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United Polaris - New Business Class seats & inflight service {Archive}

United Polaris - New Business Class seats & inflight service {Archive}

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Archive thread -- Active thread is United Polaris - New Business Class seats & inflight service -- 3+ years after Intro

United website - Explore: http://view.ceros.com/united/polaris-business-class/p/1
from UA's Facebook stream
Only customers traveling in United Polaris business class or United Polaris Global First on international flights and customers in Star Alliance international first or business class cabins on flights longer than six hours will have access to the United Polaris Lounge.
Official Polaris Lounge Access Rules are here: Polaris Lounge Access Rules

United Polaris Business and Polaris First pax may access the Polaris lounge at connecting airports and their final destination within 24 hours of departure or arrival.

*A international J and F pax may only access the Polaris lounge at the departure airport. For purposes of Polaris lounge access, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, and Guam are excluded from the definition of "international."

Seat Chart.

Press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...300278706.html

NEW YORK, June 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With the aspiration of making weary business travel a relic of the past, United Airlines today unveiled its all-new United Polaris business class, the airline's most significant product transformation in more than a decade, featuring a reimagined, sleep-enhancing, departure-to-landing experience for intercontinental travelers.

Named after the North Star, United Polaris is the shining new star of business class travel that flyers can turn to for a tranquil and restful journey.

"United Polaris will change the game in international business travel with an exceptional level of relaxation and comfort throughout our customers' journeys," said Oscar Munoz, president and CEO of United. "This completely reconceived experience exemplifies the new spirit of United and the innovation, excitement and operational momentum across our airline."

Path-Breaking Design

In setting out to create a transformative business class experience, United chose to outfit its widebody fleet with a custom-designed, exclusive-to-United seat, rather than select an option already in the marketplace. Designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom, each United Polaris seat will offer direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 6 foot 6 inches of bed space.

Crafted as individual, forward-facing, suite-like pods, each customer's personal suite will feature a "Do Not Disturb" sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers. Complementing the new seats, United and PriestmanGoode have also conceived an all-new look for the United Polaris cabins.

In rethinking the international business class experience, United conducted more than 12,000 hours of research, and sleep emerged as the single most important priority for international business class travelers. United Polaris' path-breaking design and sleep-enhancing focus was inspired and informed by insights from hundreds of customers and employees, inflight product simulations and more than 100 product evaluations.

Sleep-Enticing Amenities

In addition to the sleep-enticing United Polaris personal suites, several other amenities were designed with our customers' sleep in mind.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership, United has worked with leading luxury specialty store Saks Fifth Avenue for custom-designed bedding. All designed to provide the best sleep in the sky, the new bedding collection will feature plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer. In addition, mattress cushions will be available upon request.

Slippers will be available on all flights, and customized United Polaris pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours**. Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow. New amenity kits will feature ergonomically designed eye shades, calming lavender pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co.'s Cowshed Spa.

With the introduction of United Polaris, the airline intends to donate tens of thousands of pillows, blankets and other inflight service items to Fisher House Foundation, which United and its employees have long supported.

Elevated Dining Experience

Upon boarding their flight, each United Polaris customer will be welcomed with a pre-departure beverage of his or her choice and gourmet chocolate. While in the air, customers will enjoy regionally influenced in-flight menus updated seasonally, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project and its critically recognized chefs, including Bill Kim of acclaimed Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack.

The airline will offer an upgraded wine experience, with the highest-quality options curated exclusively by United's Master Sommelier. Inflight service will also include made-to-order signature ice cream sundaes, a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options, chocolate truffles and wine flights. On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.

Raising The Bar With United Polaris Business Class Lounges

United will also open an exclusive portfolio of United Polaris business class lounges in nine locations around the world the only lounge of its kind offered by a U.S. airline to business class customers that will feature custom-designed chairs, private daybeds, spa-like showers and chef-inspired hot meals served in a boutique restaurant setting so customers can refresh and dine before boarding their planes. Premium sparkling wines and spirits, refreshing snacks and bottled water will also be offered.

