Something is brewing at United Airlines concerning its longhaul Polaris Business Class product. I’ve only been able to put together a few puzzle pieces, but it appears a big announcement, dubbed Polaris 2.0, is planned for September 20, 2023.
Polaris 2.0: New Bedding, Other Soft Products Improvements Coming Soon?
After my story yesterday about new tableware possibly coming to Polaris, an inside source shared a couple of memos with Live And Let’s Fly about other changes that are on the horizon. First, it appears that new bedding is coming:
Later this month, we’re launching new United Polaris, Premium Transcontinental, Hawaii and International United Premium Plus (UPP) bedding, as well as pilot and flight attendant crew rest bedding. This change is part of a sustainability initiative to reduce single-use plastics on board. After this change, we will have no single-use plastics on our customer bedding in the premium cabins. Additionally, the new bedding will be made of sustainable materials.
United is now wrapping slippers in craft paper rather than plastic and the bedding change could be as simple as new packaging for the existing product. However, the last sentence above suggests all-new bedding. The Saks Fifth Avenue-branded bedding is among the best in the skies and so I hope that the next iteration of bedding is not downgraded.
Perhaps United will introduce bedding like Delta, which comes in a reusable cloth bag with a zipper and is made of 100% recycled polyester (rPET). Delta ditched its popular Westin-branded bedding for this more environmentally-friendly initiative and I could see United doing the same thing.
The upside is the Delta bedding is still quite nice. The downside is that the bedding on United right now is one of the strongest upsides of the product: there is absolutely no need to tinker with what is already working so well.
In a separate memo to ground staff, United used the term “Polaris 2.0” to reference the changes coming on September 20, 2023:
On September 20, we’re implementing Polaris 2.0, which features new amenity items and seat provisioning.
To prepare employees for the upcoming changes, a “one-hour instructor-led course” is obligatory and must be completed prior to the end of next week.
What Will United Reveal?
The signs are pointing to a soft product relaunch. New amenity kits were recently introduced and new tableware and food and beverage (including cocktails, which have not previously been menu items) are being evaluated. With the memos above, it appears an all-new bedding will be introduced as well.
Taken together, this appears to be a concerted effort by United to evolve its Polaris product. Whether that will be positive or negative for premium cabin passengers remains to be seen.
United is launching “Polaris 2.0” on September 20, 2023. While details about the upcoming changes are vague at this point, I would expect an evolution rather than a revolution. It appears new bedding is coming and the changes in bedding may coincide with a launch of new tableware and potentially additional drink options onboard, like cocktails.
What do you think United will introduce on 20 September?
top image: United Airlines