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United Polaris – The Seat, Amenities, Routes, Lounges & Booking Options

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Spencer Howard

Spencer Howard

Former Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 21U.S. States Visited:

Always a fan of flying, Spencer wanted to find ways to upgrade his travel experience. Over the years, Spencer has been a guest speaker on multiple YouTube shows as well as podcasts on maximizing point...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 39U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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United Airlines began rolling out its Polaris product in late 2016 when it outfitted business class cabins with new food and amenities and opened its first Polaris Lounge in Chicago.

Since then, United has had repeated delays in expanding its new flagship product, but most aircraft are finally equipped with the new seats. Let’s dive in and discuss everything you need to know about this new product.

The New Polaris Experience

United’s business class product has not had a good reputation for quite a while, so the upgrade to the new Polaris product is a much-needed improvement. Similarly, the Polaris Lounges are a significant upgrade to the current United Clubs.

The Seat

Enjoy a lie-flat seat with direct aisle access when flying Polaris. Image Credit: United

Since you’re going to be spending so much time in your seat, that’s exactly where we’ll start. United has revamped its business class seat with the help of Zodiac, and it has received great reviews.

The seat width is a comfortable 23 inches and the pitch is 75 to 78 inches. Bulkhead seats in rows 1 and 9 have a few more inches of space. Each seat is fitted with spacious footwells that allow easy movement of your feet. Similar to the increased pitch, bulkhead footwells also provide more space for your feet.

Every seat has direct aisle access and can be positioned into a lie-flat bed. Seats in odd-numbered rows will provide the most privacy since the window seats are truly next to the window, and the seats in the middle section are also set back from the aisle.

Odd-numbered middle seats are best if you are traveling with a partner since the seats are parallel and right next to each other. However, if you are traveling alone in one of these seats, you can still put up a privacy divider. This divider can even be up during takeoff and landing.

The seats in even-numbered rows face the aisle and do not have quite as much privacy. While the seats are the same, be aware of this when booking your business class seat on United.

Above the 16-inch inflight entertainment system, you’ll find a bar to help you stand up from your seat without rocking the person in front of you. You and your fellow passengers will appreciate not being disturbed while sleeping on long-haul flights.


United has introduced a redesigned amenity kit by luggage company Away for Polaris. Image Credit: United

United has really stepped up its game when it comes to the new bedding it provides business class passengers in the new Polaris seat. It has added a comfortable mattress pad and cozy blankets.

The popular blue gel pillow is now provided to every Polaris passenger rather than stocked in limited quantities on request.

If you plan on sleeping, make sure you request a mattress pad at the beginning of your flight as United does not carry enough for every seat. Slippers are also available on request on every Polaris flight.

On flights over 12 hours, you can request a pair of pajamas.

United’s new Polaris amenity kit comes in a small Away luggage case, which is really cute. The amenity kit includes lip balm, hand cream, eye shades, socks, a pen, and more.

Food and Wine

With a revamped menu, you can enjoy a great meal when flying Polaris. Image Credit: United

While many international carriers have long provided fantastic meals in business and first class, United has lagged behind. When you book a business class seat on Singapore Airlines, for example, you will have an awesome meal that you can reserve before your flight to ensure you get exactly what you want.

United might not be on that level yet, but the new Polaris inflight dining options are a big improvement. The menus were developed with the help of The Trotter Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization.

United continues to change the Polaris catering offering so that a number of items from the original Polaris launch are now only available on request:

  • Pre-departure beverages – you can still request a specific drink though you will only be proactively offered sparkling wine, orange juice, and water.
  • Bloody Marys and Mimosas on daytime flights – now on request
  • Wine flights on evening flights – now on request
  • Hot mid-flight snacks – now on request
  • Pre-arrival dessert (cookie) replaces pre-departure chocolate

Further cuts previously announced include:

  • Entrees will no longer be plated onboard — now they will be plated in advance of the flight and served as is
  • Flight attendant staffing will be reduced on some aircraft – cost-cutting

Inflight Entertainment

As we mentioned earlier, the Polaris inflight entertainment system comes with a 16-inch touchscreen monitor. A simple remote is also provided so you don’t have to get up to make your selection. In the side console, you will find a pair of headphones to use throughout the flight.

United provides plenty of tv shows and movies to keep you entertained when you’re not sleeping on long flights.

Wi-Fi is also offered on these flights for those who would like to stay connected with the world. United does not use Gogo Inflight Internet, so you won’t be able to use your complimentary Gogo passes provided by The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Polaris Lounges

United is stepping up its game with the Polaris lounge. Image Credit: United

United made a huge upgrade with the introduction of the Polaris Lounge. There is ample seating including cubicles, restaurant-style benches paired with tables and chairs, 2-top tables, the usual lounge chairs, and the bar.