The first new United Polaris lounge will open at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Dec. 1, 2016. Lounges in eight other locations Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow will follow in 2017.

United Polaris Introduction

United will begin to introduce United Polaris on Dec. 1, 2016, with the new inflight food and beverage experience, new custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, new amenity kits and the new United Polaris lounge in Chicago. The United Polaris business class seat will first take flight in December on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and subsequently on Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, as well as on Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits.

United Polaris will serve business class customers flying the U.S. airline industry's most global route network, reaching more than 330 destinations in more than 50 countries.

More information on the United Polaris business class can be found at united.com/Polaris.

[From [email][email protected] 11/15/2016]
Starting December 1, 2016, United Polaris Business Class service will replace United BusinessFirst service on international flights, and United Polaris Global First service will replace the current United Global First service.

Between 2017 to 2019 eight additional United Polaris lounges will open at EWR, HKG, IAD, IAH, LAX, LHR, NRT and SFO. We do not have the exact opening dates at this time. A scheduling announcement will be forthcoming.
** Flights with pajama service (for both directions)
SFO - ICN, PEK, PVG, HGH, XIV, TPE, AKL, HKG, CTU, SYD, TLV, SIN
EWR - NRT, PEK, DEL, BOM, HKG, PVG
ORD - NRT, PEK PVG, HKG
LAX - PVG, SYD, MEL, SIN
IAD - NRT, PEK
IAH - NRT, SYD
(from United Twitter feed https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CyjFHZLW...jpg&name=large

{Similar Threads:
Polaris Lounge Roadmap 2017-2018 (wiki) (thread)
Polaris lounge ORD - opened 01 Dec 2016 (wiki) (thread)
SFO Lounge changes? Which will become Polaris? Shower options?(wiki) (thread)
United Polaris-New Business Class seats & inflight service and new Polaris Lounges(wiki) (thread)}


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Old Aug 22, 16, 10:18 am
  #1411  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
but it is going to be 21.5" wide on the 787, it is a fact of geometry.
Sort of, but since the aisle seats are angled, principles of geometry would dictate that achieving 1.5" of width reduction across the horizontal axis of the airplane would require slightly less than 1.5" width of the seat cushion as the passenger is oriented. It would be true of the window/center seats, though.

Delta has gone with a much bigger seat, one that will not be crunched on the 787, which is a real problem with Polaris for UA, given that nearly their entire set of ULR flights are on the 787.
There's only a finite amount of space in the cabin, and with a similar density, something has to give. My guess is the Delta footwells will be much deeper than United's, and the wall in front of the passenger (containing literature pocket, TV monitor) will be closer to the passenger than Polaris. There also will be a similar lack of storage space.

Delta's seat may indeed be more spacious than Polaris, but we aren't talking about the SQ Suites here. One thing I find is that United was attempting to strike a balance between a business class seat that resembles a private cocoon with a desire for a more open cabin concept. After market research, I don't think there was a clear winner of one over the over and enough passengers felt strongly enough about their respective preference that United felt it important to attempt to accommodate both.

After sampling the center and aisle seats, I found them as private as any business class product in full recline (around the head/shoulder area), but in a more upright position, you don't lose much of the openness of the cabin. I like that. The center seats will be pleasant for traveling as a couple, while at the same time preferable to the Solstys "honeymoon" seats in service with airlines like AB, AZ, EY, OZ etc., which cant slightly toward each other and do not have the same privacy divider as the UA Polaris spec. Finally, the window seats will be great for solo travelers, but I do not think the outboard armrest will be especially comfortable.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 11:01 am
  #1412  
 
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
Sort of, but since the aisle seats are angled, principles of geometry would dictate that achieving 1.5" of width reduction across the horizontal axis of the airplane would require slightly less than 1.5" width of the seat cushion as the passenger is oriented. It would be true of the window/center seats, though.
the 787 is 15" narrower than the 777, so Each "strip" of pairs of offset seats to use your term will need to be 3.75" narrower, that space can be taken in several ways by shifting it between the seats. For example, both footwells can be made narrower by 3.75" which in effect makes the seat shorter, but preserves the width at shoulder height. But if the footwell gets any more impacted (especially on the outboard seats where it appears to tapper) United is going to have the same problem they have on the 2 class 763s, where the seat is effectively only 5'11" to 6' long. That is a real problem, worst than narrow.

