Mask use was spotty at best during our stay, and it is difficult to enforce. It was always a nice touch to get a drink after the inevitable chaos that comes with boarding. « Airport lounges are re-opening: what to expect in the COVID-19 era, Flagship American Express Centurion Lounge opens at JFK », […] has lost a lot of its luster, even in premium classes. share Read Article. Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). There is absolutely no reason—beyond cost—why the airline cannot offer healthier or more diverse options while still meeting CDC guidelines. The deserted buffet area was a shadow of its former self, and for good reason: pickings were slim. But with low fares and easy upgrades, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Though the lounge was open, food and beverage services have been suspended due to local county restrictions. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. For more information, review our our Privacy Policy. 1. This is the perfect place for distancing — far from others and limited crew disruptions. There’s a postcard themed to a United destination, as well as an eye mask, toothbrush, lip balm and earplugs. But they’re not shedding much ink on service cutbacks, and especially those that impact intercontinental premium cabins. Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. The Polaris Lounge was also very nice, much nicer than United's regular lounges. The airline is also building a … Spin COVID-19 and hygiene all you want, nothing justifies serving a meal without linen or a tray in international business class. How does the airline fare with a single, capacity-restricted club? You can learn more at united.com/Polaris. Search this site. Each window seat is either flush with the window (my preference) or the aisle. Related: How to determine if your flight is full. Visit our COVID-19 resource center for information on how the pandemic is impacting airport lounges. All rights reserved. There is no lounge for connecting passengers. We never share or resell your information. Business class "suites" are roomy and comfortable. Once airside, there were plenty of hand sanitizer stations located throughout the airport. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. As of August 15th, 2020, the following United Clubs are open: The United Club Newark was the latest to re-open, just a few weeks ago. Most guests snack and drink and therefore have a legitimate reason to take their mask off. Submitted by SeatGuru User on 2020/02/04 for Seat 7D . There were no other options available. Along with a revolutionary onboard product, JetBlue also upended the legacy pricing strategy for the transcon market. ” in 21 reviews “ If I ever need another 6 hr layover in Chicago, I wouldn't hesitate to book the flight. The takeoff roll was one of the fastest I’ve ever experienced on a 777. Just one of them (N670UA) is in the most premium-heavy Polaris configuration, with 46 business seats. Dinner, however, was a simple affair. You can unsubscribe at any time. I selected the pasta, which was served all on one tray with foil and seals intact. I love the Polaris seat. First Class customers benefit from a dedicated area in London with a higher-end menu. That particular plane only re-emerged from a stint in Wilmington last week. It could especially impact United Airlines’ sub-fleet of “High-J” 767s, outfitted last year with 46 Polaris business class seats instead of the normal 30. In addition to the new cabin, United is unveiling Polaris business class lounges in eight airports around the world, including Chicago O’Hare’s lounge, which opened in December. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. 1:24 . The only available wines were mini-bottles from Economy (other airlines manage to open regular bottles without a health risk.) This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. On a more positive note, we arrived early. United will also open an exclusive portfolio of United Polaris business class lounges in nine locations around the world – the only lounge of its kind offered by a U.S. airline to business class customers – that will feature custom-designed chairs, private daybeds, spa-like showers, bespoke art installations by artist Wolfgang Buttress, and chef-inspired hot meals served in a boutique restaurant … Priced at $32.99 for the entire flight, speeds were some of the best I’ve experienced in recent memory. Under normal circumstances, Newark airport is a hive of activity, and United’s lounges struggle to cope with the crowds. If you’ve got PlusPoints to burn, now’s a great time to consider using them — especially since international travel is largely off-limits for the foreseeable future. The United Polaris Lounge is available to those holding a boarding pass for travel in United Polaris business class and those holding a boarding pass for long-haul international first or business class on a Star Alliance member airline. Related: Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight. Welcome … That’s why I was keen to check the seat map and monitor the loads on my flight. Related: The ultimate guide to United Polaris. View our latest valuations here. