United’s Next Polaris Lounge Will Open in 2018

Jul 10, 2017

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Most travelers passing through a United Airlines-operated airport lounge will visit a United Club. Some of the newer lounges are great, but others are forgettable at best.

But the carrier also offers an entirely different caliber of airport lounge, called the “Polaris Lounge.” Eventually, these will be available in a total of nine airports around the world, but for now, just one is ready to welcome guests, at Chicago O’Hare’s (ORD) Terminal 1. And, unfortunately, that’s the way it’ll stay for the rest of 2017.

That’s not what we expected, though — back at the Chicago lounge opening, United suggested that Polaris Lounges in Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) should be open by the middle of this year, with Dulles (IAD) and Los Angeles (LAX) opening in late-2017 and Hong Kong (HKG), London (LHR) and Tokyo (NRT) either late this year or early 2018.

During a visit to a United Club at Newark last month, it became clear that things were running a bit behind schedule:

And now we know just how far behind…

According to United’s “Polaris Tracker” (and confirmed by airline reps), there won’t be any lounges opening in 2017 at all. Newark and San Francisco will still be next, but those won’t open until “early 2018,” along with the new Polaris Lounge in London.

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Houston, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Washington, D.C. will now follow later in 2018, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some openings to get pushed back further — into 2019, perhaps. That’s not great news.

All of United’s announced 777-300ER routes will have begun long before the next Polaris Lounge opens up — none of which include service from Chicago, of course. So while you could route through Chicago to score some time in the lounge, note that you won’t end up flying the new seat — in fact, in many cases, you’ll end up in United’s oldest business-class seat, with a 2-4-2 arrangement on the 777-200.

See these posts for more on the United Polaris Club:

Will United’s Polaris Lounge delay impact your travel plans?

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