United’s Polaris Business Class Arrives on Its 767s
The grounding of some of the airline's 777s became an opportunity to bring back glammed-up 767s
United Airlines is not sitting still while the world changes into a new postpandemic normal. And that goes for its signature seats known as United Polaris, which extends into branded service, clubs and cabins for premium flyers.
The Polaris seats are now headed for the company’s line of 767-400ERs. The plane is a rare one—only 37 were ever put into commercial service and United’s fleet of 16 were mothballed during the pandemic. However, recent incidents that required the airline to ground a swath of its 777 aircraft fleet turned into an opportunity to bring the 767 workhorses back into action and glam them up with state-of-the-art cabins.
The current configuration of the 767-400ER features 39 seats in business class, 70 Economy Plus seats, and 133 in United Economy. The new layout will offer 34 United Polaris business seats, all with direct aisle access; 24 United Premium Plus seats; 48 United Economy Plus seats; and 125 United Economy seats. Other retrofit benefits include refreshed lavatories, in-seat AC & USB power, updated Panasonic IFE and new LED lighting throughout the cabin.
The purple-hued Polaris seat (often the telltale mark on United seat maps when trying to determine whether a particular flight offers Polaris service) comes with such added amenities as a Sunday Riley comfort kit, soft herringbone blankets and bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tempur foam pillows. Aisle seats face the window and offer the most privacy in 1-2-1 cabin configurations, although the narrower 767 is likely to bring a 1-1-1 layout. Each Polaris seat measures up to 23 inches wide and reclines to a fully flat bed up to 78 inches long, depending on the aircraft.
On a flight I took from San Francisco to Narita, Japan, Polaris passengers were offered cushioned headphones and pajamas. The menu included Japanese cuisine and, as the flight originated in San Francisco, Ghirardelli sundaes for dessert. The Polaris lounge in San Francisco provides a seated café and waiter service amid plush resting spaces, for a trip that becomes a seamless vacation between meetings.
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