United’s Polaris lounge in Chicago is so far the only new business class lounge United has opened.
Polaris lounges with elevated dining, beverage options, and amenities — and judging by the Chicago lounge, fantastic design — are available to United first and business class passengers flying long haul international flgihts (US – Asia, Australia, Europe, South America) and Star Alliance premium cabin passengers departing on international flights.
United’s Polaris Lounge Rollout Hits a Snag — No New Polaris Lounges This Year
United is already planning to expand the Chicago lounge due to crowding. And they’re planning to open up these new premium lounges in Houston, Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington Dulles, Hong Kong, Tokyo and London.
However none of these additional lounges will open before the end of the year. And in fact while two months ago they were describing the San Francisco, Newark, and London lounges as opening ‘early 2018’ they’re now describing those as just 2018 (and dropping the ‘early’ modifier).
Houston, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Washington DC Polaris lounges will be ‘later in 2018’.
Construction projects almost never finish on time, and airport construction projects are even more challenging. I’d be shocked if United meets the entirety of even this delayed timeline.
I’m saddened by the delays, largely because I’ve got a Virgin Atlantic redemption for ANA first class out of Houston where I thought I’d have an opportunity to use the new Polaris lounge but it seems like that’s now a long shot at best.
Updates on United Club Renovations
United shared a brief on the various renovations and closures to United Clubs across their system today — some of which are related to Polaris Lounge construction, where Polaris takes over a portion of pre-existing club space.
United Introducing New Food Options to Clubs
We’re seeing a lot more investment in clubs, refreshing them and bringing them to a higher standard, at United, American, and Delta as well as Alaska.
They leap frog and copy each other. So far the United Polaris lounge at O’Hare may be the best of the new premium cabin lounges (which Delta does not offer), but they only have one. And they’re learning the American Express problem which is that if you offer a better lounge product customers will want to use it and crowding will ensue. You always need more space than you think when the lounge is actually good.
I think United and American’s base lounges both have lag Delta’s for food.
However United has announced a few holiday special additions to their food offerings.
Perhaps more importantly United is testing Waffle Bowl stations in the morning and grilled cheese and panini station in the afternoon. I believe these are currently available in
- Houston (uncertain which clubs)
- Las Vegas
Some will argue that paninis trump American’s made-to-order guacamole but that remains to be seen.