United: That Fancy New Bedding Needs to Stay on the Plane

Feb 3, 2017

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As you may already be aware, United recently launched a refreshed in-flight premium-cabin product called “Polaris,” including new and improved food and beverage options, redesigned amenity kits and some fantastic Saks Fifth Avenue bedding.

I reviewed the new first class and business class “soft” products back in December, and now UA is gearing up to launch a brand new seat on its 777-300ER later this month — first on the Newark-San Francisco route on February 16 and followed shortly by San Francisco-Hong Kong on March 25. All long-haul international flights now have the new bedding, though, and it seems that United’s new amenities are even more popular than the airline originally anticipated — according to a report on Live and Let’s Fly, passengers are taking some of these new items home, prompting the airline to send the following memo to flight attendants:

Our customers are continuing to enjoy United Polaris service, in particular our new high-quality bedding designed by Saks Fifth Avenue. However, recently we’ve noticed some confusion about which amenities may be taken off the plane at the end of the flight. We’d like to take this opportunity to clarify the policy regarding our new bedding and ask for your help to ensure its safekeeping on board the aircraft.

You can share with customers that all pillows and blankets are to be left on the aircraft at the end of each flight, including the cooling gel memory foam pillow. Even if only a small number of these items are taken off each flight, that can quickly add up to millions of dollars across our network over the course of a year. To help ensure we are able to continue offering these high-quality products, it’s important to remind customers that these items remain on board the aircraft after every flight. We will begin communicating this policy on board soon.

We launder and re-board pillows and blankets for several cycles before the product naturally degrades from wear and tear, and we replace it.

Of course, all United Polaris customers are welcome to take their amenity kits featuring Cowshed products with them at the end of the flight. Slippers and pajamas — on flights where they are offered — are also available for customers to take with them.

We are exploring offering certain amenities for sale on the United Shop in the future.

While there recently was an opportunity to own select “leave behind” items for the very reasonable cost of 250 miles (I’m now the proud owner of an airline-seat-sized mattress cover), those items have since sold out — there is still time to bid on a chance to join the first 777-300ER Polaris flight on February 13, and I suppose it’s possible that UA may send you home with some goodies there! But if you’re traveling in Polaris business or first on a regularly scheduled United flight, there are definitely some items that you’ll need to leave on board. While you might assume, say, a Saks-branded plush duvet shouldn’t magically find its way into your carry-on, we’ll help clear things up below.

Items You Can Take Home

The amenity kit (and its contents):


Parting gifts of boxed chocolate:

And even the Polaris teddy bear (if you happen to receive one):

Items You Must Leave Behind

The comforter and throw blanket:

Pillows (but you can keep the slippers!):

The amazing new gel-cooled pillow:


Glasses, plates, bowls and silverware:

Galley carts and serving trays/utensils:

Bottom Line

United’s new in-flight amenities are arguably some of the best in the biz, so it’s understandable that you want to make that “airplane blanket” your “forever blanket,” instead. However, as the airline points out in its note to flight attendants, the cost of replacing these items can quickly add up, and UA will need to recoup that extra expense. So, to make sure Polaris passengers can enjoy these new pillows, blankets and table settings for years to come, please only take home the items you’re entitled to.

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