United: Polaris business class for all Australian flights

The newly-minted Virgin Australia partner is putting its best foot forward.

By David Flynn, May 26 2022
United: Polaris business class for all Australian flights
Executive Traveller exclusive

United Airlines is locking in its latest business class seats for all flights between Australia and the USA, in recognition of the importance of the fresh alliance between the Star Alliance member and Virgin Australia.

This includes the soon-to-resume Melbourne-San Francisco service, to be followed later this year by Melbourne-Los Angeles.

Marcel Fuchs, United Airlines’ Managing Director of International Sales, also confirmed to Executive Traveller the Sydney-Houston trek would return in October.

And while United Airlines’ revamp of its Boeing 787-9 jets to the latest Polaris business class spec is still underway, Fuchs said all of United’s Dreamliners bound for Australia would sport the flatbed seats, which provide every passenger with direct aisle access...

... along with convenience features such as extra shelf and storage space, a large personal video screen and even more privacy to create what our review of United’s Polaris business class described as “a cosy cocoon for relaxing, working and sleeping.”

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

United’s flights from Sydney are generally departing with a full cabin in business class as well as the Premium Plus – the airline’s premium economy offering with wider seats, extra legroom, a greater recline and upgraded meals – as leisure flyers opt for greater comfort during their trans-Pacific trip.

On the return leg to Australia, business class travellers enjoy exclusive entry to United's Polaris lounges at Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, all of which boast dedicated dining room with à la carte menu, a well-stocked serviced wine and cocktail bar, spacious well-appointed showers and even a quiet area with relaxing daybeds.

In short: there's everything you need for freshening up or resting up, enjoying a restaurant-grade meal and relaxing with with a cocktail before ascending the skies back to Sydney or Melbourne.

Capped by United’s commitment to 100% Polaris business class for Australian passengers, Fuchs sees all the pieces as falling into place.

“We’ve got great product, great lounges and now a great partner in Virgin Australia,” he remarked to Executive Traveller.

The return of United’s Sydney-Houston route will fully deliver on the airline’s ‘triple gateway’ promise, alongside its Los Angeles and San Francisco hubs, giving travellers a one-stop journey “to virtually anywhere in North or South America,” Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of international network and alliances, tells Executive Traveller.

“Because of United’s vast network, they’re not having to double-connect or even triple-connect.”

In the domestic US alone, United lists almost 40 US destinations from Los Angeles, 65 from San Francisco and over 100 from Houston.

“Then you add on all the Mexican cities, where we serve 24 different cities in Mexico – and you add on our services to Central America and South America – and you can see how it’s very, very broad,” Quayle says.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

26 Apr 2019

Total posts 7

I just flew Business Class return SYD-SFO.  The seat and a very friendly FA were the highlights.  The food (dumped on the table, served on a single plastic tray and borderline inedible) and the Polaris lounge shutting at 10.30pm despite the fact that the plane had been delayed until midnight were the lowlights.

27 May 2022

Total posts 2

UA have confirmed the return of a 3 step meal service and revamped meals for all Polaris long haul services from June 1. I'm willing to hold off judgement until then. So fingers crossed. Much prefer Polaris trans-pac compared to QF, plus UA onward connections. 

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