Let’s take a look at the current state of affairs in longhaul business class on United Airlines. I just flew on a 767-300ER in Polaris from London to Chicago.
United Airlines Polaris Business Class 2024: What To Expect
Stepping onboard, I found my seat in 1L. I prefer bulkhead seats because the cutout for your feet is much more generous than in other rows. Even though the seat was next to both a galley and lavatory, I was not disturbed during the flight.
However, I was disturbed by the dirt and grime around my seat. I just do not understand why United cannot give its aircraft a deep cleaning…
Why tick people off from the moment they board by not cleaning planes? I bet that debris had been there for weeks…
The bedding in Polaris is quite nice, including a duvet, large pillow, cooling foam gel pillow, and lighter blanket. I ended up sleeping for most of the flight and that is what United does well: cool cabins with individual air vents plus great bedding.
In that sense, I could not have asked for a better flight. In the nine hours to Chicago I slept for over 6.5 hours.
My flight was delayed to damage discovered on a the cargo door. We sat on the ground for an hour before Untied decided it would defer repairs on it.
Dinner was served after takeoff.
First came a hot towel, followed by warm nuts and a choice of beverage.
I had pre-ordered a sirloin steak (with sweet potato mash and roasted asparagus) and it was served on a single tray along with a side salad, bread, and appetizer (considering the main course, I chose burrata over a beef appetizer).
It was certainly a lot of food…essentially two salads plus a huge hunk of beef along with the yams and asparagus. The quality of the meat was not great, but at least it was fairly lean.
I do think it is time for United to return to three-course service, serving the main course separately, but the upside to this single-tray service was that I was done eating just an hour into the flight.
For dessert, I imbibed on an ice cream sundae…the quality of the ice cream is better ex-London than from the USA.
I woke up about an hour before landing and was offered a pre-arrival meal of a hamburger with French Fries or mushroom risotto with a side salad. I ordered the risotto, which looked like a grog of baby food and was overwhelmed by peas.
I rose to use the lavatory before landing and found the trash bin overflowing with paper towels.
United offers wi-fi onboard as well as a respectable library of movies, TV shows, and games. Oppenheimer is a selection this month. I’ve been waiting for that!
Noise-cancelling headphones are provided. While not of great quality, at least they do not have to be collected before landing.
United is currently offering Polaris passengers an amenity kit from Therabody (like fanny pack) with skin products including mist, eye serum, lip balm, and hand cream.
We landed about 40 minutes late. Chicago (ORD) is my penultimate least favorite US port of entry, since the journey from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1 is also burdensome (only Denver is worse…).
Overall, I slept for 6.5 hours and find the bedding and seat on United more comfortable than many of its peers. That is always a positive. However, the poor condition of the cabin, particularly the dirt, is such an unnecessary problem and while the food is better than it was a year ago, the quality is still not great.
Put simply, the flight was unmemorable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but do not expect to be “wowed” when flying Polaris.