United debuted their new Polaris lounge at Chicago O’Hare in the old club and first class lounge space at gate C18 a couple of months ago. This is a business (and first) class lounge. It is not a Star Alliance Gold lounge and not a United Club.
United Polaris Lounge Chicago, Credit: United
Australian Business Traveller laid out a timeline for Polaris lounge openings over the next 24 months which will bring the number of new business class lounges to 9 by the end of 2018.
- Newark – will open in stages, phase one in 2017 and phase two in 2018.
- San Francisco – will open in stages, phase one in 2017 and phase two in 2018.
The San Francisco Polaris lounge will be built in the footprint of the current United Club, just past the airport’s security screening zone, as well as the neighbouring Singapore Airlines and EVA Air lounges to create a massive split-level space which promises to be one of the largest Polaris lounges in United’s network.
- Los Angeles
- Hong Kong
- Tokyo Narita
- Washington Dulles
In November United had told me that Hong Kong and Tokyo would come before Los Angeles and that the London lounge opening might push into 2018.
United’s new business class lounges will feature preflight dining from a menu, brought to you anywhere in the club as well as a buffet. These are not Star Alliance Gold lounges and United Club members won’t have access (although partner airline business and first class customers will).
United CEO Oscar Munoz in front of a Polaris Lounge Mockup Bar
If you’re traveling through one of these airports with a Polaris lounge that’s been opened, but you don’t have access, fair warning that United says they’re cracking down on people buying refundable tickets just for lounge access and then cancelling their tickets once they’ve used the lounge. (They’re also forbidding business class customers from taking the blankets and pillows off the plane.)