United Airlines will treat business travellers on daily flights between Sydney and San Francisco to its Polaris business class seat, when a summer upgrade to the popular trans-Pacific route sees the current Boeing 787-9 swapped for a Boeing 777-300ER.
Not only does the Boeing 777-300ER have more seats than the Dreamliner – which no doubt drove this decision as a way of coping with increased demand – but its best seats are the airline's latest Polaris design, which swaps the close quarters 2-2-2 seating of the Dreamliner for a 1-2-1 layout where every passenger has direct aisle access.
On top of that comes more space, including increased storage and working space around the seat, plus a larger 16-inch HD video screen.
Polaris is also very much about privacy, especially if you choose one of the window seats (those are the A and L seats in odd-numbered rows), which places you a little further from the aisle.
If you're travelling with a partner, we suggest snaring the paired D and G middle seats in the odd-numbered rows, as those are closer together and have a divider which can be lowered so you can share the journey.
In contrast, all Polaris business class seats in even-numbered rows angle out towards the aisle.
To pull all that together, and help you make the best choice of where to sit, here is United's Boeing 777-300ER Polaris business class seatmap.
And here is how that cabin layout shapes up in reality.
Regardless of where you sit, the lie-flat bed, quality bedding and pyjamas (available on request) will be especially welcome on the overnight segment of these flights.
United's schedule shows the San Francisco-Sydney flight UA863 moving up to the Polaris-equipped Boeing 777-300ER from Tuesday December 3, with the corresponding UA870 Sydney-San Francisco flight primed for Polaris from Thursday December 5.
This continues through to Friday March 27, with UA870 bouncing back to a Boeing 787 as of Saturday March 28.
At its San Francisco hub, United Airlines offers not only an impressive Polaris business class lounge ahead of the 14-hour journey home but an extensive network of flights across the USA for seamless connections.
United's move comes the same month that Qantas shifts its Sydney-San Francisco service from a Boeing 747 to a Boeing 787, the later being not only a better aircraft with a superior travel experience but sporting Qantas' latest Business Suite, which is highly competitive against the Polaris.
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