The first United 787 refurbished with Polaris is entering service Wednesday

Jan 8, 2020

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.

The first United 787 retrofit with Polaris business class entered service Wednesday, when it was scheduled to fly a redeye from San Francisco to Washington Dulles.

A check of the United site showed that flight UA1912, scheduled to leave SFO at 11pm and arrive at IAD Thursday morning at 6:47, was operated by the first United 787-8 refurbished with the new all-aisle-access Polaris. But that flight went awry when a malfunction forced the plane to return to San Francisco shortly after takeoff. The 787 landed safely. United said that it had suffered a cracked windshield.The retrofit 787 is now scheduled to fly from SFO to Osaka, Japan, on Friday.

The entry into service of the refurbished 787-8 is a major step in United’s plan to bring all of its 777 and 787 long-haul fleet up to the most recent standards, replacing biz seats that are mostly the same as those introduced by Continental in 2009. The airline operates all models of the 787: the base -8 version, the stretched -9 which serves ultra-long-range flights, and the still even more stretched 787-10, which trades range for capacity and serves mostly European hubs. United’s 787-10s come from the factory with the new Polaris, but 787-8 and 787-9 models still have the old biz class in 2-2-2 layout without aisle access for all seats.       

The seat map for the flight shows 28 Polaris seats. The older version of the 787-8 had 36 biz seats, meaning your chance of an upgrade on the retrofit jets  goes down by about 22% — but into much better seats. United 1912, by the way, is sold out Wednesday. 

Behind Polaris, there’s another new addition: three rows of Premium Plus, United’s true premium economy, for a total of 21 seats in a 2-3-2 layout. Then there are 158 standard coach seats in the usual 3-3-3 configuration.

Back in July, United had said it expected the first retrofitted 787-8 to enter service in December 2019; the airline is just a week late on that schedule. The first refurbished 787-9 is expected to enter service early this year as well.

United will soon offer its 1-2-1 Polaris seats across the 787 fleet. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
1-2-1 Polaris seats on the 787-10 (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The new Polaris is, even at a glance, clearly a vast improvement over the existing product.

United 787-8 Business Class (Photo by Zach Honig / TPG)
United 787-8 Business Class (Photo by Zach Honig / TPG)

Flight-tracking site FlightRadar24 shows that the plane operating Wednesday’s flight, registered N27908, spent more than three months in Xiamen, China, between October and January. That’s a time frame consistent with heavy maintenance, during which the new biz seats were also installed. According to the site, the plane is now scheduled to fly from San Francisco to Osaka on Friday as flight UA35.

Zach Griff contributed reporting for this story. The story has been amended first to reflect a change in the plane’s schedule by United Airlines, and then to include that the plane had suffered a mishap and was taken out of service.   

Featured photo of a United 787-8 by Zach Honig/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.