Regardless, United got in Polaris a slightly more dense design by angling one of the seat, but that used up some of the width, by in effect turning it into length. That works on the 777 which is wider, not so well on the narrower 787.

On another point, you indicated above that each Polaris set was 90" of pitch, but I don't see how that can be, it has to be shorter, or there is no advantage to the design over day the Vantage XL, which is 90" for a set. Curious if you measured, or where your figure came from?

Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
There's only a finite amount of space in the cabin, and with a similar density, something has to give. My guess is the Delta footwells will be much deeper than United's, and the wall in front of the passenger (containing literature pocket, TV monitor) will be closer to the passenger than Polaris. There also will be a similar lack of storage space.

Delta's seat may indeed be more spacious than Polaris, but we aren't talking about the SQ Suites here. One thing I find is that United was attempting to strike a balance between a business class seat that resembles a private cocoon with a desire for a more open cabin concept. After market research, I don't think there was a clear winner of one over the over and enough passengers felt strongly enough about their respective preference that United felt it important to attempt to accommodate both.

After sampling the center and aisle seats, I found them as private as any business class product in full recline (around the head/shoulder area), but in a more upright position, you don't lose much of the openness of the cabin. I like that. The center seats will be pleasant for traveling as a couple, while at the same time preferable to the Solstys "honeymoon" seats in service with airlines like AB, AZ, EY, OZ etc., which cant slightly toward each other and do not have the same privacy divider as the UA Polaris spec. Finally, the window seats will be great for solo travelers, but I do not think the outboard armrest will be especially comfortable.
I have never seen a complaint about the Vantage XL footwells, and since they are a box, under the square table, there is no reason why they would be narrow. I think that is a big difference, especially on the Polaris outside seats where the foootwell is a triangle.

The Vantage XL has a slorage slot, big enough for a laptop, etc. Not a backpack, but bigger than a seat pocket.

I appreciate your speculation about market research and United "striking a balance between privacy and a more open cabin" but I have seen no reports of such research, and if someone at UA claimed they did such research, I would assume they were lying. There have been multiple interviews with the Acumen people in the trade press, and they all say the same thing, UA went to other suppliers and said they wanted direct isle access with the same density of their existing sCO seat, everyone said its impossible, and Acuman came up with this design. The first, second, third, fourth, and it appears only priority was keeping the same density.

Whether this was a good decision, time will tell. From my personal vantage point, United is putting in a second tier product (tighter than existing leading direct isle access seats like DL has and AA is adding) which just got relegated by Delta adopting the Vantage XL to third tier status. I assume UA is very nervious right now. The comments I posted above are not what one wants to be hearing from top tier customers. And I might add, the articles I have seen also compare the new DL seat very favorably to the Polaris seat. as an e.g.:

"The principal home competition on the routes these aircraft serve is likely to be the United Polaris seat, a version of the Zodiac Aerospace SkyLounge product, and American Airlines’ two outward-facing herringbone seats: Zodiac Cirrus on the Boeing 777-300ER and B/E Aerospace Super Diamond on the latest refit 777-200ER aircraft. Delta would seem to have a firm advantage over United, but with the zero-sum issue there could well be a decent argument that American’s outward-facing herringbones offer a more consistent level of privacy and amenity throughout the cabin even without doors."

You don't want people to be saying this about your NEW hard product - before it has even been put into a single plane....

