Flight Review: United Airlines Polaris Business Class, Washington, DC, to Munich

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Flight Review:  United Airlines Polaris Business Class, Washington, DC, to Munich

Million Mile SecretsFlight Review:  United Airlines Polaris Business Class, Washington, DC, to MunichMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets contributor Chris recently traveled in United Airlines Polaris Business Class from Washington, DC, to Munich, Germany.  So I’ve asked him to share his experience!

Chris:   Thanks, Daraius!  I was excited to make the transatlantic trip in Business Class with a lie-flat seat!  Better yet, I paid for the flight with miles, so the total cost was only 57,500 United Airlines plus ~$81 in fees.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Enjoy Fancy Bedding, Top-Notch Food, and a Comfortable Journey With United Airlines Polaris Business Class

The flight was on a United Airlines Boeing 777-200, which has a 2-4-2 seating arrangement in Business Class.  While United Airlines markets all Business Class tickets now as Polaris Business Class, this plane (and many others) had not yet been outfitted with the new Polaris seats.  But the service, food, and amenities have all been updated to reflect the Polaris branding.

While not the best Business Class in the sky, I had a good experience in United Airlines Polaris Business Class!

Booking the Ticket

Booking an award ticket on United Airlines is simple and straightforward.  My first step was to head to www.united.com and log-in to my United MileagePlus account.

After logging-in, the main screen has a search box where you enter your destination, travel dates, and class of service.  Make sure to check the “Search for award travel” box so that your search results show in miles!

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
It’s Easy to Search for Award Flights on the United Airlines Website

After entering in the destination and travel dates, United.com displays flight options on both United Airlines and other Star Alliance partner airlines.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Currently, United Airlines Business Saver Awards Cost 60,000 United Airlines Miles (but Partner Awards Cost More)

I booked my flight before United Airlines changed its award chart on November 1, 2017.  So the Business Class Saver award only cost 57,500 United Airlines miles plus ~$81.  Now, United Airlines charges the following for a one-way award flight from North America to Europe:

  • Coach: 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Business Class: 60,000 United Airlines miles (70,000 miles on partners)
  • First Class: 80,000 United Airlines miles (110,000 miles on partners)

After finding a Business Class Saver award available on my travel date, I logged-in to my Chase Ultimate Rewards account to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines.  Though the flight cost only 57,500 United Airlines miles, Chase only allows transfers in 1,000-point increments, so I transferred 58,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my United MileagePlus account.  The transfer occurs instantly and a moment later the miles were reflected on United.com.

I completed the booking by paying the ~$81 in fees using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which earns 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel purchases.

United Airlines also offers the option to pay for a ticket in cash and then upgrade to Business or First Class using points.  But if you can find a Business Class saver award, that’s usually a better option!

At the Airport

After arriving at Washington Dulles airport, I was able to use the dedicated check-in area for folks flying Polaris Business Class.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Polaris Business Class Passengers Have Their Own Check-In Area!

There was absolutely no one in line when I arrived.  So I immediately went to the counter and presented my passport.  The United Airlines agent weighed my bag (Business Class passengers are allowed up to 2 free bags, each weighing 70 pounds), entered in the information, and then handed me the boarding pass.  The check-in experience was painless and took less than 5 minutes!

After making my way through security, I hopped on the Dulles airport tram to the terminal.  The tram operates every couple of minutes.  And the ride take ~5 minutes or less, depending on your terminal.

At this point, I had a few hours to kill, so I headed to the Turkish Airlines lounge in Terminal B.  The lounge is open to Business Class passengers on any Star Alliance airline, or passengers in any class who have a Priority Pass membership.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Fancy! You’ll Feel Like a VIP Walking Into the Turkish Airlines Lounge

The lounge was one of the best airport lounges I have been to in the US! 

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Hot Dishes Included Turkish Meatballs, Pasta, and a Spicy Chicken Dish Over Rice!

The main area was stocked with an assortment of appetizers, cold spreads, and hot dishes, as well as a self-serve coffee and tea area.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Both the Lentil and Quinoa Dishes Were Amazing!

Seating in the main area included a wall of televisions, several work stations with Apple computers, and a large glass wall for plane watching.  A hallway near the back of the main lounge area led to a separate seating area that included a full-service bar and some secluded nap pods.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Turkish Airlines Lounge Bar Was Well Stocked and 100% Complimentary!

The bar had a good selection of beer, wine, and liquor, which are all complimentary for passengers in the lounge.  This was a nice perk, because some airport lounges charge extra for mixed drinks or only allow one drink per visit.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
A Secluded Nap Area in the Lounge Is Available to Passengers Who Would Like a Little More Privacy

After an hour or so in the Turkish Airlines lounge, I decided to head over to Terminal C where my flight would be departing.  International Business Class passengers on United Airlines have complimentary access to United Clubs, so I visited the Club located in Terminal C near my gate.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Entrance to One of Dulles Airport’s United Clubs

The United Club was massive – at least 3X larger than the Turkish Airlines lounge.  The food spread was rather limited with some rolls, cheese and crackers, mixed nuts, and a series of baked desserts.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The United Club at Dulles Terminal C Was Much Bigger Than the Turkish Airlines Lounge

The bar at the United Club included complimentary beer, wine, and basic mixed drinks, but anything beyond the basic rail liquors was an extra charge.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Food Selection at the United Club Wasn’t as Extensive as the Turkish Airlines Lounge

On the Plane – Seat and Service

With a Business Class ticket, I was in boarding Group 1 and was one of the first passengers to board.  I made my way to Seat 6A, a bulkhead window seat in the first row of Business Class.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Making My Way to Seat 6A in United Airlines Polaris Business Class!

