United Airlines is (finally) rather quickly retrofitting its 777-200 longhaul fleet to add new Polaris business class seats. But there are still “old” aircraft floating around and I very much enjoy them.
I wrote about this older seating configuration recently when I encountered it on a domestic flight, but it was the first time I had flown internationally on this configuration in at least a year.
> Read More: A Supremely Comfortable Business Class Seat, Even At Eight-Across
Part of it is nostalgia; this is a seat I have flown around the world on with United over the years, long before the Continental merger. It is tied to many happy memories, including trips to Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America. But it is more than that.
It’s also a darn comfortable seat. I know the pictures perhaps give it a deceptively uncomfortable appearance. And frankly it is cramped by many objective measure. There’s little privacy and the lack of storage space is annoying. But after a refreshing night’s sleep from San Francisco to London, I was reminded again of how comfortable this seat is.
I won’t provide a full flight review because I have provided so many United reviews this year alone. Instead, I’ll just share a few quick highlights.
Dinner was served after takeoff, which included mixed nuts, a duck appetizer, and green salad.
For my main course, I chose the Ginseng Chicken Bowl, which is a great choice I’ve ordered multiple times now and wrote about here.
> Read More: United Pulls Off Incredible Bowl Of Soup
I’ve been turning them down more lately, but I had an ice cream sundae with chocolate chunks, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream.
I’ll note that you might want to bring your own salad dressing, because the pomegranate acai or the Asian sesame that pops up all the time are both far too sweet. Since United no longer offers a choice of dressing in business class, I bring my own or ask for a balsamic vinaigrette from economy class.
For breakfast I had a cheese omelet with fruit, yogurt, and a croissant.
I do think it is time, past time really, that United updates this seat. While I think those who complain about it haven’t actually flown it, the new(er) Polaris seats offer more space, more privacy, direct aisle access, and personal storage. Those are all important selling points in a competitive market. But I will really miss this seat and hope it sticks around on Hawaiian routes for many years to come. I suspect, though, this was my last transatlantic flight on the old seat.
I guess the well-padded seat is nice? I just could never get over the lack of privacy. And I always felt badly for falling asleep and trapping someone from getting to the aisle (or even creepier as a woman, feeling them crawl over me to get out). And the long wait for the bathrooms. I think I am not as nostalgic as you are 🙂
Also, I don’t understand the duck appetizer- it is not something most people eat, why would they eat it on a plane? I just skip it since I am a pescatarian but I much preferred the salmon.
I actually thought with the dill, mustard, and cranberries the duck was a nice appetizer.
Ah the memories! My preferred seat was always 6J. It is this business class seat that I also flew the most on UA with. This seat has the best padding compared to the subsequent iterations of the seat.
“While I think those who complain about it haven’t actually flown it, the new(er) Polaris seats”
I have to disagree. I’ve seen people who have flown it complain about it, just as I have seen people who have flown it and loved it. And even people who aren’t huge fans would agree it is a nice upgrade from the other seats United offers.
Nostalgia is fine, but I think the only people who will genuinely miss these seats are parents traveling with 2 kids.
I can’t help but to butt in. We just flew home last week from London to NJ with the Polaris equipment, I had heard you could get a mattress pad for more comfort and asked for one. Not only is the Polaris the most uncomfortable seat I’ve ever had but the mattress pad was worthless as well. Absolutely no padding existed. Beyond the seat discomfort, the lack of space for myself and anything else is appalling! There wasn’t even space for a mid size handbag so I had to store everything above me. I will say on a positive note that the service on our flight was exemplary which hasn’t always been the case. And I do appreciate the direct access to the aisle so I don’t have to crawl over anyone but it should be a larger (yes, I know that’s asking for a miracle these days when many of the airlines including UA just want more seat utilization!) and needs more padding! Try Delta international next time!
Oh look. A visit from Contrarian Troll.
Also, you aren’t wrong about the dressing.
I’ve upgraded on this configuration once (since my company wouldn’t allow business class). Having never flown a 1-2-1 business class on a widebody, I thought the seat was awesome (instead of Econ+ on a 12 hour flight). I’m flying to Tokyo next April, and used miles for First on JAL and ANA outbound and inbound respectively. I’ll get a real sense of the difference at that point.
Enjoy your trip!
What’s with the dressing? It’s truly awful, I have complained multiple times. Could we please just have oil and vinegar?
Agreed. For about a year that’s what we had. But if you don’t bring your own, know that economy class always has balsamic vinaigrette, so you can request that.
I’m glad to say I never purchased a seat in J on that configuration. But I flew it many times with upgrades and it was fine. The rear facing seats are a novelty and my favorite seat was (is if I get to fly it again) 6D.
There are only seven still flying and of them three will get Polaris and the other four go to the domestic/Hawaii fleet (and will get the high density configuration). And, just as with the barcaloungers they replaced, you’ll still be able to get them on the HDs for several years to come.