United 787-8 Polaris- Transcontinental in the 'friendly skies'

March 23, 2019

A review on United's Boeing 787-8 from SFO-IAD in their international Polaris cabin

 

My family and I spent our Christmas break in LA visiting our family. We found a very cheap economy fare that departed the LA area via Burbank, had a stop in San Francisco, and then continued on home to Washington D.C. Luckily for us WE GOT UPGRADED, which was a total surprise to Polaris from SFO-IAD, so here is my review on my experience.

 

Boarding-

My family and I arrived at SFO early in the morning from our flight from Burbank. We were all really happy because we had learned that United approved our upgrade from SFO-IAD, which is usually unheard of when flying transcontinental. And best of all, it would be on their international Polaris product, albeit not the REAL Polaris. Boarding at SFO was delayed by around an hour and a half because of a technical problem with our aircraft which had arrived from Osaka earlier that day (we found out later that it was a problem with the WiFi; I am pretty sure the every passenger would have rather arrived on time and have no WiFi, as opposed to around 2 hours late with WiFi, but United didn't think so). Soon enough priority boarding was called and we entered our beautiful 787 dreamliner. 

 

 

Our sleek 787 that would take us to IAD

 

Seat-

Now, for a transcontinental flight, United's 787 Polaris seats are perfect, they have leg room and they can recline into a bed. My real concern is when people have to fly this product on 10+ hour flights, and United uses this aircraft on those routes very often. The cabin is configured in a 2-2-2 configuration (which can be awkward if you are in a window seat when you need to get up and go to the bathroom because you will be straight up hurdling over their legs), and is split between 2 cabins. The seat width is 22 in which is not bad at all, but to put that into perspective, Singaporean low-cost carrier Scoot, has a width of around 19.7 inches in economy class on their 787's... I found the legroom to be fantastic though, but the seat was a little hard. In addition, there were two other things that really bothered me about the seat. One being the foot well, which was incredibly small, the other being the location of the power ports, which were directly behind you, so in order to access it one would have to awkwardly turn around or even stand up. Despite this the screen was big and as many of you know, I enjoy United's entertainment system and felt that it had a decent amount of selection.

 United Polaris seats

 United Polaris seats

 Seat controls

 Ahh the suuuper small foot-well

 THE small area behind your seat where you can keep your phone, and charge it

 

Food/Service-

I'm combining the food and the service categories, because as soon as I finished eating, I fell asleep for the rest of the flight. The meal service began with United's signature warm nuts which I ate with my favorite drink, sparkling water. Afterwards, the crew came around asking what we wanted to eat, out of only two options, chicken and something else (which I just can't remember because I was so tired), as you may have guessed, I chose chicken. To my surprise, the meal was fantastic, the chicken was juicy, and tasted really good with the mashed potatoes and the sweet mashed potatoes. After the main course it was time for another United classic, and ice cream sundae. I chose vanilla ice cream with hot fudge with whipped cream on top-- it was amazing. Throughout this entire meal service the crew was attentive, but lacked the feeling like they wanted to be there. After the meal, I reclined my seat and went to sleep. Because this was a domestic flight despite being just under 5 hours, no amenity kits were given out, and United's new Polaris Saks Fifth Avenue bedding was not available. In fact I didn't get a pillow or a blanket, but apparently some were available upon request. 

 

 Warm nuts and my water

 The main course

 Best part of the meal- the ice cream

 

Once I woke up we were on our final approach into IAD.

 

Overall- 7.5/10

 

For a transcontinental flight, this product is great, but throughout the whole flight I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that if I thought that the seat was borderline super uncomfortable for a domestic flight, what would people think if they were flying this aircraft from IAD-PEK or IAD-CDG? Even on their 787-8's and -9's, United has a really outdated business class product, and I can't wait for the day I can try the real Polaris long-haul.

 

Seat- 8/10

WAY better than economy, and WAY better than the other domestic United first products on their narrow body aircraft, but take note that if this was an international flight this rating would be way lower.

IFE- 9/10

Big screen, decent selection of options

Food- 9/10

To my surprise, I thought their food on this flight was fantastic

Service- 7/10

They didn't throw me off the plane, but they weren't fantastic

Timeliness- 4/10

Dreadful.

 

 

 

 

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