United Closes Polaris First Class Bookings Beginning Mid-2018
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As part of United’s rollout of the new Polaris business-class product, the airline is slowing phasing out its international first-class cabin, which is still available on the 747-400 and select 777-200s and 767-300s. Those latter aircraft types are in the process of getting the new Polaris seats, and United’s removing first class at the same time. Meanwhile, the 747s are gradually being retired — the final plane is expected to operate its last scheduled flight at the end of October.
Well, as discovered by @Airlineroute and confirmed to me by United reps, the next stage of this process is now underway, with UA suspending sales of international first class for travel beginning May 1, 2018.
Here’s the official statement from United:
As we work to retrofit our international wide body aircraft, we are identifying which markets will have the United Polaris First offering after May 1, 2018. While we are not currently selling United Polaris First seats for travel after May 1, we anticipate making those seats available for sale in select markets in the future.
So, while international first class is currently unavailable for system-wide travel on or after May 1, it could (temporarily) return to some routes in the future. For now, however, you’ll see first class (F and A fare class) “zeroed out” beginning May 1, 2018:
And while it would be ideal for United to have completed the process of adding the new Polaris seats to all of its international 777s and 767s by May 1, 2018, it’s likely that we’ll see the below 3-cabin configuration fly for some time to come.
Fortunately, the new 777-300ER offers even more premium-cabin seats, though — and while we haven’t seen a retrofitted 777-200 seat map, those planes should have around 50 business-class seats, theoretically offering a comparable number of upgrade and award options (though with an anticipated 3-4-3 economy cabin, there will be more upgrading coach passengers to compete with, too).
While United’s international first-class experience doesn’t differ much from biz (and actually represents a step down from business class on flights with United’s new Polaris seats), this cabin typically offers better Saver award availability than business class, and gives non-revenue travelers (employees and their family/friends) a decent chance at scoring a lie-flat seat on long-haul flights, given that first class rarely sells out on int’l United flights.
That said, the new Polaris business-class seat offers far more privacy, and while it’s a bit tighter, personally I’d happily choose business class on the 777-300ER over first class on the 777-200 or 747-400 any day.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees