United Airlines first Boeing 777-300ER featuring the United Polaris all-aisle access, lie-flat seat, is finally about to enter the airline’s fleet. This marks the first time the hard product of United’s Polaris revamp has flown.
United Airlines first Boeing 777-300ER with the new seats has been delivered, featuring the United Polaris all-aisle access, lie-flat seat.
The plane will be based out of Newark, and start by operating some long haul domestic routes while the crew gain experience with the new cabin.
The aircraft is already booked in to fly from Newark to San Francisco from February 16, and then in March will begin flying internationally from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
The new United Polaris cabin is being rolled out as United remove First Class, and eliminating the previous "BusinessFirst" branding in favour of "Polaris," the name for their new business class seat.
The new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft has 60 Polaris business seats and 306 economy seats, and represents a huge step up from the current United seat.
In the back of the bus, there are 102 Economy Plus seats (seat pitch of 34 inches) and 204 standard economy seats (31 inches of pitch), all in a 3-4-3 configuration. Make no mistake however, Economy Plus isn't Premium Economy as you'd get it on British Airways or Qantas with an uprated service. It is simply three extra inches of legroom.
In Business Class, the Polaris seat is based on a design by London's Acumen Design Associates, styled by PriestmanGoode.
The Polaris Business Class seat has a full lie-flat bed length of just over six feet, or two metres, and provides each passenger with direct aisle access plus more personal space around the seat itself.
Window and centre seats face straight forward, while aisle seats and angled into the aisle.
However, unlike the mainstay of the current long haul United Airlines aircraft, the Boeing 747, the Boeing 777 seats will have a seatback TV for the first time, on-demand IFE and wifi streaming media, so you can watch the inflight entertainment on your own device. All seats will have power sockets and USB port, and there is in flight Wi-Fi.
In Business Class there is a 16-inch HD video screen with the IFE running while the aircraft is on the ground, and there is also a tablet holder slot in the tray table for your own device.
A small cupboard has the headphones, and can also store the amenity kit.
There is a new amenity kits with eye shades, a 'calming lavender pillow mist' and Cowshed Spa products.
All flights now will feature the United Polaris on board soft product, with improved food and drinks.
There is Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, with plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and both a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer, and pyjamas on flights over 12 hours.
Inflight meals in Business Class also get a revamp, with seasonal menus including regional touches for each destination, developed in partnership with Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack.
United flights have always featured ice cream sundaes, and on daytime flights longer than eight hours and all flights longer than 12 hours, there are hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese. The Business Class cabin also features a new walk up snack bar.
On the ground, lounges are rapidly being revamped to include the Polaris branding, as Lux-Traveller reported: United unveils new Polaris business-class lounges.
However, it will be at least five years before the entire United fleet features the Polaris product.
"This aircraft symbolizes the new spirit, the energy and enthusiasm that I have seen in our employees who take great pride in the work they are doing to take care of our customers and one another," said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines. "The new 777-300ER fleet will play a crucial role in connecting our customers to far-away destinations and to the moments that matter most."