A First Glimpse Of United Polaris From Newark-Tel Aviv

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As I reported a few months ago, United started flying their brand new 777-300ER (77W) airplanes on one of their 2 daily flights between Newark and Tel Aviv less than a week ago.

The afternoon flight is still operated by a pre-merger Continental 777-200 (772) aircraft with subsidiary Continental crew members, but the evening flight is operated by the 77W with subsidiary United crew members.

DDF member Moishebatchy and his wife were booked to fly on United from Newark to Zurich last night and then on Swiss from Zurich to Tel Aviv.

There was no business class availability with miles, so he used “hybrid points,” which is an excellent way to get to Tel Aviv in coach or business class. Traditional airline mileage seats are very hard to find on Tel Aviv routes and awards are expensive. Paid coach and business class tickets are relatively inexpensive, making Hybrid points a good deal.

Luckily for Moishebatchy, he provided his cell to United and opted into text notifications for flight issues. That way he found out right away that their Newark to Zurich flight was delayed and that was going to cause them to misconnect in Zurich.

The most critical thing to do in that situation is to find an agent to help you out and get accommodated before alternate options fill up.

 

One of the nice perks of elite status and premium class travel is lounge access, especially during irregular operations. Club agents will often go the extra mile for you and lucky for him, he was in the club when he got the text message.

The United Club agent was having trouble finding alternate flight options so she called an internal help line to see what could be done.

The nonstop flight to Tel Aviv flight would have been a good option, but it was showing as fully booked:

ua90-upg-list

 

It turned out that despite United.com showing that business class was booked full, there were actually 2 seats that were booked but not ticketed. The help desk agent cancelled that reservation and rebooked them into the new United Polaris business class. The lounge agent also made sure that their bags were properly rerouted and that they had kosher meals on the flight. Now that’s impressive service!

 

Another DDF member, srf60, was also on the flight and the story gets even crazier. The person sitting behind him in Economy Plus said that his travel agent was holding the last 2 business class seats for him, but that someone else wound up getting them. Oh the irony!

As previous flights to Tel Aviv have always been operated by subsidiary Continental crew members, this was the first time that the United crew members were flying to Tel Aviv.

And being a flight to Tel Aviv, things can get a little crazy. Most of the passengers were going to Israel for Lag B’Omer and had kosher meals. One flight attendant told srf60 that he just wanted to go home in middle of the meal service. Flying the route for the first time is probably quite the learning experience.

The Wi-Fi on the flight did not work and of course everyone complained about that.

And then comes the minyanim taking over the galleys…all quite an experience for the first time a crew is working a Tel Aviv flight!

Moishebatchy’s seat adjustment buttons stopped working and the crew had to get out the manual to learn how to fix it as they had never flown on the 77W before, but on the plus side it still had that new plane smell. And they had the Saks pillows, mattress pad, gel cooled pillow, etc. There were even Pajamas available, despite the flight being under 12 hours.

srf60 notes that he sat in the exit row with a lot of extra legroom, but people kept congregating there and talking for the entire flight. So he got lots of legroom, but not much sleep. The seat was also very tight, exacerbated by the tray table being in the exit row armrest. On the plus side though, he was able to get a set of Pajamas from a friend who was in business class.

The 77W has 60 all-aisle access seating in business class:

 

Coach is less pretty. United has crammed 10 seats across throughout the 102 Economy Plus and 204 Economy Minus seats. Better to fly on the 772 if you have the choice.

Moishebatchy shared a few pictures that he took on DDF:

Here is a look at the D/G seats in odd-numbered rows. They are the best business class seats for passengers traveling together. There is a middle divider that can go up or down.

 

 

In this picture you can see the difference between the D/G seats in odd numbered rows that are together and the D/G seats in even numbered rows that are apart from each other:

 

 

The best seats for solo passengers will be the A/L seats in odd numbered rows that are near the window and have more privacy from the aisle:

 

 

Whereas the A/L seats in even numbered rows are angled towards the aisle and have less privacy, though they are better option for solo passengers than the D/G seats in even numbered rows:

 

Have you flown on the United 77W yet? Share your thoughts on the plane in the comments!

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47 Comments On "A First Glimpse Of United Polaris From Newark-Tel Aviv"

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Ikes

Dan, Flew the new 77W from SFO-EWR on the way back from Korea after flying the big bird (747) from ICN-SFO…..got to say, it’s a really nice flight on the 77W Business class. You would appreciate it. Will be taking it again in June to TLV. Now I just got to get on a flight with Polaris Business on the new 787-9 Dreamliner. That’s got to be the ultimate flight these days (besides Shower Class on Emirates of course).

Shaul

The congregating and Minyanim on the flight is not right. Many people paid good money expecting a relaxing flight, and unless the minyan gets consent from each passenger they might disruput, they shouldn’t do it. (Not to mention how it slows the crew down).

Chaim H

I’ve flown Americans 77w a few times and I gotta say by these pics that AA’s seem way more impressive

In Bed

Looks like lipstick on a pig. Is it nicer? Yeah. Is it more comfortable, probably. But its United.. And until United doesnt get their …. straight & learns from the Asian or at the LEAST European carriers like Lufthansa I will always look at them like a Walmart.. Gets the job done? Yeah.. but cheap.. no service..

david

Dan,

You mention the flight attendant wanting to leave mid flight. I was told by a senior united F.A. that even tho EWR-TLV has a great paid-hour vs unpaid-hour ratio per shift its still the second worst route (india is said to be even worse to to the smell;-)

jake

is there any polaris flown within the us?

