I flew on the same plane type from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL), and I wanted to continue flying on the 777-300ER with Polaris seats on my way home. Since there is only one a day in each direction currently, and that flight to Los Angeles (LAX) was particularly expensive (over $1k), I found that I could fly Honolulu (HNL) to San Francisco (SFO) in the 777-300ER with Polaris Seats, and then a quick connection onto an E175 to Orange County (SNA) for $630.
Currently, United offers three flights a day from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL) on the 777-300ER’s with the Polaris Seats selling as Domestic First. But come June 2022, it will drop to one flight in each direction. The other flights will get replaced by the less desired 777-200’s without the Polaris seats in a 2-4-2 “dorm style” configuration in First.
Honolulu (HNL) to San Francisco (SFO)
United Flight 372
Aircraft; Boeing 777-300ER
Cabin: Domestic First
It just so happens I flew on April 18th. On this flight, it left early in the morning and the mask mandate was still in effect. Once I boarded my connecting flight, pilots abruptly announced that after a federal judge voided the two week extension to May 3rd, United would not be enforcing the mask mandate anymore and masks would be optional.
I got to HNL around 5:30am and boy were the lines long for getting checked baggage checked through the Agricultural Inspection line. Thankfully, I only had carry-ons so I headed to the TSA PreCheck line and it was quite short (3 minutes).
It began 50 minutes before departure at 6:10am, and they boarded from two doors. Rows 1-8 got to board from the first door and rows 9 and up boarded from the 2nd door. This is why I chose to sit in the first Polaris Cabin (rows 1-8), as it allows for less foot traffic during boarding.
The United 777-300ER features 60 seats in the Polaris cabin, with it being split up pretty evenly between 2 sections (rows 1-8 and rows 9-18). There are 4 lavatories (2 in front, 2 in between the two sections) for the Polaris passengers.
The United 777 Polaris Seat:
Last time I was in 5A, and this time I was in 7A. I personally would prefer 5A for a few reasons. First, you get an extra window to look out of, as 7A only has one. Secondly, 7A is a bit close to the galley, and often I heard people talking, so if you want a quiet rest, 5A is better.
The Polaris seat has a coat hanger, and a small storage under the TV, as well as a cubby under the footrest. The tray table pushes out from under the TV which also houses a tablet holder, and the seat controls are to the side near your legs.
Closer to the aisle is a large side table with decorative lamp, as well as a cubby that can open/close and houses the headphones provided which were pretty decent. There was a power port and two USB connectors as well.
In the lie flat mode the bed’s length is 6 feet 6 inches, and the seat felt pretty comfortable for me. It is a bit of a narrow seat, and I bet it could be a bit wider if there weren’t vents in between the window and the seat.
A pillow and blanket labeled with Saks Fifth Avenue branding was waiting at my seat, and a pouch containing earplugs, toothpaste, toothbrush and eyeshades were provided. The pillow and blanket were perfectly sufficient for a “Domestic First” serviced flight, but I would expect a bit more for a “Polaris Business” marketed flight as the blanket was a bit thin and the pillow a bit lumpy.
Choosing the Best Polaris Seat:
On the 777-300ER, the odd numbered window seats are hidden from the aisle which gives it more of a private feeling. For that reason, if you’re traveling solo, you would want to choose odd numbered rows along the windows for maximum privacy. If you’re traveling with a companion, odd number rows in the center are good as well as they are closer to each other and further from the aisle. That is, if you want to be close to them…lol
If you’re curious how an even numbered seat looks like at the window, here’s a view of 6A.
Shortly after boarding, an attendant came by with a welcome drink of water or orange juice. And, the captain announced that the flight would be four hours and forty five minutes. We left the gate a few minutes before our scheduled departure and took off fifteen minutes after.
Since the flight left at 7am, breakfast was served shortly after reaching cruising altitude. It was the same exact food choices on my LAX-HNL outbound flight, with the French toast option or the Egg whites with sausage + potatoes. This time, I opted for the egg whites option, and I have to say I liked the egg part and potatoes, just not the sausage. Definitely better than the Egg Quiche they served last year…
Also, the fruit was fresh and sweet and bread was much better than the outbound flight, so overall not a bad breakfast. But, I do wish they offered more variety, or changed up the meal options in each direction.
One funny thing was that I suppose they were missing spoon silverware, so when I unwrapped my napkin, I discovered a little surprise hehe.
Service on this flight was attentive, and they made sure you got everything you wanted. I asked for a couple rounds of water (I wish they gave out bottles) and a salty snack, in which the attendant checked and found me a can of Pringles (yay!). I do wish they offered like snacks/snack basket proactively?
And about an hour and a half before landing they actually served some Hawaiian cookies rather than the “pie in the sky” which is a gooey cookie. I was quite happy as I really don’t like the pie in the sky as I find it way too sweet for my liking.
The IFE was solid, with a 16 inch screen size and high resolution. I continued binge watching the HBO Max show Succession which I started on my outbound flight. Since the flight left so early, I also took a nap. I love how they have a “Relax Mode” that plays white noise and shows peaceful videos such as the night sky and the stars.
WiFi is also offered on the flight, and now United has free messaging via iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. And WiFi access for the whole flight was $8 for Mileage Plus members and $10 for non-members.
Between watching TV, to taking a nap, the flight went by so quickly, and next thing I knew we were preparing for landing in San Francisco.
Like my outbound flight, I had a solid experience on the United Polaris 777. It is probably one of the best ways to get from California to Hawaii with the solid hard product. I’ll be looking to fly on this plane again on my future visits to Hawaii, and the only improvement I would ask for would be making the food selection more interesting and proactively offering more snacks.
Have you flown on the United Polaris 777? How did you like it? Comment below!
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Wonder why they are putting in the dreaded 2-4-2 in biz planes? Also noticed UA putting these awful biz configuration 777s on the EWR-HNL instead of the current 767-400s?
Thanks for reading! I think probably because they are moving the 300ER to the long haul international summer routes. Ouch, that would be quite bad for such a long EWR-HNL flight.