The bar provides a number of drink options including premium wine, spirits, and champagne while the buffet provides both hot and cold food for you to enjoy.

If you’d prefer table service, you can order from a menu and your food and drink will be brought to your table.

What Airports Have the Polaris Lounge?

Polaris Lounges are open in:

Like its inflight product, United has had delays rolling out new lounges as well.

Upcoming Polaris Lounge openings:

  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • London Heathrow (LHR)
  • Tokyo Narita (NRT)

Other than the Los Angeles opening, no other Polaris Lounge opening dates have been made public.

Lounge Access Policies

Access to the Polaris Lounge is very limited. Passengers in Polaris first or business class must depart from the airport the same day to have access to the Lounge. If connecting, these passengers can visit upon arrival or before departure.

Passengers on a Star Alliance partner booked in business or first class on an international long-haul flight can also access the Polaris Lounge, but only if they are departing from that airport. These passengers do not receive access if they are arriving on an international long-haul flight.

If United markets a flight as “United Business” rather than Polaris, you will not have access even if you’re on an international flight. Domestic business class and first class passengers (including to and from Hawaii) won’t have access either, even if the flight is marketed as a p.s. (premium service) flight.

An important point to remember is that United Club memberships do not gain you access to the Polaris Lounge.

What Routes Have the New Polaris Product?

United’s Boeing 777-300s are being delivered with the Polaris product installed. Image Credit: United

The new Polaris product is on the vast majority of United widebody aircraft, including the Boeing 777-300s, 777-200, 767-300, 787-8, and 787-9 aircraft. The new Boeing 787-10 and the Airbus A350 will be delivered with the new product as well.

The 787-10 will also fly on domestic premium transcontinental routes from Newark to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

When looking to book Polaris seats, make sure to verify your route and flight will have the new seat, in addition to the Polaris service offered aircraft new and old. Within the next year, all aircraft should be fully retrofitted.

How To Earn Miles to Book Polaris

As a Star Alliance member, there are many ways to book United flights with miles, which means we have several options for earning miles through credit card partners.

Let’s start with earning United miles. You have a few credit card options that will allow you to earn United miles directly.

Chase United Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Cards

You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points and transfer those to United at a rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 10,000 United miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards (Personal)

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards

You can also earn Chase Ultimate Rewards that can then be transferred to United. In many cases, these cards will be the fastest way to earn tons of United miles.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

If you’re a business owner, see our list of the best Chase business credit cards.

American Express Membership Rewards Cards

There are also a bunch of ways to earn Membership Rewards, and Air Canada is an Amex transfer partner, which you can use to book this product.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 125k (or 150k) points with the Amex Platinum. The current public offer is 80,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

If you’re a business owner, see our list of the best Amex business credit cards.

How To Redeem Miles for Polaris

If you’re traveling with a companion, the middle seats in odd-numbered rows are perfect for you. Image Credit: United

Fortunately, you have lots of ways to book an award flight with this new product if one of the routes works for you. Here are a few of the best ways to redeem miles for Polaris flights.

The easiest way to book this award is often by redeeming United miles. However, you might get a better deal booking with Air Canada Aeroplan or Asiana Club depending on the route and the points you have.

Here’s a breakdown of some the one-way award prices on a few routes:

RouteUnited MileagePlusAir Canada AeroplanAsiana Club
San FranciscoHong Kong70,000 miles82,500 miles60,000 miles
NewarkTel Aviv70,000 miles75,000 miles67,500 miles
San FranciscoTokyo65,000 miles75,000 miles60,000 miles
San FranciscoTaipei70,000 miles75,000 miles60,000 miles

Final Thoughts

United has been long overdue for an upgrade to its premium product. As it slowly retires its international first class product and introduces the new Polaris product, more people will likely become interested in flying with them.

With several ways to earn points and book award flights, you can take numerous approaches to try out United Polaris.

The information regarding the United Club℠ Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.


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Cindy O'Brien

February 16, 2019

Flying to Athens from Newark June 17, 2019. I booked Polaris Business seats. Our plan is listed on site as a 767-400ER but I don’t even see them listed on the upgrade list. Will I get a Polaris seat? Will they change the aircraft to the 777-300?

I’m going to be very disappointed if I’ve paid all this money to sit on an old plane in old seats.

