings and even less the outdated 767’s. For me 737/757/767 are out of the question, 777/787/747 I only consider if no viable Airbus widebody alternative is available.
I flew a Polaris-equipped 767-300 last week. Those new interiors are beautiful in both cabins. The economy cabin has been entirely refitted – new sidewalls, overhead bins, lighting, seats, carpets and stellar new IFE.
I’ll take one of these “inferior” 767’s any day. There’s nothing wrong with them.
““Some complain that these seats are not ideal for couples traveling together, but I think couples get along better when they sleep well and this seat is much more comfortable than the previous generation.”
What Aaron said. I really like the 77W Polaris layout because there’s a little something for everyone – privacy if you want it, honeymoon seats if you don’t – but on the 763 it’s geared entirely towards privacy. And yes, while my wife and I do get along better when we both sleep well, it’s also a real drag when we can’t converse at all on a long TATL/TPAC flight (why I also generally dislike reverse herringbone layouts). Granted, the 763 just isn’t wide enough to accommodate the full Polaris layout, so I suppose UA’s done the best they can with what they have.
BTW, I feel your pain on those tomatoes. I love tomatoes, and they are tasty, but I may or may not have made a mess all over my shirt the last time I tried to eat them.
For Economy flyers there may be many reasons to choose other airlines, and certainly in most instances, Airbus’s much better than ANY densified ten abreast Boeing 777 or nine abreast 787 (both abominations for ANY long haul flight in Y class when “densified”), but apart from the stingy 31” pitch in “standard” Economy, the 2-3-2 seven abreast configuration, which means there’s just ONE middle seat per row to avoid, instead of three or four, the 18.2” width per seat makes these among the widest Economy class seats on any airline on any airplane, Boeing or Airbus, for medium and long haul flights.
In fact, if one cannot afford the Polaris seats, but can step up to the E+ seats which have 34” pitch, then United’s modernized Boeing 767-300s might just be among the best options available for Economy (Plus) class travelers!
As someone who does whatever it takes to AVOID any of Boeing’s ghastly and atrocious densified 777 or 787 beasts, for myself, and anyone among my family/close friends who asks me to book their flights, United’s “life enxtended” (aka those with the real Polaris seats) 767s may be old on the outside, but the new cabins inside are every bit as good, and perhaps even better than 90% of the newer, but far LESS comfortable 777s and 787s that have replaced 747s and the nine abreast 777s (which were very nice in Economy until the greedy jerks hijacked our airlines and purposely degraded them so they could turn them into their personal ATMs).
Needless to say, a 7-abreast United 767-300 that has been “refreshed”/modernized with 18.2” wide Economy seats hands down beats any narrow-body, Boeing (737/757) or Airbus (A321) on ANY flight, long-, medium-, or short-haul for those who fly in Economy (as 85% do)!
PS: those meals did NOT look appetizing at all – and as the expression goes, “we eat with our eyes”. United cannot possibly hope to achieve “first tier” status for its Polaris product (no matter how good the seats and bedding may be) if its catering looks this bad – even if it tastes good.
Brown, bordering on burnt eggs? Seriously! (Ewww.)
And the oatmeal looked more like something (baby food? mystery mush?) one might expect to find at Denny’s at 3am, than something one expects to see in a premium class product aspiring to be viewed as “World Class”.
JMHO – of course!
I’m amazed you got any extra food! My g/f and I flew Polaris Newark to Buenos Aires and back, and when we asked for an additional meal (only if there were extras, of course) were told no. Of course the dessert and wine trays were left out in the galley for snacking, but that’s not really substantial enough for me and I dislike empty sugar calories.
That looks like regular couscous, not Israeli. Israeli couscous looks like larger pearls.
I’m flying this configuration Sunday from Munich to Houston. I’m wondering which seat you think is preferable? The slanted ones with one window and a table in front, or the straighter ones with two windows and the same table towards the isle?
I prefer the odd-numbered seats, either A or L.
Ah ol, so the non-slanted seats closer to the window, and the arm table towards the aisle. That’s what I picked… 7A.
This wasn’t the original airplane I was flying in.. It as a Boeing 787-800, which appeared to have older Continental Business First seating. I picked the last in the A aisle, 6A. I got surprised yesterday to find the plane had been switched on me. But this will be the first time I’ve flown in the new Polaris configuration, and I’m excited to see how it goes.
how was your flight?
Thank you for the review and photos. This was very helpful.