United Airlines is bringing Polaris business class to Sydney

A summer switch to the Boeing 777-300ER sees United's Sydney-San Francisco flights upgraded to Polaris business class.

By David Flynn, September 24 2019

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.

Privacy is a key attribute of United Airlines' Polaris business class.

On top of that comes more space, including increased storage and working space around the seat, plus a larger 16-inch HD video screen.

At-seat storage and personal space at Polaris business class.
Settle back and enjoy some movies on the 16-inch HD 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.

Polaris window seats offer maximum privacy.

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.

These paired middle seats are ideal for flying with a friend.

In contrast, all Polaris business class seats in even-numbered rows angle out towards the aisle.

All 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.

United's Boeing 777-300ER Polaris business class cabin.

And here is how that cabin layout shapes up in reality.

United's Boeing 777-300ER Polaris business class cabin.
United's Boeing 777-300ER Polaris business class cabin.

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.

Your Polaris seat becomes a fully-flat bed with quality bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue.
Hit the 'Do not disturb' button and the crew will know to leave you to your slumber.

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.

San Francisco's Polaris business class lounge.

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.

Read more: Qantas upgrades Sydney-San Francisco to Boeing 787

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 387

'Lipstick on a pig'....still can't fathom that people spend their money flying United.

sanj747

sanj747

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 88

One wonders why they would do a 2-2-2 seating on the dreamliner - a new aircraft into the fleet.

TZB88

TZB88

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 44

They don't. The 787-9 has been in their fleet for ages, hence has the original J class. They will retrofit these with the new Polaris seat next year. All 787-10s, and any new longhaul aircraft for that matter, come with the new seat.

sanj747

sanj747

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 88

The 787-9 should have been 1-2-1 as it is a new age aircraft. United will go through the same next year similar to what Qantas are currently with their refurbishment of their 380s.

Mikana

Mikana

UA

09 Mar 2016

Total posts 27

That's the general story about the 787 seats but UA is still adding 789s to the fleet, I think, ... certainly there are some that are only 1 year old ... so I don't understand why the ones built since Polaris was introduced about 2 years ago were not fitted with the new seating but will have to be retro-ed. But then, I know almost nothing about the ins and outs of buying or leasing airliners! The existing 789 seat is really comfortable but the 2-2-2 and minimal privacy, not to mention the dreary look of the business cabin, is quite passé. The knee jerk sneers on this forum about UA international business class are also passé. Soft product on all equipment and cabin versions is easily as good as QF, and none of that overly familiar QF attitude and no Luke Perry rubbish.

Stuart's world

Stuart's world

21 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

Awesome move UA. Polaris is an exceptional product and with the aircraft to match UA will offer the best product across the Pacific. I recently flew UA LAX to MEL and the service and the food and the amenities was superior to what I experienced on QF MEL to LAX. The new UA lounges and terminal space are exceptional too. One wonders if those who continue to make critical comments about UA have actually even flown them recently?

TZB88

TZB88

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 44

Agreed. The Polaris Lounges in the US are outstanding.

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 735

Just in time for the refurbished QF A380s. Competition is working on the transpacific route. A lot of Australians might bag United, however they have a very loyal domestic market in the same manner as QF does here.

SYDINI

SYDINI

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 70

QF loyalty is going to keep QF in the high demand bracket. UA will pick up the traveller that is interested in getting the latest offering.

BrisbanePE

BrisbanePE

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 31

Nice if you're up front, but how does the 777 compare to the Dreamliner in Economy? I've found the Dreamliner surprisingly pleasant.

carolmd55

carolmd55

25 Sep 2019

Total posts 1

Hello there from Sydney, Australia. Have always flown Business Class from Sydney to the USA and have had great service on 747's and 787's. Am looking forward to trying out the 777 Polaris Business Class on our next trip to San Francisco.

Sjobriann

Sjobriann

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jul 2016

Total posts 2

Hello from Houston, We have had 2 flights with the Polaris seats when we flew to Europe in July. Very good actually and the lounges are good too.. Btw thank you EBT for the article early this year regarding Star Alliance status match for Qantas. My husband and I are now Premier Platinum in United through January 2021. We are not sure which airline to use back to Perth this coming summer. It will depend on the price, even though our favorite airline still is Qantas.


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