United 777-200ER Old Style vs. Polaris Business Class

Introduction
Lodging Review: Novotel Torino Corso Giulio Cesare
Attraction Review: Museo Egizio
Lodging Review: Hilton Bonn
Lounge Review: Lufthansa Lounge, Cologne-Bonn Airport
United 777-200ER Old Style vs. Polaris Business Class

Though I usually do these trip reports in sequential order as to the activities, I skipped over the flight from Chicago to Munich as it was on a B777 configured in the old 2-4-2 layout that we experienced on our flight from Chicago to Brussels a few years ago. So I’ve included the food options below but am not providing a detailed review. Since my reservations were made only 10 days before, I was not surprised to find that the only available BusinessFirst seats were middle seats in the middle section. However, when I checked in 24 hours in advance I was thrilled to see it was the new 1-2-1 layout. But I was unable to select a seat. I was fine with that since now it no longer mattered where I sat. Later in the day, however, the seat map later reverted to the old 2-4-2 as I assume they had changed which aircraft would be servicing this flight. The good news was that now I had been assigned an aisle seat though it was still in the center section.

On the return, we did indeed finally get the 1-2-1 layout with the new Polaris amenities so I’ve included photos of that seat below. I did not include a review of one of the Lufthansa business class lounges in Munich as it was quite busy and there really wasn’t a way to take photos without people in it.

UA 952 ORD-MUC
Aircraft: B777-200ER
Seat: 8D (BusinessFirst, aisle of center section)
Depart: 1900 CDT
Arrive 0930+1 CET

As I mentioned above I won’t re-review the seat as it’s the same type we flew in 2017. In and of itself the seat is fine for business class, it’s the configuration that is unfavorable. Four months later I don’t remember the service being particularly bad or good so overall I’ll take that as a plus. I just had water for a pre-departure beverage so I’m not including that either.

Here’s the menu (click on any photo to enlarge):

Here are the beverages. I stuck with water for this trip.

The meal began with nuts.

Then came the chilled appetizer of smoked salmon, edamame, radish and hummus along with a side salad. I selected the garlic bread.

I selected the pork chop. It wasn’t memorable or terrible.

I’m sure I had the sundae for dessert. I apparently dived into it too quickly to take a photo. My favorite part of a United dinner service is almost always the ice cream and I don’t mean that as a slam. But really, I never get sundaes anywhere except on planes these days!

For breakfast, also not pictured (apparently I was half-asleep while eating?) I had the fruit with cereal. Hard to mess that up.

My return flight was a daytime flight and we were served lunch and a snack.

UA 953 MUC-ORD
Aircraft: B777-200ER
Seat: 9A (BusinessFirst, window/aisle)
Depart: 1125 CET
Arrive 1420 CST

Here was the menu for this flight:

Here are the drink choices:

Once again meal service started with nuts and ginger ale

This time the chilled appetizer was smoked chicken, a farro salad with cranberries and pumpkin seeds and brined carrots along with the mixed greens salad. Once again I selected the garlic bread.

For my entree I took the poached cod with lobster sauce. I was a little apprehensive but despite how it looks it tasted pretty decent.

This time I remembered to take a photo of the sundae before I dived in.

Our snack was grilled chicken with a tomato-basil sauce. This is not a combination I’d normally put together (I mean, I don’t put ketchup on grilled chicken) but it was not bad. Couscous and green beans were the sides, along with the salad.

I believe I skipped the fruit, veggie and cheese plate as that doesn’t really count as dessert to me (where’s the chocolate?!) and I’d eaten enough on this flight to last me awhile!

I’d selected seat 9A, a window seat which had aisle access. The UA seat selection map didn’t make it clear that this was quite close to the galley. This was not really a problem on a daytime flight but could be a bigger issue for an overnight flight if you’re sensitive to any noise.

Waiting for me in my seat were the cooling gel pillow (blue), a light blanket and a larger pillow.

The compartment next to my head held the noise-cancelling headphones (perfectly adequate for me) and the amenity kit. Just below that was the IFE controller and an electrical outlet.

The 2018 amenity kit was different from the 2017 kit and contained Cowshed products, Colgate toothpaste, socks, an eye mask and a pen.

The seat and lighting control panel was on the side and to lay the seat back all you had to do was to rotate the switch one way or the other. This panel also contained the overhead light switch which I didn’t really need as it was daytime and I had a window.

The screen was probably 21″ and a perfectly decent size for the seat. Underneath was a small shelf which was a great place to put electronics during the flight and there was also a USB jack there to charge your phone. A coat hook was available next to the screen.

Underneath the screen and shelf was the dinner tray. I liked how it popped out with a push. It could then be unfolded to be larger. Another, heavier blanket and the mattress pad were waiting on the ottoman underneath. A shoe cubby was below the ottoman.

I dozed a little on this flight, since I’d awakened about 3 AM to catch my ride to the airport but mostly just watched almost all the episodes of NatGeo’s Genius series about Picasso. I hadn’t really known much about him before and while I can appreciate his genius, he seemed like a very self-centered human being.

We reached Chicago on time and thanks to Global Entry my Customs and Immigration experience was an easy one. A mere 1h 25m later I was making my way back to Memphis.

I will be so glad when all of United’s 777s are reconfigured with Polaris so we won’t have to play the “which config will I get” guessing game when booking flights. It truly makes the trip a lot more pleasurable.

Categories: Star Alliance, United | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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