United Polaris Business Welcome Champagne

5 Reasons to Fly The Superb United Polaris Business Denver to London Review

Are you looking for a luxurious and comfortable way to travel between USA and London? With so many options available, my recent trip in United Polaris Business Denver to London explores why United Polaris Business should be in your consideration!

With Premier Access ( think fast track security), a solid hard product and service, United Polaris Business may be the perfect choice for any traveller seeking an elevated travel experience. From the moment you step on board, you’ll be treated to a host of amenities, including comfy flatbed seats, noise-reducing headphones, and premium drinks, dining and more.

Over the last few months I have flown them between London to San Francisco & Denver to London. Here are my 5 top reasons why United Polaris Business is a solid proposition for your next trip across the Atlantic!

Flight Particulars

Route: Denver – London Heathrow
Flight No: UA27
Date: 04.05.2023
Departure Time: 17:40
Flight Duration: Blocked at 8 hours 30 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seats/Suite: 7L

United Polaris Business Offer a Solid Hard Product

Let’s start with what is by far the biggest aspect of any Business Class product, the seat!

United Polaris Business Denver to London Seat 7L
United Polaris Business Denver to London Seat 7L

While United’s flagship business product initially launched back in 2017, it has only recently completed rollout throughout it’s vast network and aircraft numbers.

If you are flying 787-9, the seat map looks like this:

United 787 9 Polaris Business Map
United 787 9 Polaris Business Map

There are 48 Polaris Business Class seats on this aircraft split between 2 cabins. 32 seats on main cabin, followed by a 16 seat mini cabin. The 787-10 variant has 44 seats in one large cabin.

If you are flying 777-300ER the seat map covers almost half the aircraft!

United 777 300 Polaris Business Map
United 777 300 Polaris Business Map

Yes, that’s a big 60 United Polaris seats! On this 777 the 2 cabins are split relatively evenly.

The product design is a collaboration with Acumen Design Associates and Priestman Goode (  licensed exclusively to United Airlines ) together with manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace, now owned by Saffron. It is leaps and bounds beyond anything United offered before.

United Polaris Business Cabin Mid boarding
United Polaris Business Cabin Mid boarding

In fact, I had actively avoided flying US carriers for a number of years due to their non-competitive products. I last first/flew Continental Airlines ( which is now United ) back in 2012 in what was then called a BusinessFirst product. Super lacklustre even for it’s time.

The angled design with focused on providing all aisle access, privacy, storage and forward facing seats while still optimizing use of space to maximise the number of seats in the cabin.

Each seat comes with either 20.5″ width on Dreamliner’s or slightly more roomier 22″ on 777s. They convert 180 in full flat bed mode, with a 6 foot 6″ pitch on bed mode. Unlike some airlines, United allows Polaris passengers free seat selection regardless of your status!

What seat you should choose depends if you are flying solo, in which case the odd numbered rows are true window seats with most privacy..

United Polaris Business Class Window Seat Privacy Level
United Polaris Business Class Window Seat Privacy Level
United Polaris Business Window Seat Privacy
United Polaris Business Window Seat Privacy

The even numbers “window” side rows are a little exposed to the aisle traffic..

United Polars Business Exposed Window Seat
United Polars Business Exposed Window Seat

But they have done their best to shield you as much as possible within the space and design scope on the head/seated area ..

IMG 20230125 160009
United Polaris Even Window Seat 12L

If you are flying with a partner/travel companion the odd numbered centre seats also look most ideal as you can talk to each other more easily. Even centre seats are angled away from each other.

When in true windows seats, that fact that these are not full private suites almost seems a mute point.

As you can see this is a tasteful and thoughtfully designed product. The cabin and seats look sleek and stylish. With just enough dose of colours, United blue hues off course! That are complemented very well with greens/warm yellows of mood lights in various aspects of your seats and the cabin…

United Polaris Business Cabin Mood Lighting
United Polaris Business Cabin Mood Lighting

Don’t you just love the lamps!? It adds such a nice ambience to your little pod and the cabin as a whole ūüôā The likes of Qatar/Etihad do this very well too!

