United has completely revamped the way it will pamper business class passengers who fly on Polaris equipped aircraft. Today we get far more details on what that means.
While a large unveiling takes place on December 1, View from the Wing’s Gary Leff spoke with Maria Walter, Managing Director of Product and Brand Strategy at United, about Polaris and the various features you can expect over the coming months and years.
Back in June, TravelPulse’s Josh Lew wrote on the budding business class overhaul, which at the time promised such items as improved lounges, wide ranging in-flight fare and seats that would fully recline.
We then saw a teaser in the form of the following commercial that boasted nothing less than sophistication and luxury in the sky.
The above has been flaunted and ballyhooed all over television spots, but now it’s time to finally see what United has in store for its business class patrons flying with Polaris.
Leff managed to put some specifics to the promises announced in June. While many fortunate flyers will actually experience Polaris for the first time on Thursday, the rest of us can sample what we might be missing.
First, we might as well explain that not everybody flying business class will enjoy Polaris at first. A more full-fledged implementation across the fleet might not take place until 2021. Until then, Polaris will hit 777-300 planes in December while 767s and 777-200 craft will get retrofit throughout 2017.
While the plan is to have most of the fleet enjoy Polaris, Leff notes, “Some existing aircraft won’t ever see the seats.”
That being said, Leff reports that United plans “to publish seat maps for flights with 767s and 777-200s with the existing configuration and then do a day of departure reaccommodation when they assign a Polaris seat equipped aircraft.”
Essentially, it saves staff the pain of trying to placate a traveler who shows up expecting to try out Polaris only to find out the trip will feature United’s former product.
The post explains in great detail what you can expect from Polaris, which furthers what we were told back in June.
For example, those seats will indeed recline flat and have access directly to the aisle. The bedding will be plush, styled thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue. If you are traversing the globe at a 12-hour or more clip, you get to enjoy comfy pajamas to soothe your soul.
Polaris lounges will welcome this special class of traveler, differentiating itself from United’s other lounge offerings with focused menus and buffet offerings.
Although, it’s noted that it will take some time for a full roll out across the globe as Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles will be the first to offer service – some of these locations will open at some point in 2017.
Besides a fleet wide training initiative for flight attendants, United has pushed what it will offer for food on its flights. Polaris patrons will hardly be want of delectable food choice. According to Leff, there is nearly an embarrassment of riches aboard these flights.
Leff writes: “there are 2000 food and servingware items created for Polaris, including 48 new salads, 96 appetizers, and 240 entrees. Then there’s specialty items, such as the servingware for their wine tasting experience that’s part of Polaris.”
You will even get the chance to request your own specialized bloody mary, an opportunity United promises will not slow down drink service throughout the cabin.
While it will be some months before we see whether Polaris truly hits the mark with consumers, we, just a couple days away from the massive unveiling, get a taste of the industry’s most promising business class offering.