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2 years later: Polaris Hype vs. Actual - Is it worth it?

2 years later: Polaris Hype vs. Actual - Is it worth it?

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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:27 am
  #46  
 
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Hard to tell, in two years of flying United Business/First products since the rollout 1-2 times a month at least... I've only sat in the new Polaris seating on ONE flight. I did really enjoy that flight and the seat.... I just wish I got to see it more often.

The lounges are great. I no longer HATE EWR, now I quite like my layovers there.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 12:41 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by LordHamster View Post
Hard to tell, in two years of flying United Business/First products since the rollout 1-2 times a month at least... I've only sat in the new Polaris seating on ONE flight. I did really enjoy that flight and the seat.... I just wish I got to see it more often.

The lounges are great. I no longer HATE EWR, now I quite like my layovers there.
Same here. I fly both ways across the Atlantic 8-10 times a year, always in C, but only once so far in a genuine Polaris cabin. Following the received wisdom, I booked an odd-numbered seat in a 767 and wished I hadn't. Access into and out of the even-numbered seats is far easier. Haven't experienced pre-plated food yet, but not looking forward to that.

The ORD lounge is mostly overcrowded and you still can't see if the lavs are occupied or vacant without using a flashlight. I haven't found overcrowding in LAX and SFO — yet. And off course LHR remains excellent.

My impression at the time of the hype was that they were desperately trying to prevent their F and J pax from leaving, so promised what they couldn't actually deliver in the hope that people would be taken in. And they were.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 1:00 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by helvetic View Post
How can you possibly say Polaris is overhyped when you haven't flown it nor visited its lounge. You can't base an opinion on a few pictures and just bedding and food.
Umm, every international UA flight I have been on the last few years (which is quite a few) has been "Polaris". I even still have several teddy bears. I was led to believe there would be more of the new Polaris seats and an IAD lounge by now. Not to mention better food and wine. That is how.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 1:56 pm
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Overall, I'm very pleased with Polaris. It's a solid hard product (although I will miss the option of a pair of seats on the window) that is very competitive in the international market. But what is more exciting to me is that UA is managing this with a reasonably high floor density, and committing to larger J cabins for years to come.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 2:03 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Artpen100 View Post
Umm, every international UA flight I have been on the last few years (which is quite a few) has been "Polaris". I even still have several teddy bears. I was led to believe there would be more of the new Polaris seats and an IAD lounge by now. Not to mention better food and wine. That is how.
That's a branding issue, not an issue with the quality of the Polaris experience
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Old Dec 17, 18, 2:12 pm
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Maybe I'm an outlier, but I've had 4 flights on old hard product (on 772/787) and 6 flights (2 more next week) on new hard product (all on 77W). I would say that overall UA did deliver on the Polaris experience for me. I admit that I do avoid ORD and flying on 767, so maybe there's a bias in me booking on 77W flights.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 4:55 pm
  #52  
 
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We just have to realize the fact that the “surprise and delight” program was really extended to the Polaris hard product. You are surprised and delighted when you get a Polaris hard product but certainly expect the old worn product on most flights. The Polaris lottery so to say.

having said that - the soft product downgrades over the last two years have been disappointing.

Flying mainly out of IAH - the hard product has been far and few between for this GS.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 4:58 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It's curious how DL gets a pass on this stuff. Their D1 Suite conversion pace is absolutely glacial. And their 767s, which are the backbone of their international fleet, have an awful hard product.
I don't even consider DL/AA given their mess/outdated J products and domestic connections (awful on the return). If not UA I'm looking at foreign carriers.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
Perhaps, but can you give an example of a similar product roll-out that was completed faster than what United is doing with Polaris?

For all the hype of the Delta One Suite, it was announced only a few weeks after Polaris and is currently available on fifteen (15) ships... in other words, 1/3 of United's progress in virtually the same time period.
If I'm remembering correctly, Air Canada redid J, introduced PY, and reconfigured Y on 25 777s from Sept '15 to Jun '16, so maybe ten months. I don't think there have even been that many Polaris retrofits by this point.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:15 pm
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These days I actually hope for the old 777 config over Polaris, as they are allowing GS/1K to select the F seats, which i still find superior to the new Polaris J product. More room. I get cramped in my feet and knees/shins in the new seats. The Polaris soft product has absolutely gone downhill from its grand rollout, and I don't know how anyone can claim otherwise. The laziness of FAs has crept back in. More anonymous service with the bigger J cabins. I've had multiple instances of limited pre-departure beverage service. The mid-flight snack bars are horrendous. Wines are rarely stocked according to the menus.

