I needed a flight to get to the New York area this summer, and United had the best fares for Business Class at $699 one way. Given that economy was pricing out at over $400, I decided to take the splurge as it was on a widebody with the Polaris seats. I’ve previously flown on the 777-300ER to Hawaii with the Polaris seats but those were ticketed as a Domestic First flight. I was curious to see how the United Polaris Transcontinental premium service would be from Los Angeles to New York/Newark. Turns out it wasn’t much different, other than an extra small memory foam pillow and nicer amenity kit.
Los Angeles (LAX) to Newark (EWR)
United Flight 2473
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Cabin: United Business
Our flight was the last red-eye out of Los Angeles to Newark. It began 50 minutes before departure at 11:05pm, and they boarded from the second door. We visited the United Club before the flight, which flying on a premium transcontinental serviced flight gives you access to.
Since I was in row 3, we turned left after boarding. I like choosing to sit in the first Polaris Cabin (rows 1-8), as it allows for less foot traffic during boarding.
The United Polaris Transcontinental Seat on the 777-200:
The Polaris cabin on this 777-200 has a total of 50 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. It is split up with rows 1-8 in the front being before the second door and then a smaller cabin of rows 9-15 (skipping 13 and 14). There are 3 lavatories (1 in front, 2 in between the two sections) for the Polaris passengers.
The odd numbered window seats are positioned closer to the window, away from the aisle which gives it more of a private feeling. For single travelers, you would probably want to choose odd numbered rows along the windows for maximum privacy. Couples may like the middle seats in odd numbered rows as they are away from the aisles and closer to one another.
Be sure to check what aircraft you’ll be flying on as the 787’s and 777’s should have these new Polaris seats in the 1-2-1 configuration. But, if your flight is operated by a 757 it will have the 2-2 configuration B/E Aerospace Diamond seats instead.
The United Polaris seat has a coat hanger, and a small storage under the TV. The tray table pushes out from under the TV, and the seat controls are to the side near your legs. One little design flaw (or user error) is that often your leg does bump the seat controls a few times due to the location of the controls.
For my seat, closer to the aisle is a side table, as well as a cubby that can open and close. There was a power port and two USB connectors as well.
In lie flat mode the seat is 6 feet 6 inches, and the seat felt pretty comfortable for me. I believe that it could be a bit wider if there weren’t any vents in between the window and the seat, so I would say the seat is a bit narrow in its current form. On this flight, I did find the foot cubby a bit restrictive, but overall the seat design was relatively comfortable and felt very private. You feel like you are in your own little suite, especially with the odd numbered rows being removed from the aisle.
Two pillows (on normal and one memory foam) and blanket labeled with Saks Fifth Avenue was provided. I found the memory foam pillow too small, and put it under the normal pillow. It just seemed a bit useless to me and I wish it was bigger. Also, the blanket was super thin, and a bit worn out. Definitely not as nice as Casper bedding that American provides in the same transcon route. United branded headsets were provided to me, but my dad’s seat was missing them. The crew didn’t have any more to give but thankfully the lady next to us wasn’t going to use hers so she gave it to us which was nice of her.
Shortly after boarding, an attendant came by with a welcome drink champagne or water. And, the captain announced that the flight time in the air would be four hours and forty minutes.
While waiting at the gate during boarding, the flight attendant came to take meal orders. The offerings on this flight were a ravioli dish or chicken. I opted for the chicken. Interestingly, online when booking the flight it showed that only a snack service would be provided for this red-eye, but in actuality a dinner meal was given.
First, warm nuts were provided as well as a drink.
A little less than an hour from our departure from the gate I got my meal delivered to my seat which included a side salad, bread, the main chicken dish and a cheesecake for dessert. I thought the chicken was a bit too dry for my liking, so I didn’t finish it. The highlight of the meal was the cheesecake with chocolate chips, which was surprisingly good. Overall, not a great meal, as I have expected with United, but hopefully they will improve. For comparisons sake, on my flight from Boston to Los Angeles a few days later in American Flagship Business, the dinner seabass dish was really tasty!
I liked the 16 inch IFE, and there were some new movie releases but the goal of this red-eye flight for me was to maximize the amount of sleep I could get.
The feature I used on this flight was the “Relax Mode” where you could have it play white noise music as well as put on a video like starscapes for ultimate relaxation.
If you wanted WiFi, it was available for a pretty fair price of $10 for non Mileage Plus members or $8 for Mileage Plus members for the entire flight. Messaging was also free for IP messaging apps such as iMessage and WhatsApp. This was definitely a plus compared to American as they were charging $29 for the whole flight and didn’t give free messaging.
After the meal, I ended up sleeping all the way until the captain came on to say that we were beginning our initial decent for landing. We then landed about 30 minutes later, right on time.
The amenity kit has an eye mask, Lip Balm from Sunday Riley, earplugs, hand sanitizing wipe, a toothbrush + mini Colgate toothpaste. Prior to this flight, I’ve only had the basic Hawaii mini amenity kit that they give out since Hawaii flights are marketed as Domestic First flights, so it was interesting to see this new Away kit. This zip case is exclusively for premium transcontinental business class flights. Oddly, my mom’s seat was missing an amenity kit. Whoever prepped the plane did not do a great job.
Overall, my experience on the United Polaris Transcontinental 777 fell a bit short. The hard product is excellent and the seat design feels very private. But with the little things from the missing headset and amenity kit, to a broken IFE screen and subpar food there are definitely improvements to be made.
Have you flown on United Polaris Transcontinental Business before? How was your experience? Share below!
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