United Airlines

United Polaris Business Class HKG LAX 787-900 – Review

Review of United's Polaris Business Class features a dinner tray with a steak and potato dish accompanied by appetizers, salad, and a glass of red wine.

I was somewhat surprised that my recent flight on United Airlines’ Polaris Business Class from Hong Kong HKG to Los Angeles LAX on a Boeing 787-900 aircraft was a delightful adventure that was almost flawless from boarding to touchdown. It has been about a year since my last Polaris flight and I noticed quite a few changes – mostly positive enhancements such as the new bedding as well as the return of the appetizer dish. In this comprehensive review, I will be sharing with you my entire experience from start to finish, as well as my observations and insights on some of the positive changes and improvements.

Table of Contents


In general, United’s Polaris passengers enjoy expedited check in at dedicated counters as well as express luggage handling. My checked bag had a red tag attached to it and was among the first to arrive at the carousel at LAX. That was great! However, getting to the Premier Access Lane at the airport in Hong Kong was not as straight forward.

The check-in counter did not open until about three hours prior to the scheduled departure time, but many people lined up there a lot earlier than that. The problem was that the signage was not clear, and most people lined up at the wrong place. Eventually, when the counter was about to open, an agent checked whether each person lined up at Premier Access was eligible to be there, but it was a chaotic scene already.

My suggestion: Either open the counter an hour earlier, or at least have somebody there to guide people to line up at the right place and help them check in at the kiosks.

Unlike most airports in the US and Europe, HKG does not have priority security and immigration lanes for business class customers. So please take this into consideration and allow extra time. One bit of good news for US passport holders is that you can bypass the traditional immigration process (and its long queue) and use the automated facial recognition gates.

Lounge Access

A large buffet counter decorated by a colorful orchid plant has many chaffing dishes and other food items placed on it.

The United Club in Hong Kong which was closed during COVID has not yet reopened. It appears that it will remain closed at least in the foreseeable near future. But Polaris passengers have access to Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris Lounge, which serve even better food than the UC.

Note that the SilverKris Lounge is near Gate 5, but UA departures are usually at gates 40’s through 60’s which is about a 15 to 20-minute walk away, including a short train ride. So please take this into consideration and plan accordingly.

This SQ signature club offers an extensive buffet of international cuisines, a good selection of self-served beers and wines, as well as a fully stocked bar staffed with professional bartenders. Seating is spacious and comfortable, although it could get very crowded during peak hours. Please see the article below for a complete review of my lounge experience.

Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport HKG


A glass of champagne is placed on a white napkin on top of an airline seat's tray table.

Sometime near the end of the boarding process, a flight attendant confirmed with each passenger their dinner preorders. For those who did not place their orders in advance, she asked them for their top two entrée choices.

At about the same time, another FA circulated the cabin with a tray full of glasses of champagne. Apparently, this was the only pre-departure beverage offered which was fine with me.  I was happy with the champagne and did not ask to see if I could have something else.

A positive change that I noticed was that the pre-departure beverage was served in glassware, not plastic. I hope this was a new and consistent change and not just an isolated event on this particular flight.

The Seat

A business class seat with two windows to its left has a stack of blankets and beddings placed on it.

United’s Polaris pod seats are indeed stellar, and they rival any global airlines in the business class hard product category. On the 787, they are 20.5” wide and offer 6’6” of sleeping space – measurement of the entire length of the seat when fully extended to its horizontal lie-flat position.

The versatile pod seat has many functions and features. Please see the article below for a comprehensive review of the seat itself:

Ultimate Review of the United Polaris Pod Seat

The Bedding

When I arrived at my seat, a set of Saks Fifth Avenue Limited Edition bedding was already placed there. This newly enhanced bedding was introduced in September 2023 and is noticeably more comfortable.

A blue blanket with pattern design is rolled up and placed on the tray table.

The newest addition is a stylish day blanket by Saks fashion designer Claude Kameni which is light but rather warm.

A light grey color duvet is rolled up and placed on the tray table in front of the seat.

The updated version of the heavier duvet is thicker and feels more substantial.

A gel pillow is placed in a white pillowcase with a star shaped logo on its lower left corner.

The updated cool gel pillow is softer than its previous rendition but still provides good support. I slept for a good eight hours and felt very comfortable. For those who prefer the standard bed pillows, they are still available.

A pair of slippers is held by a paper band with United's logo and is placed on a tray table.

The slippers are still the same but packaged without plastic bags to be more environmentally friendly. These slippers are soft but sturdy and they last a long time. I always pack them with me for my connections or take them home.

Amenity Kit

I really liked the amenity kit that came in the form of a fanny pack – a small pouch that can be worn around the waist like a belt or as a cross body bag. For once, there is an amenity kit container that I do not throw away but will actually reuse it many times.