I'll still take it over the 2-4-2 seats, but it is definitely declining.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:21 pm
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Originally Posted by nexusCFX View Post
If I'm remembering correctly, Air Canada redid J, introduced PY, and reconfigured Y on 25 777s from Sept '15 to Jun '16, so maybe ten months. I don't think there have even been that many Polaris retrofits by this point.
In terms of retrofits, United is up to 25 aircraft in service (13 763, 12 772), plus 20 new deliveries (18 77W, 2 78J) for a total of 45 frames on property. Approximately 8 more 767/777 are in mod at the moment.

AC is actually a great example, although their full-gut retrofits were for a total of 18 777s in the span of 10 months, not in connection with major maintenance visits (unlike UA). Of the 25 777s, 2 were new-builds (coming from Boeing with the new interiors) and 5 were partial reconfigurations, removing Thompson business class seats and replacing them with the Super Diamond seat. Those 5 (2013-14 deliveries) were the first to feature 3-4-3 in Y and premium economy from the factory, so those cabins were not heavily modified.

14 of the current 76C configuration is planned to mod to the high-J 76L. When these aircraft were first retrofit in 2013-2015, they received new interiors, Y seats and IFE, all of which should substantially remain in place. I believe the 76C>76L reconfigurations will proceed at a brisk pace.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:21 pm
  #57  
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I think it is important to separate the experiences into a few buckets:
  • One for those who have not flown the 77W or the refitted 763 and 772 but have been to the Polaris Lounge
  • One for those who have not flown the 77W and refitted aircrafts and have NOT been to a Polaris Lounge (LAX, IAD, DEN based flyers)
  • One for those who have flown in the Polaris seat and visited the lounge
  • One for those who have flown in the Polaris seat but have not visited the Polaris Lounge
For Group 1 and 2 above, passengers probably noticed little improvement on board except for one gel pillow, one additional blanket, PJ on certain flights - so not worth the hype.Sure, lounge is better for group 1, but is it worth the hype? For Group 3 and 4, there is no doubt the Polaris seats are better and lounge is nice if you have the time and lounge to visit. I am sorry for those based on LAX, DEN, IAD the most. Almost no regularly scheduled Polaris ready planes and no lounges .ORD and IAH are the next batch from the bottom: have lounge and few Polaris seats fitted planes. EWR is next, and SFO is on the top of the podium. Basically there is no differentiation on inflight caterings and services between Polaris and pre-Polaris. I am in none Polaris seats more than sitting in a Polaris seat, and I need to connect to ORD/EWR/SFO to experience Polaris Lounge ( I am DC based) Is it worth the hype for me? No! No doubt it is a better experience if one is consistently in Group 3 and 4.
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Last edited by UA_Flyer; Dec 17, 18 at 8:27 pm
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:42 pm
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Haven't tried the true polaris seat because honestly there is not that many available yet. Did try out the SFO polaris lounge. Seating is nice, crowded at times (what lounge isn't) food was nice, food poisoning wasn't (they shouldn't keep the buffet and noodle bar lukewarm, but shame on me for not noticing in foresight I suppose). It would be hard for Polaris to surpass TPAC J rivals I suspect but when the routes become available I'll try. I really don't understand why UA isn't more aggressive on rollout on TPAC other than they feel they can just get away with it on their corporate contracts. I just book away for a better J and what has been a non-existent W product. I'm just not a fan of UA's service or food TPAC compared to competitors so Polaris is very much flat to non-existent in my experience.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
Did try out the SFO polaris lounge. Seating is nice, crowded at times (what lounge isn't) food was nice, food poisoning wasn't (they shouldn't keep the buffet and noodle bar lukewarm, but shame on me for not noticing in foresight I suppose).....
On one of my visits to the SFO Polaris Lounge a guest was trying to get the attention of staff and was loudly and repeatedly complaining that the chicken was raw/under-cooked. Her insistence that the dish should be removed from being served was met only with some shrugging of the shoulders by the lounge staff.
Did you happen to have the chicken from the buffet?
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Old Dec 17, 18, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Her insistence that the dish should be removed from being served was met only with some shrugging of the shoulders by the lounge staff.
What language was she using? The same as the staff's tongue?
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