Airlines Reviews

Review: United Polaris Business Class 767 Chicago to London

a row of monitors on an airplane

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United Polaris Business Class 767 Chicago to London

This past week I booked last minute tickets for my wife and I to England after we got the great news that the country wouldn’t be locking down before New Year’s 2022. I’d really been holding off since it was widely speculated that there could be restrictions on foreigners entering the country, rule of 6 reinstated, etc and didn’t want to have to go through any cancellation hassles.  If you’d missed the news of late, there had been 1500+ flights canceled and if the website wouldn’t permit a cancellation that would mean hours waiting on hold. As a result, we waited until the morning of the 27th to book our flights for that evening. There were a lot of award flights, but we ended up choosing to fly United Polaris Business Class from Chicago to London on the 767.

It may sound stressful, but in fact, there was so much award space and multiple flights that I wasn’t too concerned we’d lose the award availability. United operates two flights, one at 6pm, the other at 8pm and there were both wide open.

I was really excited to try out the 767 United operates on the route since it features a 1-1-1 design that I hadn’t experienced on any plane other than Cathay Pacific First Class.

@zacharyburrabel $10k worth of flights for points and $75 #United Polaris Business ORD-LHR with @elizabeth_henstridge #travel #travelhacks #creditcards #boeing ♬ Fly Away – Tones And I

Flight Details:

  • When: December 2021
  • Where: Chicago ORD to London LHR
  • Seat: 11A and 12A
  • Miles Used:
    • 63k Avianca LifeMiles and $50
    • 72k Singapore Miles and $5.60
  • Flight Time: 7h 25m
  • Flight: UA 931

Booking United Polaris Business Class Chicago to London

You could book this flight in a number of different ways, but we chose to use a combination of Avianca LifeMiles and Singapore Krisflyer miles. The reason? We had some Singapore miles that were due to expire in January and this was a great way to use them up, and we were sitting on a hefty amount of LifeMiles after we canceled two ANA First Class tickets to Tokyo since the country failed to reopen in time for the trip.

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 70k
  • ANA – 88k roundtrip
  • Avianca – 63k
  • Lufthansa Miles and More: 52.5k
  • United: 60k
  • Singapore: 72k

I used United to search for the award space…if you see pricing at 60k +/- level the space should be available to partners. If you’re booking inside of about 3 weeks, they’ll assess a small premium vs the standard 60k – regardless these should still be available to partners at their partner award pricing level.

a screenshot of a screenBooking with Avianca

Here is the same flight pricing on Avianca LifeMiles – 63k + $24.70.

Note that you need to search either “Smart Search” or individually select the airline you found award space on. Avianca also assesses a $25 fee and when booking enter some random numbers into the Personal ID space. It took me forever to book because I kept leaving this blank.

Avianca is a partner of

  • American Express
  • Citi
  • Capital One
  • Marriott

Booking with Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is a partner of:

  • American Express
  • Brex
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Capital One
  • Marriott

The biggest thing you need to pay attention to here is that Singapore miles don’t always transfer immediately. We had the miles in our account so this wasn’t an issue, but be aware it could take a day or two to populate. Also…if you’re looking to book a partner flight, click “Star Alliance” to show those options otherwise it’ll only search for Singapore award space

a screenshot of a computer

Selecting your seat on the 767

If you’re traveling as a single person I’d highly recommend any of the odd number rows on the window. They are set back from the aisle and offer much more privacy than any of the other seats. If you’re traveling as a couple, as we were, you have a choice to make…sit across the aisle from one another, or one after the other. We chose to do one after another so we could each enjoy a window seat.

a map of a seatYou can see the cabin layout here and how the seats stagger

a row of monitors on an airplane

Covid Testing at Chicago O’Hare

I have an entire article dedicated to this as well, which you can read here, but we did Rapid Antigen tests that were processed in roughly 45 minutes. The service is located near Terminal 2 at the Bus Depot across from the Hilton hotel. We arrived roughly 4 hours prior to our flight and had our test results done with plenty of time to check-in and enjoy the lounge

a blue and orange barriers in a room

Check In

United unfortunately had a system wide technical glitch that made check-in rather cumbersome. We had to have our paperwork, including Covid tests, vaccine cards, the passenger locator forms checked multiple times because of these glitches. In the end, we were checked in and instructed to the United Polaris Lounge near gate C18.

