United Airlines has revealed the initial schedule for introduction of the 777-300ERs equipped with its new Polaris business class cabin, and San Francisco figures prominently in the rollout.
The first scheduled service of a Polaris-equipped 777-300ER will be on a domestic route, linking United’s San Francisco and Newark Liberty International hubs. The new aircraft will fly six days a week from February 16 through May 4, the airline said.
On March 25, the new aircraft will make its international scheduled service debut, replacing a 747-400 on the very competitive San Francisco-Hong Kong route, where Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific both offer non-stop service.
The Boeing 777-300ER will have 60 business class seats— that’s up from around 50 in its 747s and 777-200s. Both Economy Plus and regular economy seating will be 10-across, configured 3-4-3. Economy Plus will offer 34 inches of pitch vs. 31 inches for regular economy. Currently, United’s 777s are 9 across in economy class.
But United Polaris flyers in SFO won’t get the full experience when the new 777-300ER lands there– a spokesperson tells TravelSkills that phase 1 of the Polaris lounge will be complete by midyear, with the lounge renovation complete by the end of 2017. More details on the SFO lounge scene here.
The new Polaris business class provides seating in a “suite-like pod,” United said, with direct aisle access for all passengers. Seats recline 180 degrees, and are 6 feet 6 inches long and 23 inches wide, with one-touch lumbar support, A/C power, two USB ports, a 16-inch high-def video screen, privacy dividers for the middle seats, mood lighting, and an electronic “do not disturb” sign. The front cabin also has a marble-topped bar where passengers can get drinks and snacks.
United said it expects to put all 14 of its new 777-300ERs into service during 2017. The aircraft will be configured with 60 Polaris business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout; 102 Economy Plus seats; and 204 regular economy seats.
No word yet on what the other Polaris outfitted routes will be.
Satellite Wi-Fi will be available for purchase, and the economy cabin will offer on-demand entertainment via seatback screens or streaming to personal electronic devices.
United this month started to deploy the new Polaris amenities and services for its business class flyers; here’s a post we ran last month detailing the changes. Of course, the full effect of Polaris won’t be felt until the new seats debut in February.