The contents of an amenity kit are taken out of the bag and spread out on a table.

In partnership with Therabody, the followings were included in a resealable pouch inside the kit:

  • Hand cream
  • Cleansing towelette
  • Hydrating mist
  • Eye serum
  • Lip balm

Other contents included the usual staples like eye mask, socks, earplugs, tissue, pen, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

I really enjoyed the kit during my overnight stay up in the air. My only comment is that I wish the lip balm will come in the form of a lipstick in the future. I really dislike the canned ones that I have to dip my fingers into.

Seatback Entertainment

Tiles of the icons of movie titles are displayed on a seatback entertainment screen.

United Airlines’ Polaris Business Class passengers enjoy a large 16” seatback screen, versus 13” in Premium Plus and 9” in economy. There are literally hundreds of programs to keep you entertained and occupied when you are not sleeping. Movies include current blockbusters like Oppenheimer and Mission Impossible as well as classic favorites of the past like Harry Potter and Hunger Game. Many international programs in many different languages are also available. A pair of good quality noise-cancelling headphones was also provided.

Beverage Service

A glass of red wine sits on a table with a blue tablecloth and accompanied by a small serving of nuts.

Once we’ve reached the appropriate altitude, the flight attendants offered a hot towel service, lined our tray tables with a tablecloth, and took our drink orders. I debated with myself for a moment whether I should order my usual bloody Mary or have some wine. Since I was having steak for dinner, I decided to get some red wine. After checking out the wine list on the menu (posted below), I opted for a glass of John Legend’s Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. It was served very promptly along with a mini ramekin of warmed nuts.

The wine was good, dry as a cab is supposed to be, but balanced with subtle notes of fruity flavors. It went perfectly well with my steak, and I couldn’t help but asked for a second glass.

I have posted the United Polaris Business Class menu for this flight below. It is two-sided – the “Welcome Aboard” side displays choices for the three meals that will be served while the other side is the wine list.


Sliced beef in a bowl is garnished with cherry tomato halves and a slice of cucumber.

Appetizer was a dish of chilled sliced beef with ginger flavor and Asian sesame dressing. While the taste was good, the beef was a bit on the tough side.

A rolled up flat iron steak topped with brown gravy is accompanied by potatoes and vegetables.

Flat iron steak was good, and I loved the delicious brown mustard sauce that complemented the beef well. The steak was tender and flavorful. I also enjoyed the potatoes which had a rich garlicky and buttery taste.

A square slice of cheesecake with a yellow top is served with red raspberry sauce.

For dessert, instead of the usual ice cream sundae, this time I opted for the cheesecake which was served with a moderately sweet raspberry sauce. I liked the cheesecake which had a nice texture and tasted good.

Mid-Flight Snacks

A dinner tray with blue tablecloth contains a dish with a cheese toast and a bowl of an orange color soup.

About half way through the journey we were served a grilled cheese toast accompanied by a bowl of pumpkin ginger soup. The soup was really good and I found the ginger flavor refreshing. This was a perfect light snack after a heavy dinner and a couple of glasses of wine.

A cart with a blue tablecloth has many different food items placed on it, including a basket of fruits, bags of chips, mixed nuts, among other things.

A cart with a good variety of snacks was set up outside the galley between rows 8 and 9. These were self-served and were available about an hour after dinner until shortly before the pre-arrival service.

Pre-Arrival Meal

A dinner tray with a blue tablecloth carries a bowl of congee accompanied by a bowl of cut fruits and a roll with butter and jam.

Between the choices of congee and French toast, I opted for the congee as I wanted something light and savory. Turned out that it was a good decision for me. The congee had a strong hint of chicken flavor, was topped with a poached shrimp, and garnished with pieces of squash, ginger and scallions. I like it a lot. The tray was accompanied by a bowl of fresh fruits and a roll with butter and jam.

The FA took our meal and drink orders at the same time and delivered the beverage on the same tray. I thought this was a lot more efficient than a separate beverage service that I’ve experienced before.


Overall, my flight on United Airlines’ Polaris Business Class was enjoyable and relaxing. On a 13-hour overnight journey in the sky, you can’t beat the very comfortable lie-flat bed and its enhanced bedding. I slept a total of eight hours, punctuated briefly by the two snack services. Both the wine and food were good, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. A bit disappointing was the appetizer but I was a big fan of the congee.

Service has been prompt, friendly, and professional. The entire front cabin’s crew was one of the best that I have encountered. Incidentally, I have been experiencing good service by UA’s flight attendants a lot more often recently, so hopefully this is a trend of continual positive changes and improvements in United’s service culture as well as its Polaris Business Class soft product.

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