Continental eliminated first class in the 90s and leapfrogged their domestic competition by improving their business class and renaming it BusinessFirst.
United kept that moniker after the merger, but their business class has lagged behind the competition. They’re also in the process of eliminating first class, which will leave American as the only domestic carrier with international first class service.
Today United announced that United business class will soon be known as United Polaris. It will feature Zodiac 1-2-1 direct aisle access 6’6″ lie-flat seating and will launch when they receive their first Boeing 77W in December. Existing 767, 777, and 787s will be retrofitted and new A350s will also feature the new seating.
United is also adding Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, memory foam pillows, and will provide pajamas on Polaris flights longer than 12 hours. That would unfortunately exclude the Newark-Tel Aviv route, but would include the San Francisco-Tel Aviv route for example.
United will also open Polaris lounges for Polaris class passengers starting with Chicago in December and then in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, and London Heathrow next year. The lounges will have sleeping rooms, spa showers, and premium drinks.