Wednesday, November 30, 2016

United to unveil new Polaris business-class upgrade Dec. 1

(United Airlines)

Chicago-based United Airlines will roll out its new premium business-class product United Polaris in all of the company’s markets Dec. 1.

The product rebranding includes all aircraft interiors, digital media, inflight service and airport lounges. The first United Polaris airport lounge will open at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, with additional lounges in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow to follow.

“We are rethinking and reimagining all we do,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said, adding the new program will “offer an elevated customer experience … from lounge to landing.”

Among other amenities, the United Polaris service intends to improve the sleeping experience for international business-class passengers.

“We [are putting] the legacy of the weary business traveler to bed for good,” United EVP and CCO Julia Haywood said. “We heard from our customers, and what resonated as a very consistent theme was that they needed a tailored experience that would maximize comfort and sleep.”

To that end, the new service will offer designer bedding, duvets, multiple pillows, cushions, slippers, United Polaris-branded pajamas (by request on flights exceeding 12 hours), ergonomic eye shades, calming pillow mist and a relaxation-oriented IFE channel. Meal service will also be shorter, United said, so passengers can have undisturbed sleep times.

United said its new business-class seats will debut in 2017. The airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be the first to feature the new seats. The seats will be installed subsequently on the airline’s forthcoming 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. United’s 767-300 and 777-200 fleet will also be retrofitted with the new business-class seats, which are custom-designed.

United partnered on the new seat design with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode; the seats are manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom. Each new seat will have direct access to the aisle, a 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 78 inches of bed space, encased in a forward-facing individual pod.

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

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