United Airlines is (finally) rather quickly retrofitting its 777-200 longhaul fleet to add new Polaris business class seats. But there are still “old” aircraft floating around and I very much enjoy them.
I wrote about this older seating configuration recently when I encountered it on a domestic flight, but it was the first time I had flown internationally on this configuration in at least a year.
Part of it is nostalgia; this is a seat I have flown around the world on with United over the years, long before the Continental merger. It is tied to many happy memories, including trips to Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America. But it is more than that.
It’s also a darn comfortable seat. I know the pictures perhaps give it a deceptively uncomfortable appearance. And frankly it is cramped by many objective measure. There’s little privacy and the lack of storage space is annoying. But after a refreshing night’s sleep from San Francisco to London, I was reminded again of how comfortable this seat is.
I won’t provide a full flight review because I have provided so many United reviews this year alone. Instead, I’ll just share a few quick highlights.
Dinner was served after takeoff, which included mixed nuts, a duck appetizer, and green salad.
For my main course, I chose the Ginseng Chicken Bowl, which is a great choice I’ve ordered multiple times now and wrote about here.
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I’ve been turning them down more lately, but I had an ice cream sundae with chocolate chunks, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream.
I’ll note that you might want to bring your own salad dressing, because the pomegranate acai or the Asian sesame that pops up all the time are both far too sweet. Since United no longer offers a choice of dressing in business class, I bring my own or ask for a balsamic vinaigrette from economy class.
For breakfast I had a cheese omelet with fruit, yogurt, and a croissant.
I do think it is time, past time really, that United updates this seat. While I think those who complain about it haven’t actually flown it, the new(er) Polaris seats offer more space, more privacy, direct aisle access, and personal storage. Those are all important selling points in a competitive market. But I will really miss this seat and hope it sticks around on Hawaiian routes for many years to come. I suspect, though, this was my last transatlantic flight on the old seat.