The Complete Guide to United Polaris

United Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world, ranked third in terms of number of destinations and routes flown.

Historically, United’s business class offering hadn’t been something to write home about. However, that changed in 2016 when the carrier introduced its flagship United Polaris business class product.

In this guide, we’ll explore the United Polaris business class experience, and what you can expect before and during your flight.

We’ll also look at the different cabin configurations, and of course, the best ways to book United Polaris flights with points.

The United Polaris Experience

United Polaris offers everything you’d want from a business class product. In the air, Polaris has lie-flat seats, luxury bedding, and an elevated dining experience.

On the ground before you board, you’ll have access to faster check-in and security screening. United Polaris passengers are also granted entry to arguably some of the best airport lounges in North America.

Ground Experience

United operates out of most US airports, where Polaris passengers will be treated to dedicated check-in lanes and may have access to quicker security lines.

United Polaris Lounge Chicago – Entrance sign
United Polaris lounge entry

However, you’ll only be able to enjoy the absolute best ground experience if you’re flying out of airports that have a Polaris lounge. These lounges can be found in the following airports:

Polaris lounges can be accessed by United Polaris international business class passengers and long-haul international Star Alliance passengers flying either First Class or business class.

United Polaris Lounge Newark – Main seating area
United Polaris Lounge Newark – Main seating area

Polaris lounges offer an elevated experience and include relaxation areas, spa-like showers, daybeds, and business centres to cater to every type of traveller.

These lounges also usually offer both buffet and à-la-carte dining.

The à-la-carte dining is especially worth making time for as you’ll be able to order off a full menu in a well-designed dining room.

United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles – Dining room seating

In fact, the dining rooms in Polaris lounges tend to be fairly impressive and conjure feelings of being at a fancy restaurant, making you forget that you’re in a lounge at all.

United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles – Pacific rock cod

Now, although the lounges are excellent, if you’re flying United Polaris out of an airport that doesn’t have a Polaris lounge, you’re not completely out of luck.

Though you won’t be able to experience United’s best lounges, the airline does have United Club lounges in almost every major US airport, and the full list of available lounges can be found on their website.

United Club lounges can be a bit hit or miss, especially since they are more generous in terms of which passengers have access. Depending on the timing of your visit to the lounge, you may find it to be fairly busy.

United Club Newark (Terminal C) – Bar

That being said, you’ll still be able to enjoy complimentary food, and more than likely, a relatively quiet place to pass the time while waiting for your flight.


United’s Polaris layout differs slightly depending on which aircraft you’re flying in; however, the Polaris seats themselves are pretty much the same across all aircraft.

United Polaris 767 business class seat

Each seat has direct aisle access and is set in a forward-facing and staggered configuration.

United Polaris 767 business class – Cabin

Also, even though there’s no sliding door, each seat has a decent amount of privacy with partitions between the seats and the aisles.

Each seat has a 16” touchscreen entertainment monitor equipped with a selection of new releases, blockbusters, classic movies, and more.

United Polaris 767 business class – Entertainment screen & storage space

Once you’re onboard, you’ll receive an amenity kit, which contains eye serum, facial spray, hand cream, socks, ear plugs, and an eye mask.

You’ll also receive cozy slippers, noise-reducing headphones, and if your flight is longer than 14 hours, you can request pyjamas.

United Polaris 767 business class – Amenity kit

United’s Polaris seats are able to be converted into a fully lie-flat bed measuring up to 6 feet and 6 inches in length.

To help you sleep, each Polaris passenger is provided with luxury bedding by Saks Fifth Avenue and is able to request an add-on mattress cushion for extra comfort.

United Polaris 767 business class – Bed

The Polaris seat also provides decent storage space for personal belongings.

There is a large storage compartment to the side, a dedicated space for shoes, and additional storage for laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices.

Food & Drink

As soon as you take your seat in the Polaris cabin, you’ll be offered a pre-departure welcome drink. You’ll have a choice of water or a mimosa for morning flights, and sparkling wine or water for evening flights.

United Polaris 767 business class – Welcome drink

Similar to the pre-departure drink options, the United Polaris meal service will differ depending on what time of the day you’re flying and the duration of your flight.

