What United Flights Have the Real Polaris Business Class Seats

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

The first United 777-300ER enters scheduled service bright and early tomorrow morning at 7AM with a flight from Newark to San Francisco. This is not only the first aircraft of that type to be operated by United, but it is also the first one that will feature the new direct aisle access Polaris business class seats.

Polaris Seat United.jpg

These may not be the best business class seats in the sky, but they are pretty darn nice. Add in the Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and pillows, upgraded meal and drink service, Cowshed amenities, and more and you have a business class product that I am very much looking forward to trying out for myself.

img_8009.jpg

The New United 77W Planes Are Great…In the Front

However, if you can’t get yourself into one of the 60 Polaris seats at the front of the 77W and instead find yourself with the majority of folks in the over 300 economy seats, then the plane offers much, much less to be excited about.

While there are power outlets and seat back entertainment screens at all of the seats, the economy section of this plane is the first United plane to seat 10 across in a 3-4-3 arrangement. That’s a lot of people in a row. The seat width is pretty small at just 17.05 inches across with 31 inches of pitch. Economy Plus is a little better with the same unfortunate seat width, but an extra inch of recline and 3 extra inches of pitch. To give some comparison, the United 764 gives 18 – 18.5 inches in width in economy and even the Spirit Airlines A321 provides 17.75 inches of width, though the Spirit seats don’t recline.

 

Flying all night in a row with 10 people and just over 17 inches of seat width does not sound exciting to me, but as long as you keep yourself at the Polaris end of this bird, you should be very well off. Along those lines, if you are anxious to try out the Polaris seat for yourself on a future United flight, I want to run down some of the ways to make that happen.

Polaris Business Class Does Not Mean New Polaris Seat

First, be very clear that just booking a seat marketed as United Polaris Business Class does not mean it is the new Polaris seat. In fact, for quite some time to come, most United flights with Polaris service will not be in the new Polaris business class seats. Instead, the Polaris service just means it will have things like the Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, new food/beverage options, and access to the Polaris Lounges as they become available. Currently, the only Polaris Lounge open is in Chicago.

Not Polaris Seats.jpg

Fly the 777-300ER to Get Polaris Business Class Seats

If you want the Polaris business class seat you need to pay attention to aircraft type, and for now the only type that has it are the handful of new Boeing 777-300ER, aka 77W, planes. Over time some other aircraft types will be retro-fitted with the new seats. You can check the aircraft type by clicking on “Details” as shown below.

United 77W Polaris.jpg

The seat map itself will also clue you in you are looking at the Polaris seats as they are in blue as opposed to the “old” Business Class seats that will be shown in yellow.

united-777-300er-seat-map-jpg

Catch a Domestic Ride on the 77W This Spring

Beginning February 16th and running for a few months until May 4th, there will be at least one 77W operating between Newark and San Francisco six days a week, with a second 77W planes operating the route between February 22 and March 8th (except on Tuesdays and Sundays). I did multiple spot checks and haven’t recently seen a business class saver award available on this route, so it will cost you the standard award rate of 50,000 miles unless you get lucky and find a business class saver award at 25,000 miles.

Paid one-way tickets can be as high as several thousand dollars, such as for tomorrow’s inaugural, but I see prices as low as about $670 one-way on some dates in mid-March. The flight times you want to look for to fly in the 77W and the new Polaris seat are the 7AM EWR – SFO flight and the 12:50PM SFO – EWR flight. As you get more into spring, the times do shift a little bit. On the dates with two 77W’s running you can also look for the 8:30AM SFO – EWR flight and the 6:10PM EWR – SFO flight. Again, to be extra safe, also check the “Details” and be sure you are booking on a 777-300ER if you want Polaris seats.

True Polaris Seats Fly International March 25th

After that domestic introduction, the 77W will enter international service where it will get the full Polaris treatment complete with pajamas, bedding, and multi-course meals on March 25th when it will begin flying between San Francisco and Hong Kong. Some other routes from SFO thought to be likely to get the 77W in the near-ish future are Beijing, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo. Tel Aviv has also been mentioned as a possible destination both from San Francisco and Newark.

The routes from the US to Asia or Israel will cost you 70,000 United miles at the saver level in business class…if you can find that availability…which is far from a given.

By the end of the year United should have 14 777-300ER planes with the new Polaris seats, and the number of aircraft in the fleet with the seats will only go up from there. However, in the coming months you will have to either be lucky or purposefully seek out the true Polaris seats if you want the full Polaris experience.

Do you have a flight booked in the new United Polaris business class seats?

 

 

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. the flights are sooooo in demand that one can totally forget about the front cabin in either saver awards (I-class) or J upgrades unless you’re GS or 1K on a super high fare (R-class).

    For all practical purposes, it’s either full cash ticket or the full award (JN-class)

  2. Won’t these flights be available throughout the year as more 777-300’s are put into service? I was going to try and catch the EWR-SFO flight for about $600, but my work schedule wouldn’t allow me to break away for this bit of fun.

  3. My long hauls this year are on the 747-400 before they are eliminated later this year. Booked twice so far on SFO-FRA (and then on to CDG) upstairs in the cocoon which is better than United First downstairs in the nose. Will miss this aircraft but have many happy memories from trips over the years. Will most likely do SFO-EWR to check out Polaris in the next month or so.

  4. I’m flying SFO-HKG March 28 on the 77W and snagged a miles (30,000) and bucks ($600) upgrade award. I’m platinum and got the upgrade awarded three weeks prior to departure. I don’t know United’s upgrade hierarchy, but my guess is putting up real bucks for an upgrade (which along with the miles is refunded if you don’t get upgraded) puts your request high on the list.

  5. Is 757-200 a real Polaris seat? I’m flying from SFO to Orlando with a layover in Newark. I’m trying to decide if I should choose to a longer lay flat seats or take shorter route on the standard recliner seats.

    • No, only the 777-300 have the real Polaris seats and there are only a couple of them in service right now.

    • I flew in a 757-300 out of Newark to SFO in Feb 2017, and it did have the true Polaris seats. Best flight ever. Ended too soon.

  6. Thank you for the clarifying info! Just booked a couple flights in Polaris Business with my well traveled 4 yr old and then watched the United tour video and instantly had buyer’s remorse because the seats appeared so separated it will make it difficult to manage my daughter throughout the flight. But thanks to your review, I’m not dreading tomorrow’s 20 hr journey because our flight is 777-222 (yellow seats) so we won’t have the big dividers between us. I can sleep well tonight. Thanks!

  7. Flown about 8 “soft” Polaris flights so far this year and the same booked over this summer.

    Huge difference in what this product offers from one flight to the next – mainly down to service offered by the FAs and the quality of the food.

    So far, I’ve found that the menu ALWAYS has been better leaving the US than heading to the US (I fly BCN/EWR). Also, many of the FAs are Spanish, based in Spain and there is an occasional language barrier (including a humourous moment when I’d ordered mimosa and got a screwdriver which I almost spat out all over the OLD polaris seat!

    But credit where credit is due – It’s generally a huge differenece from what it used to be. The food can be cold but you will not go hungry. The wine is average, but totally acceptable and I must say the cheese plates are delicious.

    My first new Polaris seat is booked for next month which I will be excited to experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *