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United has finally been making some headway with the rollout of its Polaris Business Class product over the past 12 months as it took delivery of aircraft featuring the new cabins, refitted a number of existing aircraft with the new Polaris seat and finally got its lounge program back on track too (the LAX lounge opened last week).
The problem is that a lot of United’s long-haul fleet still doesn’t offer the real Polaris Business Class product and, because of the deceptive way the airline names its Business Class cabins, this fact isn’t alway obvious to the infrequent traveler.
Still, progress is being made and, as things stand, the airline has 47 long-haul aircraft offering the real Polaris Business Class cabin and it has promised to introduce a new aircraft with Polaris Business Class every 10 days through 2020.
I confess to not being a frequent passenger on United but, if I was, one of my bigger frustrations would be that none of the airline’s 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners offer true Polaris Business Class…they offer this:
The image above is from a modern-day United Airlines long-haul Business Class cabin but it’s about as modern as an iPhone 3 or Windows 7 – it belongs in the last decade.
The aircraft that offer these Business Class cabins operate some of United’s longest routes (Houston to Sydney springs to mind) so a refit to add the vastly superior new Polaris Business Class cabin is overdue….but it’s finally on the way.
United has confirmed that it will begin refitting its older 787 Dreamliners with the all-aisle-access new Polaris Business Class seats “from 4Q 2019” and the airline expects to have “the majority of [its] wide-body fleet” refurbished by the end of 2020 [HT: AUBT]
The refurbishment of the aircraft will also see United add its new Premium Economy cabin (Premium Plus) to the Dreamliners so it will be interesting to see if any Business Class seats will be removed to make space for the new intermediate cabin.
Rumors say that the Business Class seat numbers will remain the same following the refit but I’m not so sure that’s the direction United will go….at least not on all its Dreamliners – we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s about time United got its act together and started refitting its Dreamliners with a modern Business Class cabin but, as the saying goes, better late than never.
I expect to see the first 787-8/-9 Dreamliners offering the true Polaris Business Class cabins from around December this year and it will be interesting to see which routes the first of the refitted aircraft will serve – logically it should be the longest routes yet to offer the new cabin but logic doesn’t always apply in the aviation industry.
I’m hoping to try out both Business Class and Premium Economy on United’s new 787-10 Dreamliner later in the year so I’ll post a review if/when I get a chance to book the flights (I’m waiting for United to open up some award availability which it has been reluctant to do so far).
Featured image courtesy of United