See, United’s dreaded eight-across international business class, 777-300ER Polaris Hong Kong (HKG) to San Francisco (SFO), 777-200 Polaris Washington D.C. (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA), switching to a 777-200 with old seats on Dec. 3, 2019, switching to 2x daily 777-200s on Oct. 26, 2019, all three variations of the 787 Dreamliner, United recently announced plans to begin retrofitting its 787s, TPG Senior Writer JT Genter flew the first 772 retrofitted with Polaris seats, several different programs that make it easy to book awards on United, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points, effectively using variable/dynamic pricing, Singapore’s KrisFlyer program has undergone some devaluations in recent years, Calling all Queen’s Gambit fans: There’s a new hotel room in Lexington, KY, just for you. Is Amtrak’s big Rail Passengers Association point bonus worth the cost? The airline’s current Polaris-equipped fleet actually breaks down as: Boeing 777-300ER: 21 of 21 (new) Boeing 777-200ER: 38 of 51 (retrofitted) Boeing 787-10: 11 of 11 (new) Boeing 787-9: 1 of 25 (retrofitted) Today we’ll focus on this mixed part of the fleet, and talk about the tools you can use to increase your odds of flying in a modern Polaris cabin. If you notice a flight with a business-class cabin in a 2-2-2, 2-1-2 or the dreaded 2-4-2 configuration, you’ll likely wind up with the pre-Polaris product. United Polaris menu & fast track card. So far, the first five have opened in Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Houston (IAH) and Los Angeles (LAX). Missing from this list is United’s (relatively young) fleet of 787-8s and 787-9s, none of which have been retrofitted to feature the new seats. You don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of different aircraft models to do this research, as the pattern is same for every long-haul aircraft in United’s fleet: 777s and 787s with the new Polaris seats have a 1-2-1 layout in business class, while those with older seats do not. Everything US citizens need to know about the Bahamas’ simplified entry process, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Tel Aviv (TLV) — only flights 90/91, though flights 84/85 are operated by a 787-10 with Polaris seats, Shanghai (PVG) — seasonally, from Oct. 27 to March 27, U.S. to Australia & New Zealand: 80,000 miles, U.S. to Europe: 55,000 – 57,500 miles (depending on final destination), U.S. to Asia: 75,000 – 77,500 miles (depending on final destination), U.S. to Southern South America: 55,000 miles, U.S. to Asia: 105,500 – 115,000 miles (depending on final destination), U.S. to Australia & New Zealand: 130,000 miles, Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. I quickly changed our reservation back to a middle pair of seats, but without AwardWallet’s help, I might have missed this important change. Since you’ll find Polaris primarily on long-haul flights to Europe, Asia and South America, we’ll focus on those destinations. United Airlines is also expecting 13 new 787-9 aircraft to be delivered next year. Editorial Disclaimer: 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. If you’d been holding off on booking a Polaris trip, United’s switch to dynamic award pricing likely threw a huge wrench in your plans, but here’s hoping that you’ll be able to experience the full Polaris product on your next international United flight! We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. A RED VENTURES COMPANY. Along with the airline’s 7 787-10s (out of 14 on order), these are the only planes in the fleet where you’re absolute… Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. Long before the first Polaris lounge opened or the first plane to feature the new Polaris seats completed a single flight, billboards and TV ads were popping up all over the country promising a re-imagined flying experience “from Ahhhh to Zzzzzz.”. There are four more locations waiting on Polaris lounges, including United’s hub at Washington Dulles (IAD) and three international locations: London (LHR), Hong Kong (HKG) and Tokyo (NRT). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. While there are many things about the way United introduced Polaris that rightfully angered some customers, it’s nice to see an airline investing a significant amount of money to deliver a better onboard experience. Our focus as we developed the United Polaris experience was on providing our international travelers with what they've asked for: better sleep in the sky. That’s an awfully long time to have an aircraft out of service, but as you’ll see below, it was certainly worth the wait.Once I saw that this particular plane had mad… Related: The ultimate guide to United Polaris, And of course, even if your flight is scheduled to be operated with an updated aircraft, there’s nothing preventing a last-minute equipment swap. Join us for a free virtual event hosted by our friends at Drift, RevGrowth Digital Advertising. