Most of us can only dream of the fabled Business Class. It is usually more than double the price of an economy ticket, meaning it’s a lot to invest for a few hours. Is it worth it? We'll let you decide.
We tested out United’s newest business class offering, Polaris Business Class. From the flatbed to the food and more, here’s the lowdown:
United have recently updated their seat to offer more space and more privacy. It reclines to become a flatbed, and is comfortable to sleep on. With linen by Saks Fifth Avenue, you get not one but two thick blankets under which you can snuggle, and a comfortable pillow to lay that head.
Try to get one of the central seats though, so you can get out to the aisle easily. In contrast, the window seats mean you would have to step over your aisle-dwelling neighbour if they have their seat fully reclined, as no space has been left for a walkway – better to sit in the central section to get the best bang for your buck.
United has excellent entertainment, including almost all of the major Oscar winners of this year like The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri as well as a whole host of excellent classics like Pretty in Pink, Groundhog Day and Arthur. The screen is massive here in business (40cm) and you get noise-cancelling headphones so you can feel fancy.
On our 14.5 hour LAX–SYD flight, we got two full meals, as well as a snack cart at our disposal and optional hot food. For dinner we have wodges of very delicious, nori-wrapped smoked salmon, a big salad, Thai-style chicken curry with Japanese udon noodles; a cheese plate and a sundae customised to you and made in front of your eyes – we went for vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate fudge, Oreo crumbs and strawberry compote. For a snack, we had super-creamy lobster mac’n’cheese, followed by a breakfast of Mexican-style omelette with sausages.
Champagne on the runway, obviously. Then at dinner, you can sample each of the wines you feel like and select one at the end. We went for the Sangiovese from Umbria, and Courvoisier Cognac with dessert – not top shelf stuff, but pretty good all the same.
United have just overhauled many of their lounges, and the new Star Alliance lounge at LAX’s Tom Brady International Terminal is all white-toned and clean lines, with a generous buffet throughout the day and a bar up the end serving as many Mimosas as you can handle before your flight (it’s always cocktail hour somewhere and the Mimosa is the cocktail that works at any hour so…)
The amenities kit comes in a tin, which is fun, and luckily in Business, you’ve got enough space to store it during the flight. Inside is a refreshing towelette, lip balm and hand cream by Soho House’s Cowshed (they literally smell like a spa), fancy socks, an eye-mask, pen, toothbrush and toothpaste; hand sanitiser, earplugs and ‘collectable’ 747 trading cards. So plenty of things to keep you busy then.
And one more thing…
We also experienced United’s newly updated Economy Plus and we have to say it’s genuinely worth the extra coin. For starters, you get 15cm more legroom compared with Economy. It makes a real difference – my 168cm-length body meant that my feet were nowhere near the seat in front – it felt like what Business Class used to be. You can recline that little bit further (an extra 7cm compared with Economy), and you get a nice, relatively wide arm-rest between you and your companion. You also get Champagne, which is always a bonus – see; old-fashioned Business Class.