Booking The Trip: Flying The Friendly Skies to India
Review: United Airlines 777-200 Transcontinental Economy Plus Los Angeles to Newark
Review: DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Newark Airport
Review: United Airlines 777-300ER Polaris Business Class Newark to Mumbai
Review: United Airlines 777-300ER Premium Plus Mumbai to Newark
Review: Pop Up United Club Lounge Concourse C, Gate C124
Review: United Club Lounge Concourse C, Gate C74
Review: United Airlines 787-10 Business Class Newark to San Francisco
United Polaris Business Class boards in group 1, where United Gold, Platinum, and Star Alliance Gold also board. It was a very very long line.
The polaris cabin on the 777-300ER is absolutely gigantic. There are 2 cabins. The first one has 8 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration and the second cabin has rows 9-18 in the same configuration. And on this route, one of United’s most profitable routes, all 60 seats reguarly sell out.
My seat was 5L for the 15-hour flight to Mumbai. It was a true window seat which is the best kind of seat you can ask for on this aircraft. Bear in mind on the window sides, even-numbered rows have seats that are easier to get into, but closer to the aisle and less private. But the odd-numbered rows like what I have here, are harder to get into, but they are significantly more private.
Already provided at the seat were a blanket, seat cover, gel cooling pillow, a thick plush pillow, and an amenity kit. Lots of things for sure for the long flight! Since this flight is over 12 hours, there’s PJs as well, but more on that later.
To the left side of the seat was a counter and a storage place for maybe a phone, passport, boarding pass, etc.
Right below that was a universal plug, a headphone jack, and a remote.
Sorry not sure why these next few pictures are blurry.
There was a light to the left by your head that could be activated for reading use.
Also to your side was a lamp.
There was also another pocket to the left of the seat.
Directly in front of the seat was a coat hook.
Right below the TV was a sort of storage area for iPads, laptops, phones, etc. It was a well-designed space if you ask.
Directly to the right of the little pocket is a USB port. So we have a universal power port to the left of you along the counter, and a USB port right in front.
Right below that was the foot cubby. Again, I’m not sure why this picture turned blurry. The food cubby is fairly small, except in bulkhead rows 1 and 9 where there is a larger cubby. As a matter of fact, for this reason, I would consider 1A/1L and 9A/9L to be the best seats on UA’s 777-300ER. 9L is my personal favorite seat.
To your right and along the window are all the master seat controls. There’s the knob that controls the recline, and then there’s the other bottons which are shortcuts to flatbed position, takeoff/landing, food, etc. They were fairly intuitive too which was nice.
Now remember the pile of things on my seat when I got there? Let’s see what they have for us.
The gel cooling pillow was truly magical and amazing to sleep on.
There was also a really plush pillow which went nice below the gel cooling pillow while sleeping.
There was a soft blanket
And there was also another so you don’t sleep directly on the seat but rather there’s a layer between you and your seat, which I think is great.
And here’s the amenity kit. Everything was Star Wars themed in anticipation of the upcoming Star Wars movie release.
Here are the contents. It was a fairly standard kit though anything I could really need for a flight was here: toothbrush and toothpaste so that I don’t have to use my own.
Oh boy now to the service. The crew on this flight were very efficient and well-intentioned, but this was probably the least personable crew I’ve ever had on United. Every single crew member I interacted with, no smiles at all from any of them. The only person with any smiles was the purser, but she was working the other aisle, unfortunately.
Anyways, I had gotten to my seat late, at which time pre-departure beverages were being collected.
As one of the crew members was walking by collecting drinks, she didn’t say a word to anyone and almost looked like she was frowning too. Frown at me all you want, but the person in front of me was Global Services and the left side was 1K status. By the time she came to my seat, I asked for sparkling water. She didn’t even say anything at all in response. She just looked at me and walked to the galley.
Eventually that crew member took away my glass later without another word. I wouldn’t see her again. Another male crew member came to check if I had my dinner order taken already. He was a lot nicer, well-intentioned, at least engaged in conversation, but again no smiles at all.
The menu is available at the seat when you board, but I’ll show you the menu right before the meal service so the options are fresher in memory.
Eventually, we pushed back and made our way to the end of runway 22R for departure.
We needed the full runway today as we were very heavy. What does that mean? Full runway and GE90s blasting at nearly max power and that was an enjoyable sound experience.
We had a long takeoff roll and a slow initial climb. The views were nice as usual.
Now let’s have a look at the menu for today’s flight.
Around 15 minutes after takeoff, the crew came around with hot towels. I personally like mine cooled so I always open them and let the heat escape before using it.
A few minutes later, the crew member set my table and as I said thank you, guess what he said? Yep, you guessed it! Nothing, he just walked away without saying a word.
Another 10 minutes later, the drink cart was rolled around the aisles. Crew asked for choice of drink and I went with sparkling water.
The nuts served were warm and tasty which was certainly nice.
After this, maybe 20 minutes went by while the crew first served special meals to passengers. On an India route, this was most certainly Indian vegetarian meals being served as they are highly popular on flights to/from India.
Soon after, the appetizer was all served on one tray.
