people sitting in a lounge area with a plane in the background

Lounge Review: United Airlines Polaris Business Class – ORD

The United Airlines Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) was the first of their newly redesigned network of Business Class lounges to open. This review post is an aggregate of several visits (since Chicago is Coworkaholic HQ). We’ve covered a bunch of other news and reviews on United Polaris Business Class.

United Polaris Business Class: Redesigned from “Ahh to Zzz”

Polaris, named after the North Star, is United Airlines‘ totally redesigned business class product. No element of the experience has been left untouched. United’s brand new lounges offer showers, nap rooms, a full service dining room and laundry services. In-flight, all seats have direct aisle access and passengers enjoy wine paired menus, Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, Cowshed amenities and on some routes, even pajamas.

As a former advertising executive, I get it…you need to build buzz around a new product. December of last year, with great fanfare mind you, United Airlines began promotion for their “totally redesigned from ‘Ahh to Zzz’ business class product”.

Ok, so it’s not like flipping a switch and delays happen. Unfortunately there have been many delays for United’s rollout of both the airplane experience and the lounges. (They’ve since stepped it up. Curious as to their progress? Check out their tracker.)

As of this blog post, I have not yet experienced the “new” Polaris in the air (Update: I finally did…) but being based out of ORD has finally delivered a perk: getting a chance to use the first Polaris lounge.

United Polaris Lounge ORD – Fall 2017

Here’s some of the food and beverage options from my visit in the Fall of 2017:

United Polaris Lounge ORD – Fall 2018

With some tweaks to menu design and updates of their wine list and seasonal items, here’s some of the food and beverage options from a visit in Fall 2018:

Final Take

The Polaris Lounge in ORD has some unique characteristics that have provided United with lessons on how to improve future locations. The biggest miss was a beautifully designed restroom hallway with a starry sky ceiling. The problem? It’s so dark, you can’t see which restrooms are vacant or occupied. There are now lights (red and green) on all doors at the rest of the locations.

They’ve also already announced an expansion of this location and have adjusted entry requirements to lessen the crowded feel, especially in the late afternoon. The workstations provided more of a “workspace” but trays appear to be too heavy and/or poorly designed. They have since been redesigned them as reflected in our visits to the EWR and LAX locations.

Lastly, it’s perfectly located smack dab in the middle of Terminal 1’s Concourse C as long as you’re flying on United. If you’re flying in business class on any Star Alliance partner you have access to this lounge, but if they aren’t ANA or Lufthansa, you’ll need to be sure to have at least 30 min to transfer to Terminal 5 for any other carrier. This also requires you to process through security…again.

All in all…this lounge ranks right up there with any other Star Alliance partner business class lounge. It’s nice to experience a US based carrier providing a level of service and food & beverage options more on par with industry standards. Best of all? I can finally get a shower at ORD

The post Review: United Airlines Polaris Business Class Lounge – ORD was first published on Coworkaholic.

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