United Airlines is fighting back against competition with a stunning new service

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United Airlines

United Airlines said on Thursday that it will undergo a major overhaul of its international-business and first-class offerings. At the heart of this undertaking is the airline’s new Polaris Business Class. According to the airline, Polaris signals a fundamental shift and rebranding of the airline’s international premium-cabin products.

“This completely reconceived experience exemplifies the new spirit of United and the innovation, excitement and operational momentum across our airline,” United Airlines’ president and CEO, Oscar Munoz, said in a statement.

That experience begins with the airline’s new Polaris Lounge at airports around the world and continues with new seats, menus, and amenities on board the flights.

With rivals from the Middle East and the Pacific Rim setting the new benchmark for in-flight service and luxury, US airlines have been forced to step up their game significantly to compete for lucrative business- and first-class passengers. In recent years, Delta and American have implemented significant upgrades to their premium-cabin offerings. Now, United is jumping into the fray.

According to a United Airlines representative, the first Polaris Lounge opens in Chicago on December 1. Flights featuring the Polaris Business Class product will commence in early 2017 on board United’s new Boeing 777-300ER jets.

Here’s a closer look at United Airlines’ new Polaris Business Class, courtesy of the airline:


The experience begins at the Polaris Lounge. In some locations, these lounges will exist separately from the airline’s current United Club lounges. But in some instances, the Polaris Lounge will be a reserved section of a United Club location.

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United Airlines

According to United, gourmet food and beverages will be served in a “boutique restaurant setting.”

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United Airlines

Mussels, anyone?

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United Airlines

The menu is developed by Chef Art Smith, while cocktails are by mixologist Adam Seger.

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United Airlines

There are day beds to grab a quick nap as well as showers to freshen up between flights.

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United Airlines

United expects to open its first Polaris Lounge on December 1 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with other airport locations in Newark, LA, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Houston, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and London to follow.

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United Airlines

On board, Polaris will replace United’s current …

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United Airlines

… International Business First offering.

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United Airlines

Planes currently equipped with the airline’s Global First Class will be rebranded “United Polaris Global First.”

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United Airlines

Each seat is separated into suite-like segments — allowing everyone access to the aisle.

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United Airlines

For entertainment, each seat is equipped with a 16-inch HD screen.

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United Airlines

In addition, the Polaris Business suites come with amenity kits from Soho House as well as plenty of storage.

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United Airlines

At night, the seat can be converted into a 180-degree lie-flat bed.

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United Airlines

The suites all feature 6 feet, 6 inches of bed space.

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United Airlines

Each suite is even equipped with mood lighting and a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

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United Airlines

Bedding comes courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue.

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United Airlines

There’s also a set of United Airlines headphones waiting at each suite.

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United Airlines

On day flights lasting longer than eight hours and on all flights lasting longer than 12, Polaris passengers have access to on-demand hot snacks. According to the airline, its lobster mac-and-cheese is noteworthy.

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United Airlines

Of course, there’s plenty of Champagne to be served.

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United Airlines

In addition to the Boeing 777-300ER, Polaris will also be fitted to the airline’s incoming 787-10s and …

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Boeing

… Airbus A350-1000 jets.

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Airbus

Finally, the airline will also begin to retrofit its existing fleet of Boeing 777-200 and 767-300 jets with Polaris Business Class in 2017.

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United Airlines