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An Inside Look At United Airlines' Biggest Polaris Overhaul Since 2016

Last week, United Airlines unveiled Therabody as its new partner for its Polaris business class and premium economy amenity kits. Additionally, the airline unveiled new bedding in partnership with Saks Fith-Avenue and a limited-edition day blanket designed by Claude Kameni.

For many, it may seem like United launched its Polaris business class product yesterday. Seven years after the Polaris launch, United announced the most significant upgrade to its soft product in Polaris, changing the amenity kits, pillows, and blankets offered onboard. But the upgrades do not stop there; the Polaris lounges will also receive upgrades from a new United partner, Therabody. Onboard, United continues to partner with Saks Fifth Avenue for its pillows and blankets.

For the full story on the new products, click here.

Last Tuesday, United held an event in New York City to celebrate the largest overhaul to Polaris and invited Simple Flying to experience the new products. Unfortunately, we missed the beginning of the event due to flight delays and other circumstances, but there was still plenty to see and experience.

Starting with the lounge

United set the event up to simulate the Polaris passenger experience, starting at the lounge. Through its partnership with Therabody, a wellness technology leader, Polaris lounges will now be equipped with devices like the Lounger, Theragun, and Recovery/Air JetBoots. On the left side of the room was an area with several Loungers, or massage chairs.

Lukas Souza 10-03-23 United Polaris Event-116

Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying

I wanted to try the products, so I sat in the lounger and was told I would have the best experience pairing the Lounger with the Recovery/Air JetBoots and goggles with a facial massage function and headphones. The reason for the headphones is that Therabody has specially composed music that syncs with the goggles and chair, and the vibrations of the Lounger match the music. This gives the passenger the best experience and relaxation before boarding the aircraft.

The boots, basically sleeves that go all the way up the leg, were incredible. They also have a “massage” feature, which is performed through compression and has different intensity levels. I was unaware when I started the trial, but the boots were set to maximum intensity on a 20-minute timer. Thinking others were waiting to try the products, I took the goggles off after a few minutes, and the Therabody team challenged me to stay the full 20, so I did. I