There was a Thai lemongrass shrimp appetizer which was ok by itself, but quite nice with lime. Lemon/lime just makes everything better. The accompanying mango salad was nice and tangy.
The salad was dry and rubbery as ever in typical UA fashion. But the sesame ginger salad dressing which was served with this made it somewhat tasty and moist.
The garlic bread was warm and soft, and if those 2 conditions are met, it’s pure bliss.
As I was working through my appetizer the crew kept topping my sparkling water which was a gift and a curse.
Now the main course. So I had asked for the Lamb kofta, but when this was brought, I was confused. Then I realized they accidentally brought me the fish dish. It wasn’t a big deal, mistakes happen. It smelled incredible for the record, but I still didn’t want it.
So once the crew came back to serve the main dish to the person behind me, I told him I actually had asked for the lamb kofta. He just glared at me and said “I thought you ordered fish” and then sighs and walks back to the galley. When he came back, I even offered to lift the hot fish plate to make room for the lamb dish, but he just said “No, here, let me just put this down” and he literally dropped the plate from a little above the ground, took my fish, and walked back. Well then….
Now let’s talk about the Lamb kofta main. The lamb itself was nice and moist and flavorful, even though it looks like it came from a can. The bhendi (okra) was bland and unseasoned, but still enjoyable. The rice and daal with rice was decent.
Finally, after I was done. The crew came and said “Finished?” and took my plate and tray away.
And now its time for the highlight of the meal, the dessert cart.
We had a choice of cheese plate, ice cream, and sweet treats. The choice was clear. And even if you have a hard time deciding what to pick, always choose the ice cream. The reason is that the cheese plate and sweet treats display becomes a part of the mid-flight walk-up snack bar setup in the galley whereas the ice cream is packed away.
He asked what all I wanted in my ice cream and I chose the guiltiest of ingredients: chocolate fudge, caramel sauce, and whipped cream. Every bite was so good and so enjoyable.
After I was done, the crew took my bowl and cleaned up everything and I said thanks. He responded with “welcome!”. Now that’s a step forward!
Here’s a look at the forward Polaris cabin after hours.
I went to have a look at the snack bar set up to see what all there was. Oh boy I knew what I was raiding: the dessert sweet treats. The three treats were a pineapple cheesecake, an apple mini pie of sorts, and some chocolate toffee crunch bar. All 3 were soooo good and I had at least 4 of each.
But among other things, there were wines, fruits, chips, and cheese from the dessert course as well. There are a lot of options and they spread was displayed nicely.
Here’s a look at the cheese
Now it’s time for bed. It was an incredibly comfortable setup and this is easily the best business class bedding I have ever slept in. So well done to United for that.
Now PJs. They are available on flights over 12 hours and are amazingly soft and comfortable. The added benefit is that you also keep your clothes fresh. So I definitely used them and it was a great use.
I slept for a solid 5 hours before waking to use the restroom. I could’ve easily slept for more hours and that’s how comfortable it was, but I wanted to enjoy the daylight hours and work some. So I just decided to wake up and order from the midflight snack menu. The choices were grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup or chana masala. The former is on literally every Polaris flight so I wanted to try something particular to the region we were flying. I went with chana masala. I asked the crew member for it and he came to my seat and told me it would take 15 minutes to heat. In reality it took closer to 25. I think he forgot to serve it and it took me having to use the lavatory again and him seeing me to remember to bring it out. He also asked if I wanted anything to drink with it and I went with my standard hot water.
Now, as an Indian, I can tell you this is not chana masala and United has a funny interpretation, but it was quite flavorful and I enjoyed it…whatever it was.
I was also treated to views for the rest of the flight.
Eventually, the sunset as we flew over Iraq, avoiding Iranian airspace due to the missile attacks.
Here’s another look at the forward Polaris cabin from the front.
I have to give all the crew members credit for being proactively checking on the passengers throughout the flight.
Now about an hour and a half before landing, the second meal service began. It started with another round of hot towels.
Now here’s the breakfast I had. Yes, you heard right, breakfast is served at 7:30 PM before arrival into Mumbai.
The omlette was fairly good, had a nice herbed cheese filling and seasoning which was really good. The potatoes were a little too salty but still fairly enjoyable. The sausage was your standard freezer breakfast sausage.
The fruits were very fresh and juicy.
The croissant was warm and soft.
The chobani yogurt was sweet as expected and I always only consume a bite as a result.
All in all, it was a good pre-arrival meal, although weirdly timed.
After this, the crew began to prep for arrival and the lavatories became super crowded as passengers wanted to change out of the pajamas back into normal clothes.
From there, it was a hazy descent into Mumbai all the way down.
And we finally touched down.
We taxiied by a British airways 777-200.
And then parked next to a Saudia 77W.
Overall, this was a great flight. The seat was great even if it can be a little cramped for some, the food was great, the amenities are sufficient, the bedding was beyond exceptional. The only issues are that there’s so much bedding and virtually no convenient storage space. I just shove things overhead until I need them. The other issue was that the crew were absolutely impersonal on today’s flight. This isn’t always the case as I’ve had some of the best crews ever on United, unfortunately this flight didn’t have that. Would I recommend Polaris to anyone who is considering it? Absolutely!