David

Dan,

Off topic so my apologies! I cant decide if i should switch from United to Air Canada’s milage program. Im 1K united, always leave from newark and fly about 50 to 60% of my flight to or within Canada… what do you think?

Ikes

What’s your take on the Dreamliner…have you flown it? Felt a difference in the jet-lag/altitude?

Anonymous

@Dan: how is aa business in 772?

DT

@david

Sometimes we make it easy to be disliked 😕

Gawannabe

Wish I would of seen ddf thread in this earlier!
I was on this flight in business and had a very relaxing and quiet flight.

Herm

I am 1K on united and just moved to Boston, I will be doing a ton of Boston-TLV, has anyone heard about United opening this route and is there any potential that ElAl would entice me to switch ?

MC

Question- I’m flying this month on flight 90 with a friend of mine and we booked in the middle row of Polaris; even numbers. I can’t seem to get an answer to this question but does the middle wall that separates the two seats go down or is able to be removed?

MC

Dan-on the outbound yes but the return has some openings. Why? Thought maybe the angled seats had more room and saw a picture on google that looked like the separater was retractable but unsure. Also, United reps over the phone had no answers for me.

Chaim Tzvi

@Dan: Do you know what the deal will be with amex and aeroplan and Air canada new program? right now i rely on aeroplan to use my amex points.

Stop the Self Hate

@DT: Especially when a popular Jewish blog like this is full of Self-Hating comments!

TYH

WOOOOOOO … IT GETS BETTER ! my Rebbi was on this flight and at 10:45 i was randomly checking to see if it left and i saw the flight was delayed from 10:45 t0 11:15 so i went into his reservation and pressed change seat AND IT SHOWED A POLARIS BUSINESS CLASS SEAT AVAILABLE FOR UPGRADE PURCHASE !!!! TOTALLY MIN HASHAMAYIM for weeks it showed waitlisted upgrade 35k miles and 700 bucks ETC . and now after scheduled departure WITH ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE AIRPORT TRYING it let me upgrade him (in my pajamas from my phone 750 miles a away) TYH

MC

@Dan: Thank You Dan

Wolf

This question is for regular Delta business flyers jfk/tlv and back which seats are best on this flights?

collegegirl

A lot off topic: What is the best option to sell/do with my amex points? (nearly 1M)

collegeguy

@collegegirl: i can help

Eliezer

Hi Dan. Talking of Israel routes, You suggested once Emirates NYC- MXP-TLV for an option. However, There is no nonstop flights From Milan-TLV after Emirates arrival. Only options are with a stop or the next day. Correct me please if I’m wrong

Moishebatchy

@MC: As the DDFer who provided these photos to begin with, I’m happy to report that the divider does, indeed, go down. 🙂

Keep in mind, though, that the ensuing gap is not nearly as wide as it is in the odd-numbered rows. There’s also a bit of physical distance, as you each have your “shelf” there.

Marc

The new 77W is absurdly and excruciatingly cramped in coach. I would avoid it at all costs. You’re basically in a seat that is less than 17″ wide, narrower than a 737.

Shaul

Dan,
You often refer to UA employees as either sCO or sUA. I understand that that’s pre-merger. Does that have any affect on passengers as to which crews/planes they’re on? Or is it kind of random?

Welder

@david:
Interesting. I was told by a group of DL flight attendants I met at a hotel (they were on their downtime) that JFK-TLV is one of their favorite routes since the length of the flight is perfect for resting mid-flight and they like visiting TLV.

David

@Welder: I’m happy to hear it’s not a unanimous feeling amongst all airlines!

Paul

Dan do you know why some flights to tlv from newark are available on united mileage plus for standard or saver award and not available on singapore?thanks I transferred to Singapore after reading your post of no fuel charges close in booking fees vecyotzei bazeh and i can’t book united for Adam b4 shavous even though its available in mileage plus?thanks dan mashiach now

Anonymous

@collegeguyget married instead of being a single college girl and find a husband to go away with you on vacay☺️

solma

@TYH:

How much did you pay for the upgrade ?

Shaul

Is it worth it to try for Plan B on this flight since the coach is so bad if you don’t get it?

kj

Taking UA70 from EWR->AMS in a few weeks. Got business saver awards. Unfortunately, I do not think I have the new polaris seats though. Anyone take this flight recently and know?

Shaul

@kj: You can check Seatguru. You’ll get the soft product though.

Bookung 77w biz

How many UA points?
Any better ways using UR?
TIA

Moshe1K

I was on this flight. @MC: it does go down in the even and odd numbers.

Moshe1K

@Dan: You mean EWR-ATH

Moshe1K

I was on this flight in Business. It was actually a very nice experience. All the FA’s that I spoke to were actually happy to go to TLV (for the first time) and also that they kick pre continental in the … by taking away their “beloved TLV route. That’s the type of impression I got from them. Kosher meals were defiantly improved from the BusinessFirst experience (still no Kosher wine, Oscar??). Overall I would choose this seat over any other US carrier in business. As a 1K I’m happy to see such a huge improvement to the international flight experience

shloimy

I saw somebody mentioned flying with Emirates, did anyone hear if they make problems for Jewish passangers?

Niso

Only if you are Israeli or your passport shows you’ve been to Israel. Very discriminatory. Israel allows all airlines to fly to tel aviv

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