Much like the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger, there is a secret menu in United Polaris Business Class that requires a bit of inside knowledge or careful reading to take advantage of.
As you board, you’ll find a plush pillow, light blanket, and rolled up heavier blanket already on your seat. That already constitutes one of the better business class bedding products.
But there’s more. You just have to know to ask for it.
1. Cooling Memory-Foam Gel Pillow
This pillow actually is very helpful. It is great to sleep on and has some sort of cooling agents to make it very pleasant to the touch upon contact.
2. Saks Fifth Avenue Mattress Cushion
Just like at home, a mattress cushion makes a huge cover in overall bed comfort. United’s is particularly soft and white in color to match the pillows.
United offers pajamas on flights over 12 hours long. That precludes all European service, but includes Israel, India, Australia, and most of Asia. I like the pajamas because they are soft, lightweight, and have pockets.
In my 10+ longhaul flights in United Business Class since the new bedding was introduced, I have NEVER been proactively offered the gel pillow, mattress pad, or pajamas. And while I don’t have inside knowledge on this, it seems this is by design. Quantities are limited: there are not enough of these items for everyone.
If you look hard enough, you’ll also find the three extra items in fine print buried in the middle of your dinner menu.
You’ll also note the following disclaimer:
Please note that quantities vary based on the aircraft and we apologize if your selection in not available due to popular demand.
My advice is to ask for these items immediately upon boarding. Quantities are indeed limited and each of the three items above makes the business class experience much more enjoyable. While we can discuss whether United should offer these items proactively, they do not. You just have to know and ask.
I asked on my so-called Polaris (in name only) F flight SFO-NZ and they didn’t have any pajamas. Didn’t know about the bedding topper. Got a ‘glass’ of champagne in a plastic cup though! I just shook my head. FA came up to me and said “you must fly Asian carriers most of the time, don’t you?” Nodded. It’s so sad how bad US carriers are. They just don’t get F at all – miss the basics, let alone the nuances.
Haha, so true. I laughed when I got champagne in plastic, too.
Pajamas are loaded in the US. So availability on US-bound flights is lower. But I still got lucky (and in my size too) on a PEK-ORD flight recently.
I was on a flight and actually was offered the gel pillow. Loved it. On the return flight, I asked for the pillow, but was told they didn’t have any. :-\
I nearly always ask for the mattress pad but found the gel pillow a bit hard for my taste. I would rather sleep in my own clothes than PJs and tend to wear something very comfortable instead.
I find the gel memory foam pillow to be quite comfortable. You forgot to mention that you can also request slippers that are decently plush and comfortable.
Do you recommend asking for the items shortly after boarding or later in the flight?
As soon as you can. Even though you’ll have to struggle to find space to store them, it’s better than being told they’ve run out.
The director of provisioning was at the DEN Mini Do and said they were aware of the shortages and will start provisioning more (I think 50%->80%).
Also, apparently in the early days the Saks pillow factory couldn’t keep up with the demand due to theft :O
You can also request slippers which are nice but a little narrow for me.
When I flew Polaris just after launch the gel pillow was a standard offering at your seat, apparently they lost so many to theft in the first few weeks that they had to withdraw it back to a special request item!