Review: United Airlines First Class B777-2 Polaris, Honolulu – San Francisco


An overnight flight back from Hawaii often requires scrunching yourself up in an uncomfortable seat until the morning flight. We were lucky to have found a deeply discounted business class fare that would allow us to return to the mainland in a fully flat bed. Our experience in a United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat would have us travelling back home in style.

This post is one chapter on our trip during the pandemic to Honolulu Oahu, Hawaii, United States. This trip was redeemed through Marriott Bonvoy and further enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: United Airlines First Class B777-2 Polaris, Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport – San Francisco International Airport

This review is of our returning flight on United Airlines First Class Honolulu – San Francisco. For our inbound flight, please see our review of United Airlines First Class San Francisco – Honolulu. This was a paid flight which we credited to Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flier program.

After leaving the United Club Lounge – Honolulu, we headed downstairs to join the queue for boarding group one. There were at least 15 in the queue at boarding group one. United Airlines seems to have stacks of people in the first category.

Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Boarding Gate
Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Boarding Gate

When boarding got underway, we had the pleasure of double jet bridge boarding today. We climbed on board and I settled into 3L.

United Airlines
First Class (P)
HNL-SFO (Honolulu – San Francisco)
UA 1509
October 9, 2021
Booked: Boeing 777-200 (Polaris)
Flown: Boeing 777-200 (Polaris)
Departure: 10:17 PM
Arrival: 6:25 AM + 1

On Board United Airlines First Class (Polaris):

I located my seat in United Airlines First Class on their Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Today’s flight was operated by a Boeing 777-200 in their United Polaris Business class offering. Although the flight was not branded and marketed as Polaris Business, it featured their international business class seat and product.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat – Boeing 777-200
United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat – Boeing 777-200

United Airlines Polaris Business Class offers a 1 – 2 – 1 configuration in a full flat seat with every seat having direct aisle access. The United Polaris blue colouring is still pretty pleasing to the eye. The cabin is also private since the seats have high walls that prevent you from seeing into other cabins, unless you happen to be standing over top of them.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat – Boeing 777-200
United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat – Boeing 777-200
United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat – Boeing 777-200

While seated in the seat, you’ve got access to a wide range of power. The power options include USB charging, North American and European power plugs. There is also a wired remote nearby for controlling the entertainment system.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class Seat – Boeing 777-200 – In Seat Power and Wired Remote

Immediately next to the seat is a small space suitable for temporary storage of laptops or other items while travelling. There is also a small reading light over the shoulder.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class – Seat Countertops
United Airlines Polaris Business Class – In Seat Reading Light

While seated in the seat, there is a large television monitor for entertainment purposes. Underneath the monitor was a small spot for smart phones and perhaps a wallet.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class – Television Monitors

A footstool was also located underneath the screen console. The console also offered USB connectivity with a mild charging function.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class – In Seat Foot Space
United Airlines Polaris Business Class – In Seat USB Power

The seat functions were controlled through a thin sleeve of controls loaded on the side of the suite.

United Airlines Polaris Business Class – Seat Controls
United Airlines Polaris Business Class – Magazine Storage
United Airlines Polaris Business Class – Cupboard Storage

Pre Departure Services:

There was no pre-departure beverage service, which I thought was pretty weak for such a large carrier for a five hour flight. Waiting on the seat were a Saks Fifth Avenue pillow that was on the seat unwrapped, and a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket that was wrapped in plastic wrap.

Sak’s Fifth Avenue Billows and Blankets

The crew passed through the cabin to collect the plastic wraps of the blankets.

Amenity Kits:

A simple amenity kit was provided to travellers. It was provided in a zip loc styled plastic bag in quite a low rent touch. The kit contained ear plugs, an eye shade and and some Colgate toothpaste.

While the amenity kit wasn’t all to aspirational, it fell into the category of better than nothing.

Departing Honolulu:

Before we got underway, we had a public address from the Captain. The Captain announced a flight time of 4 hrs and 41 minutes from Honolulu to San Francisco.

Trying to Listen to Channel 9

I attempted to listen to the awesome Channel Nine which allows you to eavesdrop on the air traffic control tower to plane conversations but they didn’t have it activated.