Each seat comes with a large side console where you would find a closed door storage unit, with a little mirror

United Polaris Business Class Storage Unit
United Polaris Business Class Storage Unit

You have easy access to power ports just by your side as well as IFE. In addition you have all your seat controls also available on the panel on the other side. Which is well placed for when you are seated or asleep!

The footwell is also reasonable..

United Polaris Business Class Cubby Hole & Underfoot storage
United Polaris Business Class Cubby Hole & Underfoot storage

In bed mode the seat is/feels as spacious as most of the top Business class products on offer today..

United Polaris Business Class Bedmode
United Polaris Business Class Bed mode

The only minor thing I did not like about the product is that the IFE controller is rather dated and I thought it rather odd United would choose something that is circa 2011 for a product launched in 2017!

I would have liked to have seen an a touch-screen controller that enables me to glance at the flight map while watching a movie on main screen, as available on many other newer Business Class products!

Top-notch Amenities For Your Comforts

With many little luxuries, United offers all the creature comforts you could need for you long flight, almost!

Let’s start with the Away amenity kit in the cute miniature case..

United Polaris Business Class AWAY Amenity Kit
United Polaris Business Class AWAY Amenity Kit

It has all sorts of goodies from standard flight socks, eye shades, dental kits, United branded pen and some Sunday Riley products to keep your skin clean and fresh throughout the flight!

The case itself is also such a handy travel accessory for you to refill and reuse.

In other areas, in each seat you will find a large fluffy pillow, a smaller cooling gel pillow to help keep you cool during sleep, an under blanket and plush silky smooth blanket by Saks Fifth Avenue to wrap yourself up in..

United Polaris Business Bedtime with double pillows
United Polaris Business Bedtime with double pillows

It was an utterly luxurious feeling tucking into bed with..

United Polaris Business In BedMode
United Polaris Business In Bed Mode

If this was a 14 hour flight to Hong Kong/Australia I probably could have slept for a solid 8 hours! But due to my shorter 8 hour flight, I managed a good 4 hours sleep on the night flight back.

My only gripe about the offering here is I would have preferred a proper fitted mattress pad for sleeping on rather than the additional blanket which I used for laying on the seat. During the night it rolled up and made it uncomfortable, until I had to sort that out again.

The Awesome Polaris Lounges & Good Clubs

United Polaris are by far the best lounge networks in United States, and up there amongst the best in the world!

Polaris lounges are available in United’s main hubs in New York Newark, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington Dulles. These lounges can be used for arriving as well as departing international long haul Polaris guests.

If you do not happen to be flying out from one of those hubs, you can always change your itinerary to connect via one of them ( I totally would !). Otherwise, United also has some very decent Club Lounges in London Heathrow and I also visited ones in San Francisco, LAX, and Chicago which were all very good!

The Famous Ice Cream Sundae

After being suspended since 2020, the infamous Ice Cream Sundae is back !

The build your own Sundae cart is a favourite amongst Polaris passengers. After your 3-course meal, the crew roll around the carts one more time with the most delightful of treats…

Your choice of ice-creams dressing exactly how you want it! With a plethora of toppings to choose. From m&m’s, caramel chocolate, hot fudge, whipped cream. It can then be drizzled with your choice of fruity syrups and finally a cheery on top!

It’s as exciting as it is playful…

United Polaris Business Denver to London Desserts
United Polaris Business Denver to London Desserts

I decided to go a little easy with some a little chocolate and almond flakes, because on addition to the ice-cream I fancied this tart! But you can go all out to your hearts desires with this! No wonder then why this bespoke service is so well regarded.

It is by far the best aspect of United’s otherwise problematic catering. Fear not, as above the lounges on both sides will more than make up for this.

Polaris Business Class Is Easy To Book

One of my biggest gripes with airlines is how hard it can be to book their top product due to a combination of product being on limited aircrafts, limited routes, insane price points and/or no award availability.

Luckily this is not the case with United now. The product is now consistently available on almost all international long haul routes!

Option 1: Cash

My booking was a cash fare, which cost me £1924 in November 2022. On top of that I got a £200 rebate from Amex offer, which bought my total down to £1724.

