The great sleep forward: United’s new business class targets the drowsy

  • Sleep-focused, business class service launches Dec 1 on intercontinental flights
  • New pre-departure United Polaris lounges will offer chef-designed pre-flight dining, spa-like showers and sleep pods

united polaris business class copyDuring 12,000 hours of research, United Airlines was told by passengers that sleep was the single most important priority for international business class travellers.

The result is Polaris, what the airline calls a path-breaking design and sleep-enhancing focus inspired by inflight product simulations and 100 product evaluations.

United will begin to introduce United Polaris on Dec. 1, 2016, with the new inflight food and beverage experience, new custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, new amenity kits and the new United Polaris lounge in Chicago.

United say Polaris business class is the airline’s most significant product transformation in more than a decade, featuring a reimagined, sleep-enhancing, departure-to-landing experience for intercontinental travelers.

The United Polaris business class seat will first take flight in December on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and subsequently on Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, as well as on Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits.

United Polaris will serve business class customers flying 330 destinations in more than 50 countries. The services form Belfast and Dublin to Newark currently use Boeing 757-200 aircraft which are not scheduled to offer the new business class service.

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The custom-designed, exclusive-to-United seat, is designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Seats in Wales, each United Polaris seat will offer direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 6 foot 6 inches of bed space.

The suite-like pods will be forward-facing, and feature mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen,, electronic privacy dividers for seats in the center of the cabin and a do not disturb sign..

Saks Fifth Avenue bedding will feature duvets, lightweight day-blankets and a large and small pillow. Mattress cushions will be available upon request.

Slippers will be available on all flights, and customised United Polaris pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours.

Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow. New amenity kits will feature ergonomically designed eye shades, calming lavender pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co.’s Cowshed Spa.

Business class customers will be welcomed with a pre-departure beverage and gourmet chocolate. While in the air, customers will be offered regionally influenced in-flight menus updated seasonally, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project an chefs Bill Kim of acclaimed Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack.

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Inflight service will also include made-to-order signature ice cream sundaes, a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options, chocolate truffles and wine flights. Wines have been upgraded. On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.

United and PriestmanGoode have also redesigned the United Polaris cabins.

United will also open an exclusive portfolio of United Polaris business class lounges in nine locations around the world that will feature custom-designed chairs, private daybeds, spa-like showers and hot meals served in a boutique restaurant setting with premium sparkling wines and spirits.

The first new United Polaris lounge will open at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 1, 2016. Lounges in eight other locations – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow – will follow in 2017.

This year, United launches or resumes eight intercontinental routes, including the first-ever service between the United States and the Chinese cities of Xi’an and Hangzhou. The airline began nonstop service in late May linking New York/Newark with Newcastle in England and Athens, and linking Washington Dulles with Lisbon and Barcelona.

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On June 1, United launched its first-ever nonstop service between San Francisco and Singapore, the longest flight by a US. carrier. Service between San Francisco and Auckland begins in July.

Oscar Munoz, president and CEO of United said “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.”

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