Once in the air, all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary, and you’ll also have a choice of snacks any time throughout the flight.

To help you prepare pre-flight, you can view United’s snacks and drinks menu before your departure through the website or app.

For the main meal during your flight, you’ll be able to choose from a rotating selection of entrees, salads, breads, and desserts.

United Polaris 767 business class – Breakfast spread

Lastly, for longer flights, you’ll also receive a second hot meal before you land.

United Polaris Cabins

United’s Polaris cabin can be found on seven different types of aircraft, listed below:

  • Boeing 767-300ER
  • Boeing 767-400ER
  • Boeing 777-200
  • Boeing 777-300ER
  • Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
  • Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner

United’s Polaris cabins are fairly similar across all seven of these aircraft, with differences mainly in the configuration and the number of Polaris seats.

That being said, Polaris seats on the Boeing 777s are slightly larger, with a seat width of 22”, compared to a seat width of 20.5” on all Boeing 787s, 20.6” on the Boeing 767-300ER, and between 20.36” and 22.18” on the Boeing 767-400ER.

Boeing 767-300ER

United has two different versions of the airline’s Polaris cabin on the Boeing 767-300ER; however, the only actual difference is that one version has 30 Polaris seats across ten rows, and the other version has 46 seats across 18 rows.

The Polaris 1-1-1 configuration is the same for both versions, and the seats are staggered, alternating forward-facing seats and seats angled slightly towards the aisles.

If you’re flying solo, any of the window seats in odd-numbered rows will provide the most amount of privacy. This is because odd-numbered window seats are situated right against the window, with more space between you and the aisle.

On the Boeing 767-300ER version with 46 Polaris seats, rows 17 and 18 are located right next to the toilet and are likely to have more aisle traffic than other window seats.

If you’re travelling with a companion, there aren’t really any two seats that will allow you to experience the flight together due to the 1-1-1 layout.

That being said, the seats in the middle row only have access to one aisle, and alternate between left and right aisle access as you go up the rows.

With that in mind, if you’re hoping to enjoy the flight with your travel compaion, you can either select window seats one behind the other or a middle seat and a window seat where the aisle is shared.

Boeing 767-400ER

The United Polaris cabin on the airline’s Boeing 767-400ER has 34 Polaris seats in a 1-1-1 configuration spread across 12 rows.

The best seats to choose are the same as with the Boeing 767-300ER.

One difference, however, is that the middle seat in row 12 is a standalone seat in that row and doesn’t share the aisle with any window seats. It’s also the closest seat to the toilets and will likely have the most aisle traffic, with people waiting for the toilet right beside you.

Boeing 777-200

United’s Polaris cabin on the Boeing 777-200 has 50 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration across 15 rows.

Furthermore, the 50 Polaris seats are divided into two separate sections. Rows 1–8 and 9–15 are separated by the galley and toilets.

This means that seats in rows 8 and 9 will likely have the most amount of aisle traffic.

Solo travellers who want the most amount of privacy can choose any window seat in odd-numbered rows as these rows are right up against the windows and further from the aisles.

If you’re travelling with a companion, you’ll be able to enjoy the trip together by selecting any two middle seats in the same row, as these seats have a partition which can be lowered.

Middle seats in odd-numbered rows are closer together and further from their respective aisles.

Middle seats in even-numbered rows are closer to the aisles and slightly further from each other, with a side table separating the seats.

Boeing 777-300ER

United’s Boeing 777-300ER has 60 Polaris seats across 18 rows. This is the most Polaris seats across all of United’s aircraft.

Similar to the Boeing 777-200, the 777-300ER has a 1-2-1 configuration, with the toilets and galley between rows 8 and 9.

The best seat selections are the same as the Boeing 777-200, with a slight difference.

On the Boeing 777-300ER, rows 7 and 8 don’t have middle seats, allowing for some extra privacy.

Row 8 is closest to the toilets, but the window seats in row 7 are one row removed from the galley and toilet area and don’t have any seats directly across from them.

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787-8 aircraft has the fewest number of Polaris seats, with 28 seats across seven rows.

The 28 seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration, with rows 1–5 separated from rows 6 and 7 by a galley.

The best seat selections for this configuration will be the same as the Boeing 777s; however, row 7 has arguably the best seats for privacy, as they are furthest back in the cabin and aren’t next to toilets.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

United’s Boeing 787-9 has 48 Polaris seats across 12 rows. This aircraft also has a 1-2-1 configuration, with a galley and toilet between rows 8 and 9.

The best seat selections will be identical to those in the Boeing 777-200.

Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner

Lastly, The Boeing 787-10 has 44 Polaris seats in a 1-2-1 configuration across 11 rows. There are no galleys or toilets separating Polaris rows on the Boeing 787-10.

The best seats to choose in this configuration will also be the same as on the Boeing 777s.

United Polaris Routes

United operates a number of routes from most major US cities to destinations all over the world. In fact, United flies the third largest number of routes in the world, with only Ryanair and American Airlines offering more.

United Polaris is offered on most international long-haul routes, plus a number of premium transcontinental routes, such as San Francisco to Newark.

For international flights, United Polaris is listed as “United Polaris business”.

For domestic US flights, including flights to Hawaii, United Polaris may be listed as “United First” or “United business”. To fully ascertain if your flight will be operated with a United Polaris cabin, make a test booking and proceed to seat selection, where you’ll find the aircraft’s seat type and seat map.

How to Redeem Points for United Polaris

There are quite a few options for redeeming points to book United Polaris, with one option being United’s own MileagePlus miles.

Additionally, United is a member of Star Alliance, which means you can also use points from other Star Alliance loyalty programs to book United Polaris seats.

For example, you could use Air Canada’s Aeroplan or Avianca’s LifeMiles program to book a seat in a Polaris cabin.

United MileagePlus

The United MileagePlus program lets you redeem miles for Polaris seats; however, the program runs on a dynamic model, which means that the number of miles required to book a ticket will fluctuate based on demand.

With this redemption structure, it’s relatively easy to find award availability, but some of the prices can be quite unreasonable.

That said, if you’re able to find reasonably priced award space, the taxes and fees tend to be fairly low, since the fuel surcharges are already baked into the number of miles required for the redemption.


Aeroplan points are fairly easy to earn and can be acquired with co-branded credit cards in both Canada and the US, as well as through quite a few transfer partners.

What’s more, Aeroplan has a fixed-rate redemption chart for redeeming points with partner airlines.

To give you an idea of the fixed-rate cost of a redemption using Aeroplan points, a one-way Polaris flight will cost you 60,000 points from the eastern US to Western Europe (up to 4,000 miles), or 70,000 points from other US cities to Europe (up to 6,000 miles).

For a one-way Polaris flight from the western US to Australia, you’ll need to redeem 75,000 Aeroplan points.

Avianca LifeMiles

Avianca LifeMiles is similar to Aeroplan in that it uses a zone-based award chart for partner flights.

You can find a one-way Polaris flight for 75,000 LifeMiles from the US to North Asia, or a one-way Polaris flight from the US to Australia or New Zealand for 80,000 LifeMiles.

United Polaris Award Availability

Polaris award flights will be easiest to find when using United MileagePlus miles; however, most award flights will be more expensive through this avenue.

If you’re looking for reasonably priced award space, or you’re looking to use other Star Alliance programs to book United Polaris, it’ll likely take a bit more time and effort.

United tends to release award seats 337 days before the departure date. Knowing this, the best way to find Polaris award space is to have a flexible schedule and to book as far in advance as possible.

That being said, United will also sporadically release award availability throughout the year leading up to the flight.

United may also release award space much closer to the departure date if there are still seats available.


United Polaris is an excellent business class product and certainly a great way to travel longer distances.

Even before boarding, you’ll have a great ground experience, with access to some of the best lounges in North America at select airports.

Indeed, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible at the airports with Polaris lounges.

Once on board, you’ll enjoy fully lie-flat beds, luxury bedding, extra storage space, and an elevated dining experience.

United Polaris can be booked with United MileagePlus miles, Air Canada Aeroplan points, Avianca LifeMiles, as well as other Star Alliance programs.

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