While many carriers have been pushing to offer reduced fare options to help compete with budget and ultra low cost carriers, that hasn’t stopped many airlines from stepping up their more luxury-oriented offerings. Chicago, Illinois-based carrier United Airlines has been promising significant upgrades to its business class passengers for well over a year now, but the carrier is still struggling to deliver on its promises.
First announced in June of 2016, United Airline’s Polaris cabins promised to be a luxury overhaul of their business class seating. According to the company, Polaris cabins are set to feature improved meals and amenities, vastly improved seats, more comfortable bedding for long international flights, and even accompanying lounges back at the terminal. While some of these features, like the aforementioned meals and in-flight trinkets, have indeed manifested on flights, business-class passengers are still waiting to enjoy the company’s promised new seating.
It is true that United has managed to install the seats to some degree, but the sheer number of flights that feature the new seating is so miniscule that most business class passengers have gone without. To be fair, the carrier has a fleet size approaching 750 craft, so there’s some leniency to be granted for an overhaul of this magnitude. That said, the carrier has only managed to outfit a scant 15 craft as of just a few weeks ago, despite officially implementing the program back in December of 2016 when it officially replaced United BusinessFirst. In the subsequent February, the carrier took its first order of a Boeing 777-300ER equipped with the new cabin design and seating arrangement, at least according to a Q&A section on their official website.
United is also working to update their first class cabins, but to the company’s credit, in terms of forethought, they have given themselves a much longer timeline. According to the same Q&A, the company expects to complete its first class upgrades “over the next few years.” It also offered some clarification for the company’s ultimate goal with the Polaris experience. United intends for these cabins to offer an experience similar to what first class passengers currently enjoy on international flights. With Polaris essential upgrading business to an admittedly dated but on the whole superior first class experience, it’s all the more reason for passengers to anticipate the project’s completion. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future its seems customers will have to settle for Polaris-branded amenities as the new seats slowly trickle out.