Recently I was invited to try out and review the new United Polaris Business Class from Dublin to Chicago and back. Every time I’ve flown to America it has been in economy, and it was absolutely grand. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to turn left and see behind the business class curtain. I already know all the tips and tricks for surviving a long haul flight; would business class make that much difference? What sort of treats would be in the amenity kit? Here’s what I discovered.
About United Polaris Business Class
In late 2016 United launched its United Polaris Business Class, named for the North Star. It has been gradually rolled out across their impressive fleet since then. United conducted more than 12,000 hours of research in order to figure out exactly what their customers wanted. Sleep was found to be the most important thing for international business class travelers. So United Polaris’ focus is on providing its passengers with an incredibly comfortable and sleep-conducive environment. Polaris business fares from Dublin to Chicago start from Euro 2360 including taxes and economy fares start from Euro 498 including taxes. However, you may be able to get deals from local agents.
When it comes to comfort United Polaris truly delivers. The seat can be inclined to various degrees and also fully reclined into a bed. I was able to sleep nearly the entire way back from Chicago to Dublin on my front, back or side with ease. They provide slippers so that you can move around the cabin comfortably. United have teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue (FANCY) to create custom, luxury bedding. There’s a blanket and a thicker quilted duvet available as well as a mattress cushion upon request. There are also two different sized pillows with varying firmness.
The seat has a USB charging point and a plug for devices just behind your head. The amenity kit was presented in a branded tin and contains everything needed for comfort. The lip balm and hand cream from Soho House’s Cowshed Spa certainly helped to keep my skin hydrated. The premium noise reducing headphones made the in flight viewing experience absolutely fantastic. And the earplugs in the amenity kit made sleeping even easier. I actually slept with my headphones on because they were so comfortable. When we landed in Chicago I felt fresh and didn’t have an ache in my body, and normally I suffer with back pain after long flights so I was quite impressed.
We were on the 757-200 which has a different seat layout to other plane models. For example, there were two seats side by side, meaning the person by the window would have to shimmy past the person sitting on the aisle in order to get to the bathroom. Personally I didn’t mind, mainly because I was sitting on the aisle. Also, my seat partner and I ended up sleeping around the same time so neither of us were disturbed. Also, there’s quite a decent amount of space to get out to the aisle, it’s not like in economy where you’re nearly sitting on the lap of your fellow passengers if you want to shuffle out to the toilet. But I know on other models each individual seat has its own access to the aisle, which would probably suit some people better. If it’s important to you then make sure you check the model of the plane when you’re booking. The seat layout is usually 1-2-1 is on 777 and 1-1-1 on 767, but it is variable.
The first major difference I noticed is that the meals in Polaris are served on proper crockery with metal cutlery as well. They set your table and serve your meals in a way that looks like you’re eating in a fancy restaurant. There is a menu in your seat when you arrive and the flight attendant comes by to ask you your preference. Luckily for me there was a delicious veggie option. We were welcomed on board with bubbly, water or juice. There was a basket of snacks and bottles of water left at the top of the cabin in case we got peckish between meals.
The drinks selection was extensive. I treated myself to a few amaretto and Cokes as well as a Baileys throughout the flight. I saw a man knock back quite a few G&Ts. The highlight of the food in United Polaris Business Class was, without a doubt, the dessert trolley complete with a sundae station. It was magical! I went for a chocolate and caramel sundae but you could have had all sorts of topping as well. One thing is for you, you certainly won’t go hungry while flying business class with United. There was even a cheese board snack served an hour before landing that I really should have said no to but I just couldn’t bring myself to refuse.
United Polaris Lounge – Chicago O’Hare Airport
The new United Polaris Lounge in Chicago O’Hare Airport is exclusively for Polaris passengers. The first thing I noticed upon entering the lounge was the bright sparkling lights. It was like walking through a starry night. The shower suites were a new experience for me. I’ve never taken advantage of shower facilities in a lounge before and now I feel like an idiot because they are FANTASTIC. A concierge welcomed me and let me know that all the shower suites were full, but they’ll come get me in 5 minutes when one opens up. Once one was available he gave me a toiletry pack including toothbrush, toothpaste and a tiny deodorant stick. The private shower suites look like something in a high end spa with plenty of space. It’s the perfect facility for freshening up before a flight.
There is a small snack buffet serving things like soup, quiche, cheese, crackers and sweet treats. If you have time make sure to try the sit-down restaurant area with an a la carte menu. There is a full bar serving drinks if you’d prefer a liquid lunch. The lounge itself has a great view of the runway. If you have the self-restraint to do some work while you’re in the Polaris Lounge then use one of the mini business suites with desk and charging points. The WiFi is great, so you’ll have no problems replying to emails. After an hour or two in the lounge you’ll feel perfectly fresh and ready for your flight. You can read more about the Polaris Lounge here.
VIDEO of United Polaris Business Class
Have you flown business class before?
What did you think?
Would you try it?
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