Last edited by spin88; Aug 22, 16 at 11:09 am Reason: fixing typos
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Old Aug 22, 16, 11:20 am
  #1413  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
On another point, you indicated above that each Polaris set was 90" of pitch, but I don't see how that can be, it has to be shorter, or there is no advantage to the design over day the Vantage XL, which is 90" for a set. Curious if you measured, or where your figure came from?
A-zone in the 777 has a max of about 360" longitudinally. United is arranging four seats linearly from about 1L/R to 2L/R. Overall, that's a product pitched at 90"... not 90" of bed length or legroom, but about 90" between the same points on seats in consecutive rows.

I have never seen a complaint about the Vantage XL footwells, and since they are a box, under the square table, there is no reason why they would be narrow. I think that is a big difference, especially on the Polaris outside seats where the foootwell is a triangle.
I'm not saying it will be narrow, but deeper (think about thigh-depth). That might be fine for some, and uncomfortable for others. Matter of preference.

The aisle footwells, though triangular, are much larger than any existing UA business class seats.

The Vantage XL has a slorage slot, big enough for a laptop, etc. Not a backpack, but bigger than a seat pocket.
It's a literature pocket by design. If you want to put a tablet or small laptop in there, that's probably acceptable (though not rated for such storage during takeoff and landing). Neither Polaris nor the D1 suite will be very heavy on storage space. It's a compromise.

I appreciate your speculation about market research and United "striking a balance between privacy and a more open cabin" but I have seen no reports of such research, and if someone at UA claimed they did such research, I would assume they were lying. There have been multiple interviews with the Acumen people in the trade press, and they all say the same thing, UA went to other suppliers and said they wanted direct isle access with the same density of their existing sCO seat, everyone said its impossible, and Acuman came up with this design. The first, second, third, fourth, and it appears only priority was keeping the same density.

Whether this was a good decision, till will tell. From my personal vantage point, United is putting in a second tier product (tighter than existing leading direct isle access seats like DL has and AA is adding) which just got relegated by Delta adopting the Vantage XL to third tier status. I assume UA is very nervious right now. The comments I posted above are not what one wants to be hearing from top tier customers.
The "speculation" is based on conversation with people at United at the Polaris event, and of course it would be you who is speculating that density was the solitary concern in the development of the seat.

The concept I discuss (perception of open space vs. complete privacy) is not directly correlated to density. It's more of a design sensibility, such as the arrangement of privacy panels, height of walls, dimensions of seat shells, etc. My point (again, from actually sitting in the seat and reclining to full flat) is that the seat was designed to provide a more private sleeping environment while retaining some sense of openness in the cabin that is often lost in current-generation products (see, the "coffin effect"). This is confirmed by UA and contract reps that attend the events, and I think those who participated in the market research sessions can attest to that fact.

Polaris has flaws, no doubt. I've cited them as someone who has a bit of experience with the actual seat, and am not relying on drawings, renderings or my own preconceived notions to reach those conclusions. I attempted to be as objective as possible with my reviews of the seat, and my takeaway was that the seat is the least impressive aspect of the experience as-advertised. It's not because the seat is necessarily poor; to the contrary, I think it is a solid, competitive offering. I just think certain other aspects of the experience, as compared to AA/DL, are more impressive.

Delta's D1 Suite might be an objectively better hard product, but the point that is often ignored is that it will appear on a small minority of Delta's existing or on order fleet, at best, and will be several years before it even maxes out the current projection of aircraft to receive it. United realistically could reach the same number of aircraft re/configured with Polaris by the end of 2017. I'm not sure the "firm advantage" holds true with respect to the existing seats that will be flying alongside Polaris seats for years to come.

As always, one needs to choose the carrier which best meets their needs. United improves its value proposition relative to its competitors with this product, and that's important. The Polaris lounges, soft product, large cabins and a relatively fast-paced rollout to in-service 767s and 777s may be a compelling factor for a customer who has an issue with Delta's shrinking Asia connectivity and long horizon with current J hard products across the Atlantic. Again, a matter of preference.