United Polaris Cash Fare SFO
United Polaris Cash Fare SFO

Rates are currently a little higher right now, but may well drop with any future promos. Currently this £2570 fully refundable fare is actually brilliant! These fares can usually run in excess of 10k!!

United Polaris Cash Fares London Denver
United Polaris Cash Fares London Denver

Denver pricing is similar, with only £200 to make it fully refundable.

The best thing about booking the cash flight was I discovered just how flexible United is as a carrier to rebook and reschedule your flights with a Polaris class booking.

For example, my original ticketing was London – San Francisco returning from Chicago a week later. Once I flew to San Francisco, I decided I will return to London via a Delta award flight I found, and thus rebooked return a few months later.

That second rebooking was a direct flight on a 767, an aircraft I didn’t want to fly on an overnight, though comfortable in United Polaris Configuration of 1-1-1. I then rebooked it a few weeks later to route via Denver with a First Class domestic flight added it.

These re-bookings just cost me £27 extra in fare difference and no change fees! This is cheaper than making changes to award bookings and not to mention award availability itself is highly restrictive!

Option 2: United MileagePlus

Your best option for award booking will be United’s own programme. United charges variable amount of miles like most US carriers but there are plenty with standard rates of 80k miles each way on offer..

Polaris Award Redemption MileagePlus Lon SFO
Polaris Award Redemption MileagePlus Lon SFO

Taxes/surcharges all vary depending on your route and direction too! United also has Saver Polaris Business awards at 60k, which are slightly more harder to find..

Flying into London from USA the taxes drop to below £5!

United Polaris MileagePlus Redemption ORD LHR
United Polaris MileagePlus Redemption ORD LHR

Option 3: Aegean Miles&Bonus 

This would be my Star Alliance programme of choice and charges just 55k miles plus 5.01 Euros in taxes!

Polaris Award Redemption Aegean MileBonus
Polaris Award Redemption Aegean MileBonus

Off course availability of seats will not be as good as United itself

Option 4: Lifemiles

Avianca LifeMiles is another programme that has good value redemptions where you can book USA-Europe in Business for as low as 63,000 miles each way + ~$61 in taxes and fees but those fees naturally would be more if departing from London !

Lifemiles can also be a difficult programme to use, so requires alot of patience with the website often being very glitchy. But it often pays off!

Option 5: Aeroplan

While I would not recommend this disgraceful programme to anyone ( I honestly think it’s the most overrated programme out there) I really need to write a separate post on this!

For those you already have it and have some miles to use up, Aeroplan charges 70k miles for most US-Europe routes.

Overall Thoughts

I really enjoyed my flights with United. On way out to San Fran, I was working most of the flight, but on return even though it was a night flight, I really enjoyed the service. It was very attentive.

5/6 years ago I could never have imagined I would be writing such a review for a US based airline. Especially less so regarding United, a carrier that was going from one marketing fiasco to another. The whole David Dao fiasco really did not paint the airline in any positive light.

I thus was never in any hurry to fly them, despite being aware of this product launch at the same time.

But here we are. The industry can be full of surprises!

This review will however be incomplete if I did not mention one thing, that is apparent to most frequent fliers. United’s catering is by far the weakest aspect of this otherwise very premium product.

United Polaris Business Class Denver to London Dinner
United Polaris Business Class Denver to London Dinner

My steak was not too bad at all, but the breakfast was another story..

United Polaris Business Denver To London Breakfast
United Polaris Business Denver To London Breakfast

Onboard catering is just not on the level of a good business class. It is literally on par with likes Iberia which can also serve downright appalling food.

The saving grace here is the fully customisable desserts cart and rest of the service offering in addition to having good lounges from both ends. If I fly United Polaris, I would most certainly eat in the lounge beforehand!

All told, I think United may be winning me over Delta, which seems to have slipped in it’s standards, made worse by poor lounge offerings! I will fly American Airlines in the fall, so watch this space for a US carrier round-off!

 

 

 

 

Review in numbers
  • Check-in / Ground Service
  • Seat
  • Bed
  • Food & Beverage
  • Staff
  • Service Standards
  • Onboard Amenities
  • Lounges Provision
4.1