Polaris Business Class seats on the Boeing 777-200 have a pitch (distance between each row of seats) of 76 inches and a width of 20 inches.  At a height of 6’1”, I had plenty of leg room in the seated position and was able to lie flat on my back after converting the seat to a lie-flat bed.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
My Legs Here Were Fully Extended While Sitting Down. The Foot Well Was a Little Small, but Not a Major Problem

I was fortunate enough to not have anyone in the aisle seat next to me, so I didn’t feel cramped or too close to other passengers.  The seat itself is only 20” wide, though, so some folks may feel a little cramped, particularly if sitting in the middle section of 4 seats.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
At 20″ Wide, the Middle Group of 4 Seats Could Be a Little Cramped!

The seat itself was comfortable and had a moderately firm cushion that was soft yet supportive.  As part of the new Polaris Business class experience, each seat came stocked with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, including a pillow, sheet, and blanket.  United Airlines also carries a limited number of memory-foam mattress toppers that are available upon request.  I asked the flight attendant for one of these just after dinner and was very pleased with the comfort after converting the seat to a lie-flat bed.

On the Plane – Food and Amenities

Immediately upon boarding, one of the flight attendants helped me to my seat and asked if I would like a drink before take-off.  I ordered a gin and tonic and a few moments later, the flight attendant returned with the drink and a small box of chocolates.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Who Can Say No to a Drink and Chocolates Before Take-Off?

As passengers in coach continued to board, the flight attendant returned with an amenity kit.  The kit was a tin celebrating the Boeing 747 which United Airlines recently retired on November 7, 2017.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The 747-Themed Amenity Kit Was a Nice Touch

The kit contained slippers and socks…

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
Keep Your Feet Warm During the Long Flight With 747-Themed Socks

…a sleep mask and a pack of facial tissue…

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Sleep Mask Had Extra Padding and Was Very Comfortable

…a set of Cowshed toiletries including lotion, lip balm, hand cream, and a moist towelette…

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Lotion and Lip Balm Came in Handy During the Long Flight to Munich

… a toothbrush, toothpaste and earplugs…

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
No Excuses for Bad Breath on This Flight 😉

…and set of info cards on the history of the Boeing 747.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Cards Explained the History of the Boeing 747, the First 2-Level Commercial Aircraft

The flight attendant also handed over the Polaris-themed menu.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Polaris Business Class Food and Drink Menu – Yum!

The menu listed the wine and champagne options on one page …

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Flight Attendants Encouraged Passengers to Try Multiple Wines

… and the food options on the other.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Menu Included Both Dinner and Breakfast, as Well as Snacks Available at Any Time

After take-off, the flight attendant returned with a beverage cart.  I couldn’t decide between the red wines, so she offered to pour me a sample of three!  The flight attendant also offered a container of warm nuts.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Wine Flight Came in United Airlines Branded Wine Glasses With a Custom Holder

She also asked for my meal choice – I went with the spicy chicken dish.

As I began to relax with the wine flight, I decided to explore the In-Flight Entertainment system.  Each Polaris Business Class seat was equipped with a 17” screen and came with a pair of United Airlines branded headphones.  The entertainment system was equipped with a good selection of movies, shows, documentaries, games, and a screen showing the flight’s progress.  I perused through the offerings but decided to listen to some of my own music while waiting for the food to arrive.

Each Business Class seat came equipped with a plug outlet and USB port, so I was able to keep my phone charged throughout the flight.  Inflight Wi-Fi was available, but because I was hoping to get a few hours of sleep, I decided not to purchase.

A few minutes later, the first course arrived, consisting of a small salad, warm rolls, and 2 massive shrimp!  The course was served with United Airlines salt and pepper shakers, which I thought were a nice touch.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The First Course Included Jumbo Shrimp, Warm Rolls, and Salad

The shrimp and salad were decent, but nothing exciting.  Shortly after finishing, the flight attendant returned to collect the plates and bring over the spicy chicken dish.

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
The Spicy Chicken Entree Did NOT Disappoint!

The dish was quite good and certainly spicy enough for me!  I scarfed down the food quickly and the flight attendant was surprised to see I had finished when she returned a few minutes later.  She immediately cleared my tray again and asked if I would like to try a dessert.  Unfortunately, I was already stuffed from dinner and the multiple airport lounge visits, so I politely declined.

Because I had a long day in Munich the next day, I wanted to get to sleep on the earlier side, so I reclined the bed and set up the Saks Fifth Avenue bedding.  A few minutes later, the flight attendants dimmed the cabin lights and I was off to sleep.

About 4.5 hours later, I woke up just as the flight attendants were beginning to serve breakfast.  The meal was probably the best breakfast I’ve ever had on a plane!  The omelet, sausage, and potatoes were all tasty, and the side of fruit, yogurt, and a croissant rounded things off nicely!

Flight Review United Airlines Polaris Business Class Washington DC To Munich
After a Nice Breakfast, I Was Ready to Explore Munich for the Day!

About an hour later, the plane landed on time, and I was off to explore Munich!

You Can Do It, Too!

It’s easy to earn United Airlines miles with sign-up bonuses and spending on credit cards.

You can earn United Airlines miles directly with cards like:

And because United Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to United Airlines when you have one of these cards:

Keep in mind, if you have the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, or Chase Ink Business Cash cards, you must combine points with one of the cards listed above to transfer to United Airlines.

Bottom Line

I had a good experience flying from Washington, DC, to Munich in United Airlines Polaris Business Class!  The service and amenities were excellent, though the seat itself is still the old United Airlines Business First seat, not the newly renovated Polaris seat.

I was able to book the flight on United Airlines’ website for only 57,500 United Airlines miles plus ~$81 in fees.  But the price slightly increased after November 1, 2017, and a Business Class Saver award ticket to Europe now costs 60,000 United Airlines miles.

Have you flown United Airlines Polaris Business Class?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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