Last edited by EWR764; Aug 22, 16 at 11:40 am
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Old Aug 22, 16, 12:46 pm
  #1414  
 
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Originally Posted by cerealmarketer View Post
I remember that mandate when CO first rolled out lie flats, so that's your carryover, not an insistence on lower cost vs the current product.
THIS is what it is all about. I remember when Kellner was at CO when they bought out the first (cradle) Business First seats. Kellner's charge to the developers was 'not to lose any seats'.

Until UA gets over this concept, they will never have a really competitive product. If Oscar was smart, he would grab the bull by the horns and put a hold on the Polaris hard product until they get it right.
If there is one thing I have learned from my 17 years on Flyertalk, it is that we see things correctly early. The rest of the flying population eventually gets to our view.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 22, 16 at 1:02 pm Reason: please attribute quotes
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Old Aug 22, 16, 1:18 pm
  #1415  
 
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IF UA really is 'nervous' as some here have indicated, it is probably that they are hearing from their HVFs that going from the GF seat they are used to sitting in, to the new Polaris seat just is not acceptable and that they will look elsewhere. If 20% of them do it, UA is in big trouble.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 1:57 pm
  #1416  
 
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Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
THIS is what it is all about. I remember when Kellner was at CO when they bought out the first (cradle) Business First seats. Kellner's charge to the developers was 'not to lose any seats'.

Until UA gets over this concept, they will never have a really competitive product. If Oscar was smart, he would grab the bull by the horns and put a hold on the Polaris hard product until they get it right.
If there is one thing I have learned from my 17 years on Flyertalk, it is that we see things correctly early. The rest of the flying population eventually gets to our view.
There are different facets of competition. If you want the "best" product, you could give up some seats and take less density. Then, you'd have to "pay" for the product by eliminating upgrades.

United has chosen to be competitive by offering a product that is of equivalent (or comparable) density to its US peers. United has also chosen to be competitive by installing significantly more seats than its US peers and maintaining, at least for the time being, access to Polaris via upgrades.

While the details of business class seat are important, it comes down to a simple math equation for airlines: how productive is the limited square footage in the aircraft. Every airline knows the return and cost per square foot and remaining competitive here is critical to staying in business.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 3:21 pm
  #1417  
 
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Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
IF UA really is 'nervous' as some here have indicated, it is probably that they are hearing from their HVFs that going from the GF seat they are used to sitting in, to the new Polaris seat just is not acceptable and that they will look elsewhere. If 20% of them do it, UA is in big trouble.
Perhaps true. The flip side is having a C product that people actually buy, instead of upgrade into.

The relevant question becomes, how much more special does a GS need to feel than others? If you raise the level of service for the C passenger but drop it for the GS, that becomes a very real issue. What, exactly, is the GS paying for? Is this the reason UA is looking at other GS enhancements, in the terminal? Driving out to the plane, walking passengers to the GS lounge, that sort of thing? This is not about a GS with a who-do-you-think-I-am issue. Simply differentiating service levels enough to justify the spending level from the passenger's point of view.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 3:46 pm
  #1418  
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Those carriers deploying a PE product (AA and DL) can target their J project at the revenue market and have PE for upgrades. With no PE product at UA, their J product is their upgrade product, so they need a big dense cabin if they want to market upgrades.

Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
I am sorry, but the UA seat is subpar in every way. Both are 6'6" but - if what others are saying is true - the DL seat will be wider, and it looks like the Vantage XL foot box is not tapered, while that of the Polaris clearly is. So the effective lenght will be shorter for tall people with large feet.'
If the Vantage XL foot box isn't tapered, it must be narrow from the start, since the side table it's under isn't that wide.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 4:04 pm
  #1419  
 
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Those carriers deploying a PE product (AA and DL) can target their J project at the revenue market and have PE for upgrades. With no PE product at UA, their J product is their upgrade product, so they need a big dense cabin if they want to market upgrades.
I was going to make this same point in response to Fly's comment, you beat me to it. Delta putting in a yet better J product (taking up real estate) is directly related to putting in PE. Expect some scheme at some point where Y upgrades to PE, and PE to J on both AA and DL.

