However, some COVID-19 measures are cost-cutting moves that masquerade as hygiene enhancements. On the brighter side, the traditional liquor selection is available. On a more positive note, we arrived early. The butternut squash mezzaluna was better than I expected. In United Premium Plus ® and United Polaris ® business class, your entrée, bread and single-serve cup of ice cream will be served together. Options were “beef, fish, or pasta”, with Economy undertones. United Polaris Lounge This lounge is temporarily closed. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. We're very excited about our brand new international premium cabin service — United Polaris SM first and business class — which offers comfort and relaxation for restful sleep in the sky. How does the airline fare with a single, capacity-restricted club? Mask use was spotty at best during our stay, and it is difficult to enforce. But they’re not shedding much ink on service cutbacks, and especially those that impact intercontinental premium cabins. For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter. That also left a … At a cost of $2.48 million, I was surprised that the security agent wasn’t using the new barrier. We send up to one email a week and never resell your information. At Newark airport, United’s supposedly “elevated pre-packaged food offerings” consist of shrink-wrapped pretzels and cookies. Unlike American Airlines, United doesn’t admit premium transcon flyers to its business-class-only Polaris Lounges. We will use information provided on this form to be in touch with you. You’ll now find a mix of Boeing 757s, 767s, 777s and 787-10 Dreamliners flying cross-country. Review Highlights “ Very clean; and going back to the size, the shower rooms were bigger than other lounge showers I've seen. Learn more about our focus and commitment to our customers, dealers, employees and communities EN-CA The deserted buffet area was a shadow of its former self, and for good reason: pickings were slim. View our latest valuations here. Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport Terminal 1 is still closed, leading to minor confusion; so we disembarked at Terminal 2A, on a bus (so much for social distancing.) The new acrylic barriers on display at SFO are currently being installed at airports across the country. Most stores and restaurants were closed, so the majority of passengers were sitting by the gate. United Polaris® Business Class Named for the North Star, the brilliant point in the nighttime sky that travellers have looked to as their certain guide, Polaris is the shining star of business class that flyers can look to and depend on for true comfort and a sleep experience like no other. Each window seat is either flush with the window (my preference) or the aisle. At the time, the airline started taking delivery of new planes with these top-notch biz pods. While domestic travel in the US is slowly ramping up—flights are increasingly full, and security lines have returned at most airports—COVID-19 has decimated international travel. Furthermore, schedule changes are happening quite frequently – I was booked to fly the flagship Boeing 777-300ER, but it was swapped to a 777-200 at the last minute. There were no other options available. 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. Edit. For one, I chose to fly midweek with the hope that it wouldn’t be too full. 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. share Read Article. The amenity kit has been through a few iterations though, and the latest version is a plastic pouch with a limited selection of goodies. But the overall experience was terribly disappointing and reeked of cost cutting. At Newark airport, the United Club near gate C74 offers a quiet place to work, but not much else. Priced at $32.99 for the entire flight, speeds were some of the best I’ve experienced in recent memory. And so was the cookie (which is traditionally served at the end of the flight.) In an effort to boost consumer confidence, airlines are aggressively touting enhanced hygiene protocols. Polaris Lounges nationwide remain shuttered, and all eligible passengers are invited to use the standard United Club. United has eliminated roughly half of the seats. Related: The one major social distancing challenge I’d like to see airlines fix. While this sounds good in theory, passengers didn’t follow instructions on my flight. SFO is home to four United Clubs, as well as a flagship Polaris Lounge. United is trailing behind competitors in virtually every regard when it comes to the lounge experience—in terms of lounge availability, food offerings, and showers. All guests are given a small to-go bag stocked with water and some snacks. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. And you get the Polaris lounge at ORD. Additionally, I purposely chose to sit in the last row of the cabin in one of the single seats flush with the window. We passed. Dining tables are few and far between; there’s only four to six chairs around high-top workstations; and solo seating is sparse. However, there’s a full assortment of traditional liquors available upon request. Unlike American Airlines, United doesn’t admit premium transcon flyers to … By clicking on Subscribe, you acknowledge that information that you submit will be transferred to MailChimp in accordance to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. They crowded the aisles, making deplaning one of the least safe elements of the flight experience. Finding a United Club that’s still in operation is like finding a unicorn. The JetBlue Mint review has already published. Spin COVID-19 and hygiene all you want, nothing justifies serving a meal without linen or a tray in international business class. See, 7 ways the United Club experience has changed due to the pandemic, international travel is largely off-limits, The cheapest way to upgrade transcon United flights, legacy-United 757-200s with a 28-seat biz cabin, Why more lie-flat seats on United flights isn’t necessarily good news, adjustments to the meal and snack service, Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight, United improves