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Review Highlights “ Very clean; and going back to the size, the shower rooms were bigger than other lounge showers I've seen. The club was certainly the cleanest and emptiest that I’ve seen it, but there wasn’t much reason to hang out there for so long. Because of the pandemic, United has consolidated its lounge operations to a single location in Terminal F. Polaris Lounges nationwide remain shuttered, and all eligible passengers are invited to use the standard United Club. On the 787-10, the biggest of the Dreamliners, the 44 business-class seats are spread across 11 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While this sounds good in theory, passengers didn’t follow instructions on my flight. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. The selection included gummy bears, pretzels and kettle chips — much more limited than before the pandemic. And you get the Polaris lounge at ORD. Every airline is making adjustments to the meal and snack service. Pre-pandemic, fares started at around $600 each way. Everything is served packaged or covered for you to unwrap. Once the first group got off the plane, the crew called for another. All guests are given a small to-go bag stocked with water and some snacks. The amenity kit has been through a few iterations though, and the latest version is a plastic pouch with a limited selection of goodies. As a comparison point: in North America, American Airlines is offering snack boxes and re-introducing hot food, Alaska has maintained their luxurious handcrafted coffee service, Delta is offering a substantial choice of packaged and fresh food items, and Air Canada is delivering shrimp roll, snack bags, and cold fare to guests at their seats. The security officers’ workstations just received a major upgrade. Though the meal service has been trimmed, at least it’s still available. Cabin and Layout: United Polaris Business Class, 48-seat capacity across 12 rows, in a 1-2-1 configuration Seats: 11A, 11D, 12A, 12D Miles Used: 50,000 TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go miles per ticket, bought miles for 1 cent each Taxes and Fees Paid: $53 (€45) per ticket Typical Economy Cost: $6,000 (round-trip) Table of contents. Instead of operating swanky widebody jets, the carrier put more efficient planes on the routes. Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates on airport lounges! Related: United improves onboard beverage service, trims Saks amenities. Onboard dining in Polaris business class is at economy class levels, and nothing can justify serving breakfast directly on a tray table without a tray or linen. We send up to one email a week and never resell your information. The club was so quiet that it was almost unrecognizable from its former incarnation. The United Airlines Fleet Website. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. ), Welcome to my new favorite @united Polaris pod! I figured that I’d be farthest from the galley and fewer passengers would walk by my seat. Economy Plus passengers used to be served a small meal on this flight, but that’s been temporarily suspended. Related: 7 ways the United Club experience has changed due to the pandemic. Where are the veggies? Polaris Lounges nationwide remain shuttered, and all eligible passengers are invited to use the standard United Club. (I wasn’t surprised to learn that Christie is the same company that created the legendary Doubletree cookie.). On the brighter side, the Polaris sleep amenities—gel pillow, mattress pads, duvets, and slippers—are still all available, and perhaps that’s ultimately all that really matters: the ability to sleep. United Airlines flight review form London Heathrow to Houston on United Polaris Business Class. Dining tables are few and far between; there’s only four to six chairs around high-top workstations; and solo seating is sparse. The arrangement is a much more effective measure than signage encouraging customers to keep seats open. With an extremely light load aboard our 787-10 from Newark to Paris, boarding was swift. As a Premier 1K, I’ve had plenty of experience with United’s often unreliable Wi-Fi network. I’ve always slept great in the Polaris pod. The gel pillow, full-size pillow, mattress pad, duvet, and slippers make for a restful night, and it’s fortunate that they haven’t been sacrificed on the COVID-19 altar. Much to the chagrin of my sweet tooth, the ice cream sundae cart has been temporarily removed. Overall, the meal was about as good as I remember it from March pre-pandemic. One of the highlights of flying in Polaris is the On The Rocks Old Fashioned. (Those who follow me on Instagram know that Polaris is one of my favorite biz products.) The lie-flat seats are 52cm wide and 198cm long, made all the more comfy by those velvety Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, specifically that irresistibly cloud-like pillow and baby-soft light… While the Polaris Lounge remains shuttered, he explained that Polaris passengers are eligible for enhanced amenities, including “top-shelf alcohol” and additional food options such as a cheese plate. And all things considered, a benefit of a quick meal is that there is a bit more time to sleep on a short flight. Happily, apart