United's Houston Polaris lounge opens June 29

By David Flynn, June 27 2018
United's Houston Polaris lounge opens June 29

United Airlines will open its latest Polaris business class lounge at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Friday June 29.

It's the fourth of the new-look lounges, following ChicagoSan Francisco and Newark, ahead of a November 2018 opening for a Polaris Los Angeles lounge at LAX Terminal 7.

AusBT review: United Airlines Polaris San Francisco lounge

However, travellers should think of the Polaris Houston lounge as being a little but more 'boutique, explains Alexander Dorow, United’s Director of Premium Services.

It will be "a little smaller than our other locations… I call it our ‘boutique hotel’ of a lounge”, Dorow tells Australian Business Traveller.

“It has little areas that are quiet and away from the rest of the lounge, private resting suites that look out over the tarmac, shower suites, and a buffet that we’ll be calling The Bistro.”

Highlight dishes showcase local influences such as this healthy Texas breakfast skillet...

... along with a ligher avocado caprese salad...

...amd this unique  English muffin duo.

A Polaris 'penthouse' with sweeping views

“We wanted to create a lounge that was really private, and it feels like you're stepping into somebody's residence,” Dorow explains.

With that in mind, the Polaris lounge crowns the top floor of Houston Airport's Terminal E, taking over that space from the old United Club.

“The entire third level is now the Polaris Lounge, above the United Club and with sweeping views over the tarmac and runways.”

“The lounge used to have an entry level, a main second level and then a third level above it."

Dorow says the staircase which used to connect the second and third floors has been closed and built over – “you'd never even know it was there” – with an elevator to whisk Polaris passengers between lobby and lounge.

For a taste of what United's Houston Polaris lounge will be like, read our review of the recently-opened Polaris lounge at San Francisco

No frequent flyers allowed 

As with its siblings, the Newark Polaris lounge will be restricted to business class and first class travellers on United's international fleet and its Star Alliance siblings, with top-tier frequent flyers in other classes shunted into the lesser United Club lounges.

Read more: United Airlines defends banning frequent flyers from Polaris lounges

Polaris LAX lounge opens November

United’s fifth Polaris lounge is slated to open in November at Los Angeles Terminal 7, "and is much more of an intimate space," Dorow says.

“The Los Angeles Polaris lounge is built into what was our former Global First Lounge, but we also took over all of the United management office spaces that we had to essentially double the size.”

The resulting lounge is a ‘bow tie’ in shape, built around either side of the terminal’s central rotunda, from which “you can actually look up and see part of the lounge, actually where the dining space is going to be.”

“The bar will look very different than what you see here in San Francisco or in Newark – it really feels like you're in California, especially in Southern California, with the unique tiles that are indigenous to that area. We want the lounge to feel really ‘homey’ to our customers who call Los Angeles home.”

Dorow says the “distinctly LA” vibe will embrace a strong focus “on wine and spirits which is attributed to the California clientele, more so than any of our other hubs.”

Read more: From showers to sushi – designing United’s new Polaris lounges

 
 
 
 
 
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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 58

Nice to see that these long-awaited lounges are close to opening, but it remains unfortunate that there seems to be no timeframe (or even intention) to equip the 787s that service Australia with the new Polaris seat ... the Saks bedding only goes so far with the current dated hard product.

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 63

I wouldn't call the seat 'dated', the 787s are still young. The configuration perhaps, 2-2-2, but as a solo traveler I just make sure I get one of the middle aisle seats.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 58

The seats themselves may not be old, but the design (B/E Diamond) is now far from best-in-class, having been introduced at least 10 years ago (on Continental Airlines, inter alia). I agree that the 'middle aisle' seats are the least objectionable, but none compares favourably to the Thompson Vantage XL (QF business 'suite'), the B/E Super Diamond (VA 'The Business'), or the Zodiac Cirrus (CX), where the quality of the experience is largely independent of the seat's location.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 175

I’m looking forward to trying it in January. it will ease us into the flight home after visiting relatives for Christmas.

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 60

Then you get on board and turns out to be a major anti-climax. Careful you don't breath or stare at grandmother cabin crew (undoubtedly all of whom are on a power trip) the wrong, way as that sort of reckless action may have you thrown off for being a security risk. Mind boggles why people actually pay for carriers like this. Then again Nth American aviation lags far behind in soft and hard product generally.

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 63

Surprised this comment hasn't been screened. Grandmother cabin crew? You might be pleasantly surprised by the US long haul product these days, you obviously haven't flown it for a while.

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 60

Are you serious? I can’t count anymore how many cabin crew I’ve encountered oon US carriers who are indeed my grandmothers age. Please don’t become PC. It’s reality. I’m sure if you asked many of those older cabin crew if they are are actual grandmothers you may be surprised. There is no I’ll intent. I will say however I have become concerned at times at the ages of some and the potential implications of evacuation etc. That’s a personal legitimate concern I have at times.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 175

I’m looking forward to trying the lounge when I return from holidays mid Jan. Finally Air NZ will have a reasonable business class lounge to use. With All my flights through Houston I haven’t used the lounge.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on United's Houston Polaris lounge opens June 29