onboard beverage service, trims Saks amenities, deplane passengers in a socially distant manner, The one major social distancing challenge I’d like to see airlines fix, Marriott reinstates elite benefit guarantees effective immediately, Check your American Airlines accounts: 2021 rollover elite miles, dollars and segments now posting, Travel industry reconsiders political donations following Capitol siege, 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 intention is good, but execution was unremarkable. All rights reserved. Travelers flying United will soon be able to enjoy a bit more room to catch some inflight snooze time. Just note that you won’t find any of the legacy-United 757-200s with a 28-seat biz cabin, since those planes are parked in long-term storage. CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners. At the United Club Newark, the bar area is now entirely clear of furniture, in favor of social distancing markers on the floor. As a Premier 1K, I’ve had plenty of experience with United’s often unreliable Wi-Fi network. This didn’t bother me too much on the daytime flight, but I would certainly miss the duvet on redeyes or longer hauls to Alaska or Hawaii. 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. This lounge is temporarily closed. Might we suggest at least stocking up the bar, offering full mini-bottles, and perhaps serving quality sandwiches or cold plates? Though the meal service has been trimmed, at least it’s still available. Once airside, there were plenty of hand sanitizer stations located throughout the airport. Related: How to determine if your flight is full. United Airlines Click here to download. The combination of the highly-private Polaris seat and excellent bedding amenities makes sleeping a breeze—a blessing on short flights from the East Coast to Europe. I selected a gin and tonic with my lunch, which was served in a sealed bottle and can. Expect lie-flat seats with plenty of personal space on the 777 and 787-10. Related: Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight. The airline is also building a … United’s worldwide lounge network virtually shut down on March 17th. The closest thing you’re getting to alcohol on the ground is whatever’s included in the wipe. Where are the veggies? We left the United Club Newark near gate C74 and made our way to our departure gate. Back in June, United announced a long-awaited overhaul of its international business-class service and amenities, including new seats. Even though travel demand has declined significantly, the carriers are still offering their top products on these cross-country routes. 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? Flying on a nearly empty widebody is thrilling. 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. Members of the loungereview.com team report on their recent experience traveling in United Polaris business class from Newark to Paris. United Airlines is closing its network of Polaris international business-class lounges, effective Wednesday. As long as social distancing remains possible, that’s unlikely to be a problem, but should traffic pick up, concerned customers may be better off skipping the lounge and staying in the public concourse. Boarding the United 777 was so exciting. 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. The two things I missed most were the old fashioned and Saks duvet. We eagerly made our way to the bar, and asked for a glass of Champagne. There was no cleaning staff in sight, despite the fact that the club has many touch points. Polaris seats are pretty standard across United’s fleet. The airline is also building a new flagship club near gate C124 in a bid to permanently mitigate crowding. Image zoom To be fair, the salmon was tasty. Polaris Business Class passengers may also ask for an amenity kit like those that are offered on board. 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. One option is the United Polaris lounge in Houston, the airline's luxe international business class lounge. By clicking on Subscribe, you agree that we may process you information in accordance to these terms. Welcome … For more information, review our our Privacy Policy. The 777-200 is configured into four classes; United Polaris business, Premium Plus, Economy Plus and Economy. (I wasn’t surprised to learn that Christie is the same company that created the legendary Doubletree cookie.). (But, so much for “any top-shelf alcohol.”) The bartender opened a mini bottle, poured into plastic cups, and promptly stashed the bottle away. Now, due to JetBlue’s Newark expansion and the depressed travel market, flights have dropped to $399 each way. Upon entering the plane, every passenger was given a sanitizing wipe and gloves by request as part of United’s CleanPlus initiative. Stay up-to-date on major lounge openings, exciting developments, and ground service innovations. She offered a choice of chicken or pasta, but didn’t give much more description than that. It was social distancing at its finest—and a sad reminder that Americans can only travel to 20 destinations worldwide. © 2021 Sound Imagineers, LLC. Every airline is making adjustments to the meal and snack service. Center pods are either adjacent to each other (great for couples) or facing the aisles. Take one of our seats for a spin in full 360. Instead of operating swanky widebody jets, the carrier put more efficient planes on the routes. 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. Just one of them (N670UA) is in the most premium-heavy Polaris configuration, with 46 business seats. At the end of the day, cutbacks are understandable. They also have a serve yourself snack bar on the plane, that includes wine. I kept snapping pictures of the cabin and aircraft. On Business Class, United wins. Also, if United can provide proper silverware for dinner, why is breakfast all plasticware? I was flying on a Wednesday afternoon, and the airport was empty. It isn’t as extensive as JetBlue’s Hayward-branded kits, but it’s definitely better than nothing. 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. 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