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Sneak Peek at the real United Polaris Business Class 777-200

a stuffed animal on an airplane seat

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I just got back from an incredible trip to South America where we hit up Buenos Aires, the Uruguayan wine country near Carmelo, Iguazu Falls, and Rio. A couple of personal matters came up during the trip, and what was supposed to be a 13 night trip ended up being cut down to 11 nights.  Luckily we were still able to squeeze everything in and found award avail back that far exceeded our expectation.

On our original routing we were supposed to fly back from Buenos Aires via Miami on AA’s 77W in their reverse herringbone Cirrus seating. Great product. However, needing to get back to LA by Monday, the avail that we ended up landing left from Sao Paolo on United’s 772. It’s cabin looked like this:

a diagram of an airplane

These are the old United 772’s that have yet to be retrofit and offer a terribly uncompetitive 2-4-2 business class cabin, and to those who are lucky/elite – the ability to sit in the old first class that is very comfortable. Those seats are no longer sold as first class and specifically reserved for certain business class customers ( primiarly full fare J tickets and high level elites). Or…you know…sweet talking, monkey-carrying, bloggers 🙂

Then a miracle happened. The night before our flight was scheduled to leave – we ended up on a retrofit plane.

It’s cabin looks like this:

a map of a passenger seat

This means that we were going to get a MEGA upgrade on our 10+ hour long haul. And we did.

Main Business Class Cabin.

United Polaris Business Class 777-200

And then our cabin – the mini cabin

a stuffed animal on an airplane seat

We chose 9D and 9G in the bulkhead of the cabin

a stuffed monkey on a chair

The best seats are 1A/L and 9A/L – Here’s a look at 9A

It surprisingly remained open for the entire flight. The bulkhead seats in both cabins, middle and windows, all feature little walkways for increased privacy and wider footwells. I’m not sure if other passengers didn’t realize the distinct advantage these seats possess, but no one switched over.

Initial first impressions:

I”ll have a full review coming up, but my initial impressions were very positive. Plain and simple: it’s a huge step up for United. These seats put them head to head with the competition, and the partnership with Saks afford them industry leading bedding. But overall, they’re not revolutionary by any means, and the biggest let down is the lack of intra-seat storage.

Comparing this seat to say AA’s Super Diamond or Cirrus seating configuration which are their best products leaves me wondering which is more important – storage and width, or luxurious bedding. The Saks bedding is far and away the best in its class and trounces AA head to head. It’s also pretty nice being closer to your seatmate if you’re traveling together and indulging in business class splendor.

But, purely from a hard product seat perspective…I may prefer the best AA has to offer if push came to shove.

 

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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5 Comments

  • Miles November 29, 2018

    Huey Judy –

    Thanks so much for reading and glad it’s been helpful. The first row in each cabin is best IMO – 1A/L and 9A/L are perfect for solo travelers whereas the center seats are best for couples – and yep I stayed in my seat but just observed that no one switched into.

    The aisle to the seat is about a step long, quite narrow, and serves as a great buffer to the cabin aisle highly trafficked by passengers and crew. This is juxtaposed with the even rowed seats that are on the aisle with a slight angle inward ( semi reverse herringbone if you will) for privacy. The even rows also have much smaller foot wells. hope this helps! Enjoy your flight 🙂

  • huey judy November 29, 2018

    What a coup to get real Polaris at the last minute! Love this article. I am looking at UA SFO-Beijing next fall. You picked bulkhead seats 9D & G on this retro-fitted plane.

    I’m not sure I understand this paragraph:
    ” The best seats are 1A/L and 9A/L – Here’s a look at 9A It surprisingly remained open for the entire flight. The bulkhead seats in both cabins, middle and windows, all feature little walkways for increased privacy and wider footwells. I’m not sure if other passengers didn’t realize the distinct advantage these seats possess, but no one switched over.” So you stayed in your original seats and observed 9A? It was unoccupied? I think you’re saying that 9A/L are the best seats for more privacy and wider footwells. Could you please describe the “little walkways”? Thanks SO MUCH for this great article.

  • Gordon November 24, 2018

    Flew back AKL-SFO on this product last week and while the hard product is very good, the rest of the service is best described as the crossroads of disinterested employees and corporate cutbacks. Compared to mostly non-US carriers, the soft product is miserable.

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