United Airlines To Alter Polaris Route Network

Routes being served by United Airlines’ much-sought-after Polaris cabins will be changing from the beginning of December. Four current routes will lose their Polaris cabins, whilst four new ones others will gain them. You might want to check your route is still being covered if you plan to fly Polaris this winter.

United Airlines Polaris Cabin
United Airlines is rearranging its Polaris coverage over winter. Photo: United Airlines

United Airlines’ Polaris business class service has won over many flyers since it replaced United BusinessFirst and United Global First back in 2016. The Polaris service includes a host of improvements over the old options, including all-new in-flight dining menus, seats and in-flight amenity kits.

United said it aimed to add a Polaris suite to an additional aircraft in its fleet every 10 days throughout the year – great news for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to experience Polaris yet. But there may be a slight spanner in the works for passengers who are planning ahead, thinking they will get to fly Polaris on certain routes.

As recently reported by The Points Guy, United Airlines has announced a small but significant selection of alterations to its Polaris coverage for the upcoming winter season. In total there will be alterations on eight routes, four of which will lose Polaris coverage and four of which will gain it.

Which routes will be affected by the changes?

With four routes gaining Polaris suites and four routes losing it, the overall fleet coverage is not suffering as a result of the recent changes. Nevertheless, it may come as unwelcome news for passengers who thought they would be able to buy a Polaris seat on their favorite route.

A United Airlines Boeing 757
United announced its new Polaris cabins in late 2016. Photo: Transport Pixels via Flickr

In total, three outbound routes from Newark will be losing their Polaris suites. The end destinations are Barcelona, Hong Kong and Brussels, beginning 26 October, 3 December and 13 February respectively. Additionally, United Airlines’ Los Angeles-Shanghai route will lose its Polaris coverage between 7 December and 31 January.

On the plus side, depending on where you’re more likely to be flying, you may now be able to buy a seat in the Polaris suite.

Two outbound flights from San Francisco will gain Polaris cabins – Frankfurt and Shanghai on 12 and 13 February respectively. The San Francisco-Tokyo Haneda route will also gain Polaris coverage from 6 January onwards. Additionally, United’s Newark-Sao Paulo route will offer Polaris suites from 3 December.

These route changes aren’t reflective of demand for Polaris cabins themselves, they’re mainly just a result of aircraft rotations United Airlines has made to account for winter demand. The cuts may come at a bad time for flyers planning journeys over the festive season. But it’s not the end of the world.

A United Airlines Boeing 737
United Airlines is making capacity rearrangements over the winter season. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust via Flickr

There’s plenty of Polaris cabins in the air

If you’re one of the unlucky few to have seen one of your routes cut from the Polaris list, don’t fear.

United Airlines continues to roll them out across its network, so unless Newark to Brussels after 3 December is the only route you have planned for the next couple of years, you’ll get other chances to see what the Polaris experience is all about.

By December, United Airlines expects to have its Polaris cabins fitted on 50% of its widebody fleet, around 100 aircraft in total. Some aircraft will be fitted with significantly more Polaris seats, so with a little bit of planning, there will be more than enough to go around.

United Airlines was not available to respond to Simple Flying’s request for comment on the route changes.