from a wider, more modern-look seating configuration and some rejigged amenities, you'd hardly spot the difference. United has eliminated roughly half of the seats. Clear and PreCheck queues were open, but I was funneled into the main security line after the ID check. © 2021 THE POINTS GUY, LLC. At least the Christie Cookie Company snickerdoodle cookie was good! United’s worldwide lounge network virtually shut down on March 17th. The sleep-focused revival is set to roll out in December. After staying mum on the topic for months, United released late July a video highlighting the new United Club experience. Fortunately, it worked well on my flight. Our United Polaris® business class service is designed to bring a new level of quality to every aspect of premium cabin travel - from lounge to landing - and provide the best sleep in the sky. This lounge is temporarily closed. The cheese plate turned out to be a disappointment as well: it was a small refrigerated snack that looked like it was procured at 7/11. Even though travel demand has declined significantly, the carriers are still offering their top products on these cross-country routes. Airlines are bleeding money, and it’s difficult to justify high-end services for a handful of premium passengers per flight. In fact, common sense would suggest that providing linen helps enhance hygiene. For one, I chose to fly midweek with the hope that it wouldn’t be too full. The two things I missed most were the old fashioned and Saks duvet. Breakfast was the lowest point of the service: it consisted of a hot sandwich (typically offered as a buy-on-board option in economy) served on the tray table. A handful of airlines are blocking seats on every flight to promote social distancing. But the overall experience was terribly disappointing and reeked of cost cutting. We use MailChimp as our marketing automation platform. Boy, how times have changed. At Newark airport, United’s supposedly “elevated pre-packaged food offerings” consist of shrink-wrapped pretzels and cookies. Boarding the United 777 was so exciting. Flying on a nearly empty widebody is thrilling. At the United Club Newark, the bar area is now entirely clear of furniture, in favor of social distancing markers on the floor. Now, Polaris flyers get a small 8.5-ounce bottle of Dasani water served alongside a sanitizing wipe. The airline is also building a new flagship club near gate C124 in a bid to permanently mitigate crowding. To make sure you know what to expect with United Polaris travel, see below for a few key reminders. In United Premium Plus ® and United Polaris ® business class, your entrée, bread and single-serve cup of ice cream will be served together. At the time, the airline started taking delivery of new planes with these top-notch biz pods. BA (2-4-2 or 2-3-2) still charge for seat selection in business class unless you’re an elite. Related: The cheapest way to upgrade transcon United flights. And why so much “bread” when there’s rice already? For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. The bathrooms, however, were abysmal, just like in pre-pandemic times: old, cramped, and of questionable cleanliness. United isn’t one of them. That also left a … We left the United Club Newark near gate C74 and made our way to our departure gate. The Points Guy will not sell your email. This summer, we reviewed the watered-down United Polaris experience to Europe—it was a tale of shrink-wrapped snacks and an eerily quiet business class […]. To be fair, the salmon was tasty. © 2021 Sound Imagineers, LLC. United is staying clear of making any groundbreaking adjustments, focusing instead on the fundamentals: mandatory masks, touch-free check-in, social distancing, cleanliness and electrostatic spraying, plexiglass shields at the bar and reception counters, shrink-wrapped snacks, and hand sanitizer dispensers. The flight attendants—who outnumbered paying business class passengers—were truly gracious and attentive, and did their best with what they had to work with. The closest thing you’re getting to alcohol on the ground is whatever’s included in the wipe. SFO is home to four United Clubs, as well as a flagship Polaris Lounge. The sesame to this world of bliss: a (dated a numbered) card, to be presented to the bar tender. United Airlines' new Polaris business class cabin will be available on long-haul flights between the US and destinations such as London and Tokyo starting later this year. But, veggies, anyone? Expect to see reviews of American Flagship First and Delta One shortly. What follows are 15 thoughts on what’s changed since my pre-pandemic Polaris review. However, some COVID-19 measures are cost-cutting moves that masquerade as hygiene enhancements. Why serve cloying syrup that masquerades as a fruit cup, when perhaps a shrink-wrapped piece of fruit would be tastier, healthier, and equally safe? On the brighter side, the traditional liquor selection is available. Side, the traditional liquor selection is available a hive of activity, and especially those that impact intercontinental cabins. ” consist of shrink-wrapped pretzels and cookies bartender is almost challenging a wipe! 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