Review: United Polaris Business Class SFO to BNE

Australian Open Series

by Anthony
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a plate of food with lemon and asparagus

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Introduction – United Polaris Business Class

My journey from San Francisco (SFO) to Brisbane (BNE) on UA96 marked my first experience flying with the United Polaris Business class. With a 14-hour leg ahead of me, I was hopeful for an improvement from my previous Air Canada experience. United’s recent enhancements to their West Coast Pacific long-haul flights had set my expectations high, especially after reading positive reviews online.

UA96 was the second leg of my journey from Canada to Australia;

YYZ –> SFO (4 hr layover) –> BNE (8 hour layover) –> MEL

This one-way route was booked through Aeroplan and cost 87,500 points + $186.56 in taxes and fees.

Flight: UA 96 (SFO – BNE)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Duration: 13hr 42min

In preparation for my flight, I utilized resources like to secure a favourable seat. I chose seat 7A based on its promise of additional privacy, as it was closer to the window and further from the aisle. This tip from SeatGuru proved invaluable for ensuring a comfortable and secluded experience in the business-class cabin.

United Polaris Business Class – Boarding, Cabin, and Seats

Boarding for UA96 was smooth and efficient. After pre-boarding for passengers with disabilities, small children, and military personnel, Zone 1 was called to board. Upon entering the cabin, I was immediately impressed with the cleanliness and organization of my seat, 7A. Unlike some other experiences shared by travellers, my seat area was spotless.

a tv on the side of a plane

United Polaris Business Class – Seat 7A

The seating arrangement on this Boeing Dreamliner was well thought out. Odd-numbered window seats like mine provided extra privacy, making the flight more comfortable. The seat converted into a full 180-degree bed, conveniently controlled by a dial under the window. The bed, accompanied by a regular and memory foam pillow, was perfect for a restful sleep.

a pillow and blanket on a seat

Seat amenities by Saks Fifth

In terms of amenities, United did not disappoint. A Limited Edition Saks Fifth Avenue Claude Kameni blanket and a regular blanket awaited me. The seat also featured a flat-screen TV with a touch control, a USB plug, and ample storage space for personal items. The three lighting options and convenient control placements added to the comfort and functionality of the seat.

a tv and monitors in an airplane

UA 96 – Seat 7A

a close up of a device

Seat connectivity

an open safe with a plastic bag inside

Storage, vanity Mirror and Headphones

a paper in a drawer

Tray Table and Storage

a close up of a seat

United Polaris Business Class – Seat Controls

The amenity kit, a white Therabody bag, contained essentials like socks, earplugs, a dental kit, soft tissues, a mini pen, and an eye mask. Additionally, it included TheraBody products such as lip balm, hydrating facial mist, hand cream, and eye serum. This kit, while different from what I was used to, was a welcome change and immensely useful.

a hand holding a small waist bag

Amenity Kit by Therabody

a group of facial products on a table

Therabody – Lip Balm, Facial Mist, Eye Serum ands Hand Cream

United Polaris Business Class – Meal Service

Dinner service began about 90 minutes after takeoff. The meal tray below the TV screen was easy to use and spacious enough for the food tray and drinks. The menu offered a variety of appealing options. I started with a Romaine lettuce salad and a Shrimp machboos with tomatoes and mint yogurt dressing appetizer. The two jumbo shrimp in a sweet tomato sauce were a delightful beginning.

a menu of wine bottles

United Polaris Business Class – Menu

a white and blue sign with black text

Meal options

a bowl of nuts and a glass of water

Drinks Service on United Polaris Business Class

a bowl of shrimp with tomatoes and sauce

Starters – Shrimp Machboos

a bowl of salad with carrots and tomatoes

Starters – Romaine Lettuce Salad

For the main course, I chose grilled salmon topped with a turmeric lemon zest beurre blanc sauce, accompanied by roasted green asparagus and thyme-roasted red potato wedges. The salmon was moist and flavorful, perfectly complemented by the sauce. Dessert was a highlight with United’s customizable ice cream sundae cart, and I indulged in vanilla ice cream topped with caramel, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and three cherries.

a plate of food with lemon and asparagus

Main Course – Grilled Salmon

a dessert with cherries and chocolate chips

Dessert Course – Ice Cream Sundae

Throughout the flight, on-demand snacks like a grilled cheese sandwich, roasted creamy tomato soup, and various sweet and savoury snacks were available.

a glass of liquid on a napkin

Baileys on Ice

a tray of food and a bowl of food

Snacks in flight

a bowl of food on a table

Anytime Snacks on flight UA 96

Before landing, breakfast was served with choices like scrambled eggs with sausage and potatoes or oatmeal. I opted for scrambled eggs with a fruit salad, Chobani Greek yogurt, orange juice, bread, jam, and butter.

United Polaris Business Class – Takeaway

Overall, my first long-haul experience with United Polaris Business class was excellent. The food and drink service was impressive, though I would have appreciated a spirits menu with the drinks. The seat and bed were comfortable, though larger or taller passengers might find the bed a bit snug. The staff’s service was exceptional, with special mention to Sylvia from France, who made the flight more enjoyable with her attentive care. While not particularly special, the business-class bathroom was well-equipped with better amenities than the economy lavatories.

a screen shot of a blue screen

SFO to BNE – Flight details

The personal touches, like thanking each passenger before landing, enhanced the overall experience. United even tried to promote their Visa card, adding a bit of fun for those interested in travel perks.

I would rate my maiden United Polaris Business class flight an 8/10, making it a worthwhile use of 87,500 Aeroplan points.

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