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United launched its refreshed Polaris business class in December 2016, but the new seats didn’t actually begin flying until last year. Since then, passengers have experienced a mix of seats and pre-departure experiences, as various aircraft slowly make it through the retrofit process, and United works to expand its small network of Polaris Lounges. It’s no surprise, then, that customers tend to get pretty excited anytime the airline adds its fancy new plane to an existing route.
As Point Me to the Plane notes, United has once again done just that, assigning the 777-300ER to one of its longest routes, between Newark Airport (EWR) and Mumbai, India (BOM). The airline’s largest aircraft will replace the smaller Boeing 777-200ER beginning on October 27, 2018.
Fares don’t seem to be impacted by the change, though they’ve always been very high, assuming you’re flying nonstop from the New York City area to Mumbai. A round-trip in Polaris business class can cost as much as $10,000, for example, if you’re planning to stay less than a week. Extending your trip to 10 days or more will drop the fare to $4,000 round-trip. Economy fares are considerably cheaper, starting around $850 round-trip.
Paid business fares drop considerably if you’re willing to begin travel in Washington, DC (IAD). The same 777-300ER flight from Newark can be booked for just $3,089 in business class if you fly from IAD and connect in EWR, rather than book a nonstop itinerary from Newark Airport.
While economy saver awards are often available for 42,500 United miles each way, saver business-class awards are virtually impossible to come by on this nonstop route. I’ve found that upgrade space can be tricky to lock in as well, though there’s always a chance a waitlisted upgrade will clear closer to departure based on availability.
Point Me to the Plane noticed some other modifications as well — United’s flights from San Francisco (SFO) to Taipei (TPE) and Tokyo Narita (NRT) will move from a 777-300ER to a 777-200ER, likely with the new two-cabin Polaris configuration and 3-4-3 economy seating. Additionally, SFO to Tel Aviv (TLV) will jump from the -300ER to a 787-9 Dreamliner with the old 2-2-2 business-class seats, but a slightly roomier 3-3-3 configuration in coach. All of these changes are scheduled for October 27, the same day the 777-300ER launches to Mumbai.
Know before you go.
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