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. And you never know; you might end up sitting next to United CEO Oscar Munoz and getting the chance to chat! Please view our advertising policy page for more information. At 22 inches wide, SeatGuru says that the seats on the 772 are one inch narrower than the 77W, but when TPG Senior Writer JT Genter flew the first 772 retrofitted with Polaris seats, he said it felt the same as the 77W. ExpertFlyer offers a number of different search options, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve selected the seat map search before filling in the info for your chosen flight. It was originally published on Jan. 24, 2019. United has revealed its progress graphically in the slides up top or you can track progress of the Polaris seat and lounge rollout here. 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. United has since taken delivery of all 18 of the 777-300ERs (also referred to as “77Ws”) that is has on order. United Polaris is a reinvention of our international premium cabin travel experience, offering elevated comfort and service from lounge to landing for a restful night's sleep in the air. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Initially, the carrier seemed to be investing more heavily in marketing billboards than in actually getting its game-changing new premium cabin into service. Couples traveling together should pick seats D and G in an odd-numbered row (shown below) so they’ll be able to communicate during the flight. Each seat also features a 16-inch in-flight entertainment screen. The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You have two great ways to keep an eye on your reservation and know in advance if your flight is getting a serious upgrade or downgrade. If you’re traveling by yourself, we actually recommend shooting for a bulkhead window seat (1A, 1L, 9A or 9L), since you’ll have more room for your feet and won’t be staring at the head of the person in front of you. Here are the one-way cost for Polaris award tickets booked through Singapore: While these costs are relatively higher than United and Aeroplan, especially for trips to Europe and Asia, the ability to mix and match your transferable points (by transferring some Ultimate Rewards and some ThankYou points, for example) is a nice option to have. Unfortunately, this isn’t foolproof, as United’s 767-300ERs and 777-200s are all listed the same way (“763” and “772”, respectively). However, if you do find saver business-class award space (I fare class on United, just like all other Star Alliance carriers), you should be able to book it with any of the below programs. As you’ll see in a moment, this means you aren’t guaranteed to get the full Polaris experience. More and more Boeing 767-300ER and 777-200ER offer the seats as well. It’s time to rethink digital advertising. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. I quickly logged into ExpertFlyer and, lo and behold, the five-hour regional hop to the Maldives had been upgraded to an A350 with Qsuite! This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. Solo travelers should opt for an odd-numbered window seat, while couples traveling together should pick a center D/F pair in an odd-numbered row. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). United’s Polaris tracker shows that one 787-8 and three 787-9s are currently flying in the new retrofitted configuration. Unfortunately United recently announced plans to pull its award chart for flights beginning Nov. 15, 2019, though it’s already effectively using variable/dynamic pricing for many of its flights. United Polaris was introduced in December 2016. If you board the plane to see a stunningly blue Polaris cabin, kick back and enjoy it, but understand the odds currently aren’t in your favor with these types of plane. This brings me to my next suggestion and yet another functionality in ExpertFlyer that can help …. Another difference with the new Polaris lounges is their stricter access requirements. Thankfully United has come a long way since those early days, taking delivery of new aircraft equipped with the sleek Polaris cabin and retrofitting dozens more. This means that you have an almost 75% chance of scoring an updated onboard product. The lounge offers customers three distinct experiences: an area to relax, an area to recharge and an area to engage. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. United Polaris seats were designed for relaxation and restful sleep. Polar Unite motivates you to stay consistent in your training and makes staying fit and healthy a … This included opening nine new Polaris lounges around the globe. I love using this tool to manage all my travel reservations, as it keeps me from making stupid time zone mistakes or not having an important confirmation number in front of me when I need it. Today we’re going to give you some strategies to help with that very goal. Some routes seem to get the new Polaris seats more consistently, but with barely 50% of the 772s having completed the retrofit process the odds aren’t great. The airline was always stingy with saver-level business-class award space, but the same routes that were deemed premium enough to get the new Polaris seats first are now some of the hardest ones on which to find award seats. This well-rounded, ultra light fitness tracker helps you sleep better, train smarter, and find the balance in your life – it's your assistant on your way to better fitness. This means that on a given route, the exact same plane type may have a different seat configuration from one day to the next. It’s up to you to decide how much you care here and how much risk you’re willing to take. Three 787-8s and one 787-9s are still in progress. If you manage to find a saver-level seat, expect to pay about 80,000 MileagePlus miles each way to Asia or about 60,000 miles to Europe, but with the new variable pricing, it may be much worse. This flight is operated by a 777-200ER, and we know from United’s Polaris tracker website that 37 of the carrier’s 51 772s have completed the retrofit process. Let’s use UA881, United’s daily nonstop flight from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) as an example. United is using its newest jet to give a serious upgrade to some transcontinental routes, launching the 787-10 on its premium Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) route, with Newark to San Francisco (SFO) to follow as it takes delivery of more planes. You can follow United’s Polaris tracker for fleet and lounge updates, but here’s where things stand at the moment according to United: As a result, you have some serious guesswork to do to make sure you book the full Polaris experience. Each of the Polaris lounges features an open and airy design, restaurant-quality a la carte dining, and an aviation-themed cocktail menu. When looking to book Polaris seats, make sure to verify your route and flight will have the new seat, in addition to the Polaris service offered aircraft new and old. While the 787-10 seats the most passengers of the various Dreamliner configurations, it has the shortest range at only 7,400 miles. It wasn’t just United’s aging fleet that was in desperate need of a facelift, and part of Polaris includes bringing the ground experience up to modern day standards. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Mobile Tools; Open UnitedHub.com in a new tab; Open United's Facebook page in a new tab Despite the slower-than-expected progress, United recently announced the tenth route on which it will fly a 777-300ER with its new Polaris seats. Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy. Unfortunately since then, United’s execution of Polaris service has left a … The retrofitted 767s are a much simpler story. Overview Polaris destinations on world map . However, this doesn’t mean that your flight will feature United’s new Polaris seat, or even the new Polaris lounge. Is Amtrak’s big Rail Passengers Association point bonus worth the cost? Please view our advertising policy page for more information. United Polaris Lounge Houston. Related: The 9 best credit cards for flying United. The new Polaris cabin looks very sleek and is especially blue, due in large part to the aggressive use of mood lighting. Everything US citizens need to know about the Bahamas’ simplified entry process, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. How to check if a United Airlines flight offers the new Polaris seats? Window seats (A and L) in odd-numbered rows are the best choice for all passengers, as there’s no way to sit next to someone you’re traveling with in this 1-1-1 layout. United has come a long way since the early days of the Polaris business class launch. When you’re training to reach a specific fitness goal, fitness trackers and sports watches can be a huge help. Of course if you’re especially worried about an equipment swap (because you’re flying an airline with a non-homogenous fleet), ExpertFlyer is once again your best tool. The disconnect between expectation and reality created some real disappointment, especially for business-class passengers who shelled out thousands of dollars only to be seated in the infamous eight-across, “dorm-style” cabin. In reality, many passengers who book expensive tickets marketed as “Polaris” still end up flying in a seat like this — United’s dreaded eight-across international business class. Asia. These include United’s own MileagePlus program, Air Canada’s affiliated Aeroplan program, Avianca LifeMiles and Singapore’s KrisFlyer program. Oceania. Savvy TPG readers were hopefully spared from some of the more unpleasant surprises and knew what airports and aircraft to seek out to get the full Polaris treatment. Editorial Disclaimer: 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. Follow along with the United Polaris tracker to see the fleet retrofit. United Airlines’ Polaris business class service has won over many flyers since it replaced United BusinessFirst and United Global First back in 2016. 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