United meanwhile will try to fill the seats with discount J and corporate tickets, and if upgrades continue to be an issue (as they are now on UA) then buying PE on DL or AA - to me at least - is a better deal.

As others (AA DL Foreign carriers) continue to roll out better product,I think this will cost United many of the top $$$ non-discounted J/F sales and will also cost it the top value Y seats, who given PE on AA/DL, etc will take that over paying the same for Y on UA and playing the upgrade game.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
If the Vantage XL foot box isn't tapered, it must be narrow from the start, since the side table it's under isn't that wide.
It ends in a square, it is wider at its start. As EWR764 notes, it appears that the Polaris seat will have less of your legs in the "tube" than the Vintage XL as the screen is further from your face. However, size wise, the Polaris seat is clearly very narrow and slanted at the end on the outboard seats, and perhaps on the inboard seats.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 5:36 pm
  #1420  
 
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The bottom line is that we know UA is introducing a highly competitive, very good product when you have to split hairs to find weaknesses to the very best (an inch or two of width here, table space there), and has advantages that few or none have (fleet-wide commonality, dedicated lounges, high J count, good seats for all types of passengers, etc.).

You can tell the UA started from scratch and took years of research to pull it off. I'd trust that more than airlines whose future plans are all over the place (AA), or another that buys off-the-shelf products that lack basic amenities like a comfortable seat cushion (DL).
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Old Aug 22, 16, 6:30 pm
  #1421  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
I was going to make this same point in response to Fly's comment, you beat me to it. Delta putting in a yet better J product (taking up real estate) is directly related to putting in PE. Expect some scheme at some point where Y upgrades to PE, and PE to J on both AA and DL.

United meanwhile will try to fill the seats with discount J and corporate tickets, and if upgrades continue to be an issue (as they are now on UA) then buying PE on DL or AA - to me at least - is a better deal.

As others (AA DL Foreign carriers) continue to roll out better product,I think this will cost United many of the top $$$ non-discounted J/F sales and will also cost it the top value Y seats, who given PE on AA/DL, etc will take that over paying the same for Y on UA and playing the upgrade game.
Does Delta's product really take up that much more real estate? Haven't we seen data that shows the same number of seats fit in the A zone on a 777? But yes, a PY product does support the economics of an improved J cabin by eliminating Y>J upgrades. GS (or others) who expect a mediocre F product at a J price will loose and I think that United is well aware of how many people this is.

The VantageXL clearly appeals to some and I admit the side table is a nice feature. The trade off is clear.

Originally Posted by spin88
It ends in a square, it is wider at its start. As EWR764 notes, it appears that the Polaris seat will have less of your legs in the "tube" than the Vintage XL as the screen is further from your face. However, size wise, the Polaris seat is clearly very narrow and slanted at the end on the outboard seats, and perhaps on the inboard seats.
I think simple geometry has been adequately reinforced. The problem is the opening of the space for your legs on the Vantage seats starts with dimensions that are smaller than the seat. Although the orientation is linear, each seating space tapers towards the feet.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 22, 16 at 8:19 pm Reason: discuss the issues, not the posters.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 7:41 pm
  #1422  
 
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
Does Delta's product really take up that much more real estate? Haven't we seen data that shows the same number of seats fit in the A zone on a 777?
I don't know the answer, and I guess no one will until we see a 777 seat map with the Vantage XL+ and the Polaris. I looked and the Vantage XL+ has not been installed on any 777 or 350 yet, only the 330. But looking at them I can't see how the space can be comparable, the Vantage XL+ clearly provides more space, and everyone has been quoted saying United went with the Acuman design because other seat MFGs says they could not keep the foot print the same with direct isle access, so I seriously doubt the Vantage XL+ did...

We know the size of the Vantage XL (90" for two), and I think that the Polaris must be smaller, allowing in extra seats in certain spaces on the 777.


Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
But yes, a PY product does support the economics of an improved J cabin by eliminating Y>J upgrades. GS (or others) who expect a mediocre F product at a J price will loose and I think that United is well aware of how many people this is.

The VantageXL clearly appeals to some and I admit the side table is a nice feature. The trade off is clear.
[It has been said] since 2011 that the management team had the data, knew what is was doing, analytics back it up. Well the last 5 years have proved that they were actually rank incompetents, who did very very major damage to the airlines revenue performance, and were incapable of anything beyond a simply spread sheet calculation of how much they had "saved". I have no doubt that they did none of the appropriate research, this was a "give us direct isle in the same foot print" decision, with no thought to its impact on the competitive position short or long term.

The contrast with what say CX did (focus groups, presenting various designs) is telling. The first anyone saw of this was the rolled out final product.

I have been very clear in saying that Polaris is clearly an improvement over the sCO and sUA seats, but also noted that it was not as of yet - tragically - aimed at fixing the horrible seats they put into the 2-class 763 and the last gen seats in the 787s. I also said that it was not enough to keep United from losing more high value traffic as time moves on, and predicted that United would soon be vaulted by competitors. The only thing wrong in my prediction was that I did not foresee Delta would do it before Polaris showed up on a single plane.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 22, 16 at 8:18 pm Reason: discuss the issues, not the posters
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Old Aug 22, 16, 8:09 pm
  #1423  
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
Perhaps true. The flip side is having a C product that people actually buy, instead of upgrade into.

The relevant question becomes, how much more special does a GS need to feel than others? If you raise the level of service for the C passenger but drop it for the GS, that becomes a very real issue. What, exactly, is the GS paying for? Is this the reason UA is looking at other GS enhancements, in the terminal? Driving out to the plane, walking passengers to the GS lounge, that sort of thing? This is not about a GS with a who-do-you-think-I-am issue. Simply differentiating service levels enough to justify the spending level from the passenger's point of view.
I think it really depends on the GS - as that group can by sliced up by rank itself. A self-made person spending tens of thousands of their own money on air travel will have a far more demanding expectation on seat and service - but in my professional experience, most folks in this caliber are not exclusively loyal to UA unless there is a reason for them to be - ie, where they live, their usual routes, etc.

Many GS are just influencers who were given their status and really have no right to be complaining about anything, and many more are just rank and file corporate slaves who are on the road constantly and earn GS using employer money.

So when you drill down on the expectations of most customers, I think UA struck a good balance between offering a significantly upgraded and modern product, while keeping the seat volume needed to support upgrade, redemptions and buyups, understanding that you can't please everyone and hit every detail.

Remember, we're talking about a US airline - this isn't Singapore, Etihad, Qantas or Emirates. We should probably wait until a decent cross-section of customers have tried out the new seat on a real flight until deciding if it's a real dud, second fiddle to Delta's new product, or perhaps something pretty good.
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Old Aug 22, 16, 8:35 pm
  #1424  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
... We should probably wait until a decent cross-section of customers have tried out the new seat on a real flight until deciding if it's a real dud, second fiddle to Delta's new product, or perhaps something pretty good.
Therein lies the problem. IF it is a dud, UA is stuck with it and the image of it, for what, at least 2 years until they can fix it? At that point they will be more than a seat generation behind.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 22, 16 at 9:21 pm Reason: please attribute quotes
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Old Aug 22, 16, 8:48 pm
  #1425  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
The contrast with what say CX did (focus groups, presenting various designs) is telling. The first anyone saw of this was the rolled out final product.
To be fair, that's wildly inaccurate. I have a friend who was on the 767 charter from Chicago to Honolulu and they also did ground simulations out of Newark, if I remember correctly.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...ess-class.html

There were countless focus groups and has been mentioned many times in this thread, this is what won. Where the bar was set is anybody's guess, but I think it's got great potential. The Delta announcement definitely sucked some wind out of Polaris' sails, tho.
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