Amenity Kit Faceoff: United Polaris First Class vs. Business Class

Dec 6, 2016

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United Polaris launched on Thursday, with a world-class lounge, refreshed catering, significantly improved bedding and two brand-new amenity kits: one for business class and another (slightly larger) kit for first class. Now that I’ve had a chance to review both Polaris products, I wanted to do a deeper dive into the amenity kits, since I know there’s a lot of interest.

So let’s dig right in…

First Class

Both amenity kits are presented in a sealed plastic bag — the first-class kit is a tan color, while the biz kit is blue. Note the “global first” branding, which has since been eliminated (presumably after this batch of kits was manufactured).

United Polaris First Review

Inside, you’ll find amenities organized into four different compartments.

United Polaris First Review

Here’s how the contents break down:

  • Sleep: an eye mask, earplugs and a Do Not Disturb sticker
  • Rest: tissues and Polaris-themed disposable socks
  • Relax: Cowshed products, including hand cream, moisturizer, lip balm, pillow mist, a towelette and eye balm
  • Refresh: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss stick, mouthwash, breath mints, comb, glasses wipe and hand sanitizer
  • Center: a plastic United pen

United Polaris First Review

Business Class

As you can see, the business-class kit is noticeably smaller than its first-class equivalent. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

United Polaris First Review

You’ll find the same compartments inside the business-class kit, though a few items are missing.

United Polaris First Review

And here’s what you get in the business-class kit (strikethrough items are only available in first class):

  • Sleep: an eye mask, earplugs and a Do Not Disturb sticker
  • Rest: tissues and Polaris-themed disposable socks
  • Relax: Cowshed products, including hand cream, moisturizer, lip balm, pillow mist, a towelette and eye balm
  • Refresh: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss stick, mouthwash, breath mints, comb, glasses wipe and hand sanitizer
  • Center: a plastic United pen

United Polaris First Review

Pajamas

More exciting than the amenity kits (in my opinion) are United’s new pajamas, which are identical in both cabins. Note that these are only available on flights 12 hours or longer (even if only one direction is 12+ hours, both legs will have pajamas). There aren’t enough pajamas for every passenger to get a set, so be sure to ask for them right away. Note that two sizes are available: small/medium and large/extra large.

United Polaris First Review

The pajama set includes a top and bottom — they’re very soft and comfortable. They’re also quite thin, which I actually prefer, since they’re easy to transport and won’t keep you too warm during the flight.

United Polaris First Review

Bottom Line

In most cases a United Polaris first-class ticket will cost thousands of dollars more than business class — for example, a round-trip business-class ticket between Newark and Frankfurt starts at $2,450, while first class starts at a whopping $9,450 round-trip. That’s nearly four times the price! Given that massive price discrepancy, you’d expect a far superior product in first class — yes, even down to the amenity kit. For example, Lufthansa offers fancy Rimowa kits for first class, and much more basic Samsonite kits in biz.

United Polaris First Review

Instead, United’s offering only almost indistinguishable improvements in its first-class kit — a couple extra packets of hand sanitizer, a Cowshed moisturizer (plus an eye balm), mouthwash and an eyeglass cleaning cloth. The kit’s also larger and has a more significant zipper, but that ultimately just means it’s going to take up more room in your bag. Given the choice, I’d actually opt for the business-class kit, since it’s more compact.

While pajamas are a huge perk, in my opinion, even though they’re only available on a handful of routes, United’s new amenity kits aren’t anything to get too excited about — although they are among the more comprehensive out there, especially when compared to business-class kits on international airlines.

What do you think of United’s new amenity kits?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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