Last June United announced the details of Polaris, which is the name of their new international premium cabin experience. This includes new business class seats, better onboard food and amenities, and better lounges. The Polaris product was launched as of December 1, 2016, which is when the Polaris Lounge Chicago opened, as well as when they started offering the new onboard soft product.
From the beginning I was wondering whether the Polaris marketing wasn’t a bit premature. They announced the start date for Polaris as being December 1, even though it would be several months before the first plane featured the new seats. That doesn’t even account for the fact that it would be five years until all the planes would feature the new seats.
Not only has United not kept up with their planned timeline for reconfiguring planes, but they also haven’t kept up with their planned timeline for opening Polaris Lounges.
United Polaris Lounge Chicago
In June United said that their Polaris Lounges at Newark and San Francisco would be opening by the end of 2017. However, in July United updated their “Polaris Tracker” to indicate that lounges in San Francisco, Newark, and London would be opening in “early 2018,” and that their Polaris Lounges in Houston, Los Angeles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, and Washington Dulles, will be opening “later in 2018.”
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but United has updated their “Polaris Tracker” website again, and it’s bad news. United now says that Polaris Lounges in San Francisco, Newark, and London will be “opening starting in 2018” rather than “opening by early 2018.”
While construction delays are common (especially at airports), this is especially frustrating for flyers, given the inadequate lounges that are available at many airports in the interim, until Polaris Lounges open. For example, in San Francisco, all Star Alliance first & business class passengers have to use the former United Global First Lounge, which is a small space. This is because the former United Club has been closed completely so that construction can continue on the Polaris Lounge.
There’s something disappointing about it taking well over a year for United to open their second lounge for a product they’ve been hyping so much.
So hopefully we see at least one more Polaris Lounge open in “early 2018.” Frankly I’d be shocked if all three Polaris Lounges (SFO, EWR, LHR) open in the first half of the year, and I think it’s a near guarantee that the Polaris Lounges in Houston, Los Angeles, Narita, Hong Kong, and Washington Dulles won’t actually all be opening in 2018.
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)