Amazing sleep in the sky: United ups the ante in business class with all new Polaris amenities

by James Wilkinson

United has announced the largest upgrade to its United Polaris international business class experience in seven years, debuting new in-airport and onboard amenities from Therabody and Saks Fifth Avenue.

So far this year, the airline’s international bookings are up 20% overall compared to 2022 and customers are booking premium cabin seats – United Polaris and United Premium Plus – 30% more than last year.

“International travel is booming and our customers have direct access to more places around the globe than any other airline – with these new amenities, now they’ll also have the best experience flying there,” said United Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Nocella.

“We know amenities can really elevate the overall flying experience and are confident United Polaris flyers will love the new wellness-focused offerings created with our best-in-class partners Therabody and Saks Fifth Avenue and increased focus on sourcing recycled materials.”

According to a recent survey, 83% of international travelers say catching up on sleep is important on a flight, and 61% book flights with sleep in mind.

Many international travelers say that getting good sleep is more important than most aspects of the inflight experience; 66% say sleep on a flight is more important than having access to Wi-Fi, 74% say it’s more important than bingeing their favorite shows and 61% say it’s more important than the beverage service.

The new Therabody offerings include an onboard amenity kit that features an eye serum, face spray, hand cream and cleansing towelette exclusive to United customers, as well as access to the award-winning Therabody devices like the Lounger, Theragun and RecoveryAir JetBoots in United Polaris lounges and inflight wellness videos on the airline’s Inflight Entertainment screens.

The new Saks Fifth Avenue bedding includes select items that are made with recycled plastic, aligned with United’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact, and feature a new limited-edition day blanket from fashion designer Claude Kameni, who was named as one of the most influential Black designers to watch in 2023.

United is adding these new amenities as demand for international travel surges and the carrier continues to expand its role as the largest airline across both the Atlantic and Pacific.

United’s Therabody collaboration includes wellness products across the entire travel experience – in United Polaris lounges, onboard United Polaris business class and online for United MileagePlus members to earn miles on purchases.

Onboard, customers can experience a new amenity kit that features exclusive TheraFace skincare products that are designed to help passengers feel refreshed upon landing.

Tucked inside a reusable belt bag made with recycled plastic, customers will find:

TheraFace eye serum: United is the only U.S. airline that offers an eye serum in its amenity kit. Crafted with ingredients like niacinamide, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin B5 and allantoin, the serum helps reduce puffiness, enhance hydration, soothe the delicate eye area and improve the skin’s barrier function.

TheraFace face spray: Formulated to help soothe, hydrate and protect the skin, this spray features hyaluronic acid, Vitamin B5, calendula flower extract, aloe leaf juice and glycerin.

TheraFace cleansing towelette: Wipe-off the travel day without drying the skin thanks to ingredients like Vitamin B5 and E, calendula flower extract, aloe leaf juice and glycerin.

TheraFace hand cream: Avoid dreaded dry hands thanks to ingredients like niacinamide, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, sweet almond oil and Vitamin B5. Both the hand cream and face spray are available in the onboard lavatories as well.

The must-haves: The kit also includes go-to amenities for arriving refreshed, including a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, socks and a pen.

Customers can also access free wellness videos onboard from Therabody’s team of experts. The videos are tailored for passengers looking to incorporate simple, effective wellness practices into their trip, like movement, breathwork and guided meditations that support relaxation and sleep.

At the airport, Therabody’s Reset Suites are scheduled to open this fall at all United Polaris lounges, starting with New York/Newark and San Francisco lounges late October and followed-by Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles.

It is anticipated that every lounge will offer at least one semi-private room each outfitted with Therabody wellness technology, including one Therabody Lounger, which combines sound and vibration therapy for full body relaxation.

Additional amenities available through lounge valets include the Theragun and RecoveryAir JetBoots to support circulation, lymphatic drainage and muscle recovery and aid in decreased swelling and stiffness, plus SmartGoggles to help customers feel more relaxed.

The TheraFace skin and body care products are also available in the United Polaris lounge restrooms and showers.

Passengers can now enjoy the signature United Polaris lie-flat seats under refreshed Saks Fifth Avenue bedding that features a modern design and select items made with recycled plastic.

Large pillow and duvet…and an extra cool gel pillow – United Polaris is the only U.S. business class cabin that provides two pillows per person and the only airline to offer a cool gel pillow.

Limited-edition day blanket – Featuring a pattern by fashion designer Claude Kameni and made from 100% recycled plastic, the day blanket offers additional warmth and comfort. Kameni is a self-taught, Cameroon-native designer who won a competition to design the new United Airlines x Saks Fifth Avenue day blanket, as part of Saks’ designer accelerator program, The New Wave.

The design reflects Claude’s sharp eye for patterns and colors and Saks’ fashion-forward point of view, in addition to the modern United brand experience. The limited-edition blanket will be available through early 2024.

United is in the midst of an ongoing journey to elevate the Polaris food and beverage offerings onboard. So far this year, United added more than 20 new wine, beer and liquor brands to its menu, including award-winning brands like Whispering Angel, Groth, Caymus Mer Soleil and Tito’s, and will introduce additional brands later this year including JUSTIN Justification and Bell’s.

United also brought back customer favorites like the ice cream sundae cart in February, added an appetizer service and introduced nearly 100 new menu items across all cabins and routes. Customers can also see onboard menus in advance of their flight via the United app and website and pre-order their meal of choice.

United is the flag carrier of the United States, serving more than 130 international destinations this year. Across both the Atlantic and Pacific, United serves more destinations than all U.S. carriers combined.

Earlier this year, United announced the largest South Pacific network expansion in aviation history – growing its flying between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand by more than 40% this winter compared to 2022.

With 66 weekly flights to Australia and New Zealand, United will have more flights and serve more destinations in the region from the U.S. than any other carrier in the world.

Overall, excluding mainland China flying, United’s transpacific network will be 50% larger than all other U.S. airlines combined this winter.

Later this year, United will resume service to Beijing for the first time since 2020 and launch flights to two brand-new Transpacific destinations: Manila, Philippines and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Since 2017, the airline added more than 30 new routes and 15 new destinations across the Atlantic and is the only airline to provide non-stop flying from the U.S. to cities including Malaga, Dubrovnik, Mallorca and Tenerife. United extended several seasonal markets this fall including New York/Newark to Athens and Washington Dulles to Rome and will operate a second daily frequency from New York/Newark to Delhi this winter.

United also continues to grow its network in Latin America – the airline is 10% larger in Latin America than it was pre-pandemic and is currently the largest carrier between the U.S. and Central America.

The new Therabody and Saks Fifth Avenue amenities join a line-up of luxury offerings that make United Polaris the “best sleep in the sky”, according to the carrier.

At the airport, travelers enjoy complimentary access to the United Polaris lounge that features spa-like shower facilities, private bathrooms, a bar and a la cart dining, plus priority service with Premier Access and free checked luggage.

Onboard, passengers get comfortable in their own, individual pod with a lie-flat seat big enough to stretch-out and enjoy 16-inch seatback screens with noise reducing headphones and regularly updated content options, unlimited beverages, multi-course inflight dining and lavatories available only to United Polaris passengers.