United Further Limits Polaris Business Lounge Access
United's Polaris Lounge is fan-tastic. It's so much better than the carrier's other airport hangouts that customers go far out of their way to try to get in. One such not-so-under-the-radar method was to book a cheap business-class fare on Air Canada for $300 just for a chance to try out the lounge. Following Friday's access policy change, those customers are out of luck.
Overcrowding was likely to blame for the change — an expansion is currently underway — but it was never the airline's intention to allow access to short-haul customers. It just took a bit longer than anticipated to make this change. I wouldn't expect those customers to have access to the other (yet-to-open) Polaris Lounges, either, unless they're traveling in long-haul business class.
As of today, customers traveling in the following cabins can access the Polaris Lounge:
- United Polaris first class (with one guest)
- United Polaris business class
- Star Alliance long-haul first class (with one guest)
- Star Alliance long-haul business class
If you're traveling between the US and Canada, Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean you won't have access — you'll be able to use Chicago O'Hare's United Clubs, instead.
Given the overcrowding issues at the O'Hare Polaris Lounge, this change was inevitable. Fortunately, United is also working to expand the lounge's footprint — once complete, it will measure 16,292 square feet and offer 277 seats, up from the 12,782 square feet and 204 seats available today.