As we taxied out to the coral runway, we passed several US Air Force F35 sitting under bright canopy lights at Pearl Harbour Hickam Air Force Base. It was pretty cool to see $78 million dollar sitting around waiting to go.

From the Flight Deck

As we underwent a taxi, the in flight safety video played. The United Airlines in flight video featured safety features set across a variety of scenes, including golf courses.

New England Photographs

In Flight Entertainment:

After the inflight video concluded, I played around with the in flight entertainment system. The United Airlines Polaris Business class offers a wide variety of movies, televisions and other things to watch. There were more than enough Hollywood movies to keep you entertained.

In addition to movies, there was also a flight screen which charted out the status of the flight.

Flight Information: Honolulu to San Francisco
Flight Track Information: Honolulu to San Francisco

We departed without any wait and got underway to San Francisco pretty quickly.

The Meal: Dinner Served all at Once.

After we arrived to a regular cruising altitude, the meal service started.

The choices for dinner were a Chicken Katsu with Steamed Rice and Brocolini or Pineapple Fried Rice. I went with the Chicken Katsu and a Bombay Sapphire Gin and Seagrams Tonic to go along with it.

The food was served promptly and presented all at once, which is always appreciated during a night time flight. They presented a double round of the drinks; which was a nice touch.

United First Class Meal Service
Green Salad with Balsamic Dressing, Chicken Katsu and Hawaiian Host Chocolates

In addition to the main course, there was a Green Salad with Balsamic Dressing, along with mixed nuts and a warmed roll served along side it on the tray. For dessert, there was a wrapped regional Hawaiian Host Aloha Macs and a small Dasani water on the tray.

Chicken Katsu with Steamed Rice and Broccolini

The Chicken Katsu was pretty tasty and the gravy was a nice touch. While I don’t expect much from a late night meal, this one was right on the money. It was filling without being too heavy, light with the rice and the broccolini was an upscale touch when broccoli is usually expected. The Hawaiian Host was a nice regional touch. Dinner was also cleared promptly, concluding the meal service.

Lying Flat in United Polaris Seats:

After dinner service, I attempted two Relax and Sleep pills to make the most of the remaining 3 hours of flight time. I reclined the seat and attempted to rest.

The seat cavity was small for a side sleeper like myself. While the seat had a well designed foot / shoe compartment, the surface area is quite tiny for a large 6ft 2 inch person like myself.

Setting up a United First Class Polaris Seat

As a side sleeper, I often found my knees bumping into the fuselage or the passageway wall that led to the aisle. The GE engines were louder than I remember; either that or I am older than I remember and as a result, it was harder for me to crash out and get any real sleep.

I also found that the Saks Fifth Avenue Blanket was quite linty and electrostatic-y. The pillow was quite comfortable but a bit soft for my tastes. Either way, it was an interesting way to remember Saks Fifth Avenue with lint spread all over your clothes.

Arriving into San Francisco:

I rested until the flight announcement that we were 20 minutes from landing at SFO. There was no second meal or snack service, unlike during our flight out.

We had an easy arrival into San Francisco International Airport. We killed off a four hour connection at the United Club Lounge San Francisco, prior to our United Airlines Business Class San Francisco – Vancouver flight.

Our Flight Track from Hawaii to the Mainland United States
Concluding our Flight: About 2393 miles travelled

After touching down at San Francisco, we navigated through the United Polaris cabin, getting off at door 2L

We were off before we knew it and into San Francisco terminal. We would later connect onwards to United Airlines Business Class San Fransisco – Vancouver for our final flight of the trip.

My Thoughts on United First Class (Polaris) from Hawaii to Mainland:

Overall, the United Airlines First Class (Polaris) is an excellent way to get too and from Hawaii. The ability to have a flat bed when most other carriers have a recliner seat is an advantage that is hard to pass up. Having access to plain but reasonable lounges throughout your journey is also an added bonus.  The large highlight was the food catering, which was better than expected.

If you travel between the mainland and the Hawaiian Islands, do you actively search out flight with fully flat seats ?

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