The United Polaris Lounge at Chicago

I wrote an entire review of the Polaris lounge at Chicago which you can read here, but it’s a fantastic lounge that features a dining room with a waitstaff. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re departing out of Terminal 1. It’s located next to gate C18.

Boarding

We were in group 1 which boards after Global Services and 1k so there were a few people already getting situated. Here’s a look at my seat 11A which sits back from the aisle with a small passageway and is ideal for those wanting more privacy and a window view. In total, there are 30 seats in Polaris business class.

This is compared to where my wife sat which was 12A that sits right on the aisle. One benefit of this is that your storage cabinet is set to the inside which is a bit safer to keep any valuables while sleeping.

a seat in an airplane

The Seat

The seat reclines into a fully flat bed, and at 6′ tall I could pretty much fully stretch out without hitting the end. United provides not one, but two pillows, one of which is memory gel, and a nice blanket. It’s all from Saks 5th Avenue and quite nice.

a bed in an airplane

There is a small storage cabinet, IFE, seating controls, as well as a universal power outlet on either side of the seat.

If you’re looking for the largest footwell space, choose 1A or K. Neither of those seats have to account for a seat in front of them so the footwell will be much larger than mine as would the underneath carry on storage. You can see mine still fit my backpack (ROAM Luggage ), but it was a tight squeeze just under the IFE.

The biggest complaint is there there really isn’t any substantive place to put your valuables that is away from where a nefarious passenger could knick it. I think Cathay Pacific, for example, does a great job with seat design and how they incorporate a small storage area on the lower inside of their business class seat. You can see how the center lower compartment opens to reveal a nice storage compartment on the A350 ( you can read the review here )

The Amenity Kit

A nice Polaris amenity kit complete with toothbrush and beauty products from Sunday Riley are provided along with slippers

The Food and service

The service was very good; however, the food was far from great. I had the salmon which was fairly unremarkable and dry with flavorless rice. In all honestly, the only reason I ordered food was for the review. I was full from the lounge, and on eastbound redeye flights this short, my recommendation is to skip the meal and go straight to sleep. I did enjoy the salad and ice cream though.

a plate of food on a tray

Roughly an hour before landing I was given the option of either french toast or an white white chicken and mushroom omelette. I went with the french toast and it was lackluster. I did enjoy the Chobani yogurt though.

a plate of food and drinks on a table

Overall:

Aside from the meal, I was again quite impressed with United’s Polaris Business Class.  I’ve now flown the 777-200 from GRU to Chicago, the 777-300 from Newark to Tel Aviv, and now the 767 from Chicago to London. The biggest factor of business is the seat and your ability to arrive well rested. I think United does a very good job and ranks right up there with AA’s two best business class seats ( the Cirrus on 777 and Super Diamond on 787-9s and select 772s ). If you’re looking for a very good business class that offers comfortable bedding, Polaris will fit the bill.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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6 Comments

  • […] United business class review 767 ORD to LHR […]

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  • […] I just redeemed 60k United miles for a Polaris Business Class flight for my wife this past week. You can read our review from our last trip here on the 767. […]

  • jsm January 1, 2022

    I always appreciated constructive criticism as I learned something that way, so I hope this comment is taken in the same vein.

    The sentence appears above: This past week I booked last minute tickets for my wife and I to England …”.
    After a pronoun English uses the objective case, so it should be “for my wife and me.” An easy check to realize that you would not write “… last minute tickets for we …” as you would use “us”.

    Really enjoy your site and keep up the good work

  • Sean January 1, 2022

    Thanks for the great article. I am still in learning when it comes to redeeming the miles. It was so helpful because i was also planning to travel UK in April from IAD where there is direct UA flight to UK. I booked 30K economy because business were redemption rate were too high(120k)

    I did not know redemption rate comes down to 60K business class within 3 weeks period. Is that normal for UA award flights?

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