I was traveling to Tokyo Narita with ANA in First Class which provided access to the Polaris Lounge. This lounge is considerably smaller than SFO but still had all the Polaris Lounge staples.
I left the near by AMEX Centurion lounge to check out the United Club. I’ve been here before and thought it was one of the better United Club locations. While it may not be up to international airline standards, it is one of the better Star Alliance options in HKG from what I’ve seen.
I arrived at the San Diego airport pretty early and headed to the United Club. This club is also right next to the Delta Sky Club. This United Club has the new remodeled look and is pretty nice for an out station. The check in area was actually right outside the entrance. I scanned my boarding pass and was quickly admitted.
United opened their first Polaris lounge in December of 2016. However, they failed to open any in 2017. Additionally, the roll out of the new Polaris seats have been slow as well. In the time it took United to open two Polaris lounges, American opened several Flagship lounges. In terms of business class lounges the Polaris lounge is a step above Americans Flagship lounge as it offers sit down meal service (Americans Flagship Dining isn’t open to business class customers). Both American and United business class lounge offerings are above Delta which doesn’t have a dedicated business class lounge (though Skyclubs are generally better than standard Admirals and United Club offerings). Anyway, the time has finally come! United will be officially opening their second Polaris lounge on Monday April 30th. United hosted a media event on Wednesday April 25, and auctioned off tickets to attend a pre-opening event on Friday April 27. For 2,500 miles, it seemed like a good offer!
Date: Tuesday January 9
Seat: 5L Polaris Business
Scheduled Push Back: 10:55 AM
Actual Push Back: 11:14 AM
I boarded through door 1L, walked across the plane, and turned right. I was in seat 5L which is a window seat. Resting on the seat was the Polaris Saks Fifth Avenue bedding. I was immediately confronted with a problem.. Where do I put all this stuff?! Since you are allegedly not allowed to stow anything near your seat for taxi, takeoff, and landing I ended up stashing it in the overhead compartment for the time being. My first impression of the seat was that it was quite comfortable. By default the seat is reclined a considerable amount which makes it feel very relaxing.
Date: Tuesday October 24
Seat: 1K Polaris First
Scheduled Push Back: 12:15 PM
Actual Push Back: 12:10 PM
Originally, I was scheduled to fly Turkish Airlines from Manchester to San Francisco via an overnight in Istanbul. I had my Turkish Visa before Turkey stopped issuing tourist visas for US citizens and was all set. However, due to some last minute plans, I needed to be home on Tuesday rather than Wednesday afternoon. There were no options out of Manchester so I looked at options from London. United had saver space in business and first on their non-stop flights. Saver space between the US and Europe is always challenging to find. Finding space between the US west coast and Europe is almost non-existent. United charges 57.5K one way between Europe and the US in business and 80K in first. Unfortunately, this aircraft had the dreaded 2-4-2 business class configuration and only middle seats were available. I already paid 70K for the original Turkish flights and decided to spring the extra 10K for first. The first class seat provided more space, direct aisle access, and access to the United Global First lounge in London.
Wow. Just wow. This is one of the most visually stunning lounges I’ve been too. I can’t believe United even has a product like this. I read reviews that this lounge is the best Star Alliance option in Heathrow and that’s saying a lot since other contenders are Lufthansa, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines.
This was a lounge I wanted to visit for some time. The access requirements are that you must be coming off a long haul international flight in business or first and land between 6 AM and 12:30 PM. Essentially this is catered to mostly United flights as partner flights get in later than 12:30 PM (at least Asian flights).
Date: Sunday October 15
Seat: 1D Polaris Business
Scheduled Push Back: 9:50 AM
Actual Push Back: 9:46 AM
This flight was originally serviced by a 747-400 and I had seats on the upper deck. I then noticed the aircraft was swapped to the new 77W a few weeks later. While I was sad I wouldn’t fly the upper deck of the 747 one more time, I was excited to fly the new Polaris hard product.
Date: Wednesday October 4
Seat: 1D Polaris Business
Scheduled Push Back: 11:30 AM
Actual Push Back: 11:43 AM
I boarded through door 1L and turned right. I was in seat 1D which is a bulkhead. If traveling with someone you want to secure two seats together on odd numbered rows as the even numbered rows are staggered away from each other. If traveling alone you’d want to also get an odd numbered window seat as they are closer to the window. The bulkhead seats have the largest foot wells which provide ample space. The bulkheads are row 1 and 9.