New United Polaris Lounge Opens at San Francisco International Airport

United Polaris chairs at SFO
United Polaris chairs at SFO

The two-level lounge is a step-up in airport lounge luxury, offering five private daybeds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and personal valet services

United Airlines has unveiled its new United Polaris Lounge at San Francisco International Airport, the first of four Polaris lounges set to open this year. Passengers travelling in the airline’s international premium cabin are now able to relax and dine prior to their flight or refresh upon arrival in the lounge, located near Gate G92 in the International Terminal. Set on two levels with 440 seats, the chic lounge offers five private daybeds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, eight shower suites featuring Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products, personal valet services including pressing and steaming, a private restaurant-style dining area, a bistro-style buffet and cocktails inspired by the Bay Area.

The United Polaris lounge at Newark Liberty International Airport is expected to open by early June, followed by the lounge at George Bush Intercontinental in Houston this summer and the lounge at Los Angeles International Airport this autumn. The focus behind the United Polaris experience is to provide long-haul travellers with better sleep in the sky. On average, United plans to add one aircraft with the new United Polaris business class seats every 10 days from now through to 2020.

High Flyer: United Airlines Polaris Business Class on UA840

The cabin

The cabin is set up in a 2-2-2 layout. If you like the window seat, you’ll be stepping over your seatmate to get there. While this wasn’t an issue for me it may not suit someone who likes to stretch their legs frequently. The lighting controls are perfect on the Dreamliner – dimmed lights for relaxing and brighter for meals. The temperature always seemed to be ideal as well. 

The Seat

The leather-trimmed seats were large and more comfortable than most business class seats I’ve been in recently. And they weren’t even the new Polaris seats – these are being rolled out in stages throughout 2017, so you might be lucky on your next flight. The chargers for personal devices are out in the open and convenient to use. A large common space for drinks is set between seats and there was plenty of storage space. 

The Service

Outstanding – the crew manager came out and introduced himself to every passenger and the friendly staff were more than happy to stop for a chat. I even enjoyed the amusing pre-flight video. 

The food

United Polaris has really made an effort to create exceptional food. A Bloody Mary trolley was wheeled down the aisle first, followed by a seared tuna, kale and quinoa salad for the starter. The short-rib with barbecue sauce that followed was a standout and the sugarsnap peas were crisp and fresh. The signature sundae to end it all was an absolute must. There was definitely no shortage of food on this flight. The dinner was followed by digestifs and a cheese platter, and mid-flight snacks included a choice between fish and chips, tomato soup or a grilled cheese sandwich. Drinks were just as free flowing. The wine list has been curated by sommelier Doug Frost and the staff were so attentive when it came to top-ups of my Chateau Ste Michelle 2013 Indian Wells Merlot that I had to put my hand over the glass. 

The entertainment

It was a typical business class entertainment set-up with a large screen, handset and a wide selection of movies and TV shows. 

The highs

The United Polaris Business Class is an experience, and in my opinion one of the best new products in the market. The bedding is provided by Saks Fifth Avenue and is neatly folded and tied up with ribbons on your seat when you arrive. Be sure to ask for the cotton pyjamas, slippers and the Saks mattress cushion or gel memory foam pillow. It all adds up to a super-comfortable sleeping experience. 



Loyalty program



One hour: US$1-US$12.50/A$1-A$16, full flight: US$3.99-US$29.95/A$5-A$38. Prices vary dependent on flight. You can also use mileage to pay.


On request

Amenities kit

Skincare products from Soho House’s Cowshed Spa range, which include a lavender pillow mist.

United Airlines upgrades its Business Class

United Airlines will be launching its upgraded business class, United Polaris, on 1 December on international flights. The new class includes sleep-enhancing amenities, improved dining options and United Polaris lounges around the world.

Each seat is custom-designed, includes a 180-degree flat-bed recline feature and “do not disturb” sign for those trying to maximise shut-eye. Each seat will have six-foot-six inches of bed space. There will be a 16-inch HD entertainment screen for each customer. Other conveniences will include lavender pillow mist, slippers, eyeshades and a gel-cooled pillow upon request.

United Polaris will update in-flight menus seasonally and partner with chefs from The Trotter Project. Other dining options include an extensive wine list curated by the airline’s master sommelier, made-to-order ice cream sundaes and a dessert cart. Flights over 12 hours will include hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese.

United Polaris lounges will open in nine locations, the first in the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Lounges will include daybeds, showers, and a restaurant serving hot meals, wines and spirits. Other lounges will open in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York, Washington, Tokyo, Hong Kong and London.