Last updated: 02:35 PM ET, Fri June 03 2016

United Airlines Unveils New Polaris Business Class

Airlines & Airports | United Airlines | Josh Lew | June 03, 2016

United Airlines Unveils New Polaris Business Class

Photo courtesy of United

United Airlines has unveiled its new business class cabin. It is calling the new United Polaris class “the airline’s most significant product transformation in more than a decade.”

The new cabins will be launched on Dec. 1 of this year.  

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz touted Polaris, named after the North Star, a huge step forward for his airline’s business class offerings. “United Polaris will change the game in international business travel with an exceptional

level of relaxation and comfort throughout our customers’ journeys. This completely reconceived experience exemplifies the new spirit of United and the innovation, excitement and operational momentum across our airline.” 

What is all the hype about? 

United is outfitting the business class on its wide-body aircraft with custom-made seating designed by Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGood and manufactured by Zodiac Seats UK. Each seat will offer direct aisle access and will recline to 180 degrees, offering a full lie-flat experience. When fully reclined, the “bed” will be 6.5 feet long. 

Each business class seat will have a pod-like design for added privacy. There will even be a do-not-disturb sign that passengers can turn on. Other features will include mood lighting, a 16-inch in-flight entertainment screen and multiple tables so that passengers can work and eat at the same time. 

Putting a premium on sleep

Bedding was designed in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue. Fliers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow and pajamas and slippers (on flights longer than 12 hours). 

United said that it conducted exhaustive research and found that the ability to sleep comfortably was the most important thing that business-class travelers looked for.   

READ MORE: Airlines Bringing Gourmet Food to The Skies

Better food

Food has been a major part of United’s recent attempts to upgrade its image. This trend is seen in United Polaris. Passengers will be treated to a pre-flight drink and chocolates when they board. Regionally-inspired menus have been created by some of the country’s best known chefs, and United’s in-house sommelier has selected wines to pair with each meal. 

Better lounges

United is also upgrading nine business class lounges at major hubs so that they fit with the Polaris theme. In addition to unique menus, the lounges will include showers and daybeds. The Polaris lounge at Chicago O’Hare will open by the end of this year, and eight other airports will eventually get the special venues as well:  Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow. 

Which planes will get Polaris?

The cabins will first be seen on the airline’s 777-300ERs and will then appear on Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350-1000s. Eventually, Polaris will be installed on Boeing 767-300 and 777-200s as they go through renovation. 

The upgrade is part of United’s aggressive international expansion plans. The airline has recently launched flights to currently-unserved Chinese cities like Xian and Hangzhou. It will soon launch new direct flights to Singapore, Newcastle, Athens and Auckland. 

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