United unveiled the Polaris branding for their international premium cabin offerings almost 2 years ago, but has been making relatively little progress in rolling out all the changes they initially promised. There has been no new Polaris lounge openings since December 1, 2016, when United opened its first Polaris Lounge in Chicago-O’Hare (ORD). United launched the new Polaris Business class product soon enough on the new Boeing 777-300ER, but retrofitting older jets has been taking a long time.
Today, United unveiled the second Polaris lounge in their network, this one located in San Francisco (SFO). The lounge is located near gate G92 in the international terminal, and will officially open on April 30, 2018.
The lounge will span 2 levels, with more than 28,000 square feet of real estate, offering seating for up to 440 passengers in 19 different configurations.
United also touts that almost 500 power ports and 500 USB ports will be available in the lounge, which will definitely help with keeping devices charged.
For those hoping to relax or refresh, there will be 5 private daybeds, with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding available. There will also be 8 shower suites with rain showers, as well as amenities by Soho House and Cowshed. (Essentially, the branding of amenities offered in the lounge will match what’s offered onboard.) A valet service can also help passengers with steaming garments.
The lounge will offer restaurant-style, a la carte dining, with a menu designed by Chef Tritia Gestuvo. United says the menu will include everything from traditional Chinese congee to the Polaris Burger that is currently availably at the Polaris lounge in Chicago. For thoses who might be short on time, there will also be a buffet for passengers to grab a quick bite. The offering there is expected to align with the flight schedules; for example, United will offer a ramen noodle bar in the afternoon to match up with flights to Asia.
Of course, there will be a bar offering everything from beers to wines to specialty cocktails. United highlighted several cocktails that are inspired by or in the Bay Area, like the Mai Tai and Pisco Punch, which features “Pisco, which became all the rage during the California Gold Rush of 1849.” A lot of this resembles the way American Exprsess has provisioned their lounges, with local-inspired items on both the food and drinks menu.
All in all, the lounge looks to be a pretty solid offering. As slowly as United is opening these lounges, I am glad they are finally up to international standards. For too long, standards of lounges operated by US airlines have really been quite poor, so this revamp is certainly a step in the right direction.
On the heel of this new lounge opening in San Francisco, United also announced a few upcoming lounge openings. The Polaris Lounge in Newark (EWR) will be opening in early June, followed by one in Houston (IAH) in the summer. Meanwhile, a Polaris Lounge in Los Angeles (LAX) should open “this fall.” Given how quickly rival American Airlines have been with updating their Flagship lounges, it’s good to see United finally ramping up the Polaris rollout.
What do you think of the United Polaris Lounge in San Francisco?