James Larounis

February 20, 2019

Hi Cindy. I sure would be disappointed, too, if I was in older seats! The new Polaris seats are swanky. When you say they aren’t on the upgrade list, if, after calling United, have they verified they’re showing on the list? The upgrade list doesn’t show until 24 hours prior to the flight as far as an order as to who will receive the upgrade first, so if the flight is in June, you won’t see this information yet. Let me know and I’d be glad to walk you through the rest. 🙂

Joost de Jong

June 02, 2019

Hi Cindy,

I would count on getting the standard stretched economy seats that you get from United Business. In the last 2 years of 500K miles flying across mostly international routes, I have never seen these mythical Polaris seats. (Yes, when you buy the fare it says ‘Polaris’, when you get to the plane it won’t be there, just the regular 6 in a row business section). I am sure some planes have the Polaris seats now, but I have not seen them on 787s, nor the 777s or 767. Not on flights to Asia, Australia, Europe or South America. If these mythical Polaris seats actually exist, they are doing very well in keeping them a secret


July 17, 2019

If I booked a regular ticket (paid with money) however I want an upgrade to business will that also cost 70000 miles?

Stephen Au

July 17, 2019

Richard, it all depends on what kind of ticket you have. Check out our guide on how to upgrade to business/first class on United Airlines here.


Marcia Nelson

October 15, 2019

We purchased tickets last February from Columbus, SC to Venice. The day before our trip, my husband had a mandatory meeting and had to miss the first leg of the trip to Dulles. He notified United and ahead of time and the charged us a $500 change fee for missing a 55 minute flight and they charged him $7,800 to rebook what was supposed to be the exact same other five legs! Then they messed that up also. We tried to challenge the charge and they denied it completely and didn’t even address our issues. (Happy anniversary and birthday to us!). Is there any place we can complain to? We did not change any dates times, or seats on the other legs, to include the Polaris flights and we got my husband to DC ourselves since the agent claimed he couldn’t get my husband from Raleigh to DC. Thanks. I hope you can help. We are sick about this.

Stephen Au

October 17, 2019

Hi Marcia,

We’re so sorry to hear about this. What you described happening last February is quite a long time ago. Even if there was any chance that you’d get compensation, it’s likely too late already. In the future, you can consider purchasing fully refundable tickets so that you don’t need to pay such exorbitant amounts.

Just remember that if you miss the first leg of your trip, they will actually automatically cancel your ticket, invalidating the rest of your trip. Avoid that at all costs! Thanks for reading.


March 08, 2020

Is there a Polaris flight from San Diego to Dublin and what is the approximate cost? I have lower back pain issues and lying down for a flight sounds a lot better than sitting in a seat for a long flight.
Thank you

Jarrod West

March 08, 2020

Hi Katherine,

Currently, there is no non-stop service from San Diego to Dublin offered. Your closest option would be flying non-stop to London with British Airways.


February 09, 2021

Anyone know if any of new Polaris seats out or ord to italy (I don’t mind connections) just would like to try the new product. The update on their website has not been “updated” in a year or so. Thanks love this site!

Susie Evans

July 25, 2022

Please please please include meal ingredients on each flight. With so many allergies in our modern world (garlic for me) it would be so nice to be able to eat a meal after paying so much for the flight! Let’s face it, it would not be difficult and really make thing easier for a large numbers of people.

Katie Seemann

July 26, 2022

Hi Susie,

I’m sure that would be helpful for a lot of people. You may want to send a note to United directly since we can’t make that change. Have you ever tried contacting the airline before your flight? They should be able to accommodate your allergies if they know ahead of time.


July 27, 2022

Taking my 1st true long-haul Polaris flight next month…can anyone tell me:

-is the menu/food actually different options/better than what is served in economy or the same just plated instead of plastic containers?

-my flight from Zurich is listed as 11 hrs, 55 min. Will they have pajamas or do they see that as not a 12 hour flight?


Chris Hassan

July 27, 2022

Hi Matthew,

United Polaris has its own menu, different from economy. Pajamas can be requested on flights over 12 hours long, even then they aren’t guaranteed, so I think you would need to be a little lucky to get some to Zurich – but you never know!



February 20, 2023

FYI as of Feb 20, 2023, from sentence in the article above- “Follow along with the United Polaris tracker to see the fleet retrofit.” Click the weblink and get “This experience has been removed by the publisher”

Keri Stooksbury

February 21, 2023

It appears so! We’ve removed that link from our article. Thanks for reading!


April 18, 2023

Hi there,
So, is it just me or is the Polaris set-up more constricting? The pods feel small and you have to be a contortionist to get in and out of it. I just flew Polaris to Japan (LAX – HND) and back and it wasn’t as great of an experince as I thought it would be. We actually flew to Japan (Osaka from SFO) in 2019 and had the wide leather seats that were still private with a partition behind. They were way more comfortable. Also, and this is interesting, we were in the ANA lounge and they told me that my first class seat was considered business class to them. So, they wouldn’t let me into the Suite lounge and sent me to the regular one.
Thank you.

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