I’m a nervous flyer. But I was blessed, or cursed, with an intense love for traveling.
And so I was never going to turn down the chance to try out United’s ‘Polaris’ business-class cabin on its new route from Newark Airport in New Jersey to Palma de Mallorca, Spain. But I needed to numb my anxiety beforehand with a few drinks in the impressive United Polaris Lounge.
It’s one of six that Chicago-headquartered United operates in the U.S and is available to passengers before take-off and after landing.
The Polaris cabin – named after the North Star – has seats designed by United in partnership with London-based Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode, and manufactured by Zodiac Seats UK
A stack of goodies to make the journey more comfortable awaited Andrea, who admits to being a nervous flyer
Andrea settles into her seat with a glass of Champagne, an eight-hour flight to Palma ahead of her (left). All the seats in the Polaris cabin have aisle access (right)
There’s an a la carte menu and buffet to indulge in and, as I discovered, margaritas.
I sipped my way through a trio of them while enjoying a stunning view of planes taking off and disappearing into the multi-colored New Jersey sunset.
The beverages worked their magic and I was in a much more relaxed mood as I was warmly welcomed on board a Boeing 767-300 that would take just eight hours to reach Mallorca, as opposed to the average of 15 with layovers.
The Polaris suite is, according to United, the result of 12,000 hours of research
The Polaris seats are ‘nested’, cleverly angled into each other
The turn-left Polaris cabin – named after the North Star – has seats designed by United in partnership with London-based Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode, and manufactured by Zodiac Seats UK.
The seats are ‘nested’, cleverly angled into each other, and give everyone aisle access, which Acumen CEO Ian Dryburgh told MailOnline Travel was the ‘Holy Grail’ of any business-class cabin design.
The Polaris suite is, according to United, the result of 12,000 hours of research.
Was it time well-spent? Definitely.
I’m 5ft 11in and had plenty of leg-room, with the seat reclining all the way down to a 6ft 6in bed.
I excitedly removed my sneakers, put on the complimentary slippers and elevated my feet on the padded footrest.
We took off and New Jersey was replaced by blue and lilac cotton-candy clouds as I sipped Champagne.
Then it was time to investigate my United amenity kit, which is well-considered for lengthy flights.
In my travel-size kit, I found lip balm, earplugs, a sleep mask, face and hand cream, a toothbrush, and a very cute presentation of mini Colgate, face cloths and tissues.
While watching Uncharted on the 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen (left) Andrea tucked into an evening meal of ras el hanout-drizzled fennel flan croquettes with creamy basil herb sauce, forest mushrooms and garlic roasted tomatoes
And for breakfast in the sky? Gruyere-cocotte egg; smoked turkey bacon and tomato hollandaise sauce with butter; yogurt with turmeric granola and blueberries, and a croissant
While watching Uncharted on the 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen I tucked into an evening meal of ras el hanout-drizzled fennel flan croquettes with creamy basil herb sauce, forest mushrooms and garlic roasted tomatoes, followed by vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and brownie pieces.
Post-dinner I wrapped myself in the Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and fell asleep, vaguely registering one of the pilots issuing a warning that turbulence lay ahead.
I was too snug to care.
Andrea describes the United amenity kit (left) as well-considered for lengthy flights. It contains lip balm, earplugs, a sleep mask, face and hand cream, a toothbrush, a ‘cute’ mini Colgate, face cloths and tissues (right)
Left is Andrea’s dessert on the flight to Palma – vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and brownie pieces. Pictured right is her dinner on the return flight – herb-infused chicken, feta cheese, edamame and raisins salad with grilled cucumbers and macaroni and cheese, and a salad of fresh cauliflower, grapes, peach and sliced almonds
Andrea writes: ‘I’m 5ft 11in and had plenty of leg-room, with the seat reclining all the way down to a 6ft 6in bed’
The Polaris suites feature ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs, mood lighting and one-touch lumbar support
The ‘impressive’ United Polaris Lounge at Newark Airport. While there, Andrea enjoyed a trio of margaritas to sooth her nerves
The breathtaking view of Mallorca’s scenery from the airplane window (left) and a United 767-300 at Palma Airport (right)
For breakfast, I enjoyed a fine-dining-worthy gruyere-cocotte egg; smoked turkey bacon and tomato hollandaise sauce with butter; yogurt with turmeric granola and blueberries, and a croissant.
And before touching down I welcomed a warm and strong black coffee, served in a mug (just the way, as a Colombian, I like it).
I emerged into the Mallorcan sunshine feeling well-rested and reflected on what my eight hours’ worth of research on Polaris told me – that it’s about as comfortable as it’s possible to get at 38,000ft.
And with attentive staff, delicious meals and thoughtful amenities, United’s Polaris cabin really is a stellar offering.
Return fares from New York/Newark to Palma de Mallorca with United Airlines start at $630 (£520) for economy class (inclusive taxes) and $5,579 (£4,635) Polaris business (inclusive taxes).
United’s direct flights to Palma will be operating until September 22, 2022.
United customers in the U.S. can book flights by visiting united.com or contacting United Reservations on 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) or their travel agent.
Polaris seating is available on United services between London Heathrow and New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, Houston, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Polaris suite features:
- Forward-facing, all-aisle-access
- 180-degree lie flat seats with up to 6ft 6in of bed space
- ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs
- Mood lighting
- One-touch lumbar support
- Multiple storage areas, including under-ottoman storage available during taxi, take-off and landing
- Multiple surfaces for working and dining
- 16-inch high-definition entertainment screens with gate-to-gate entertainment
- Universal AC power and USB outlets
- Electronic privacy dividers between seats in the centre of the cabin
While in Mallorca, Andrea stayed at the Castell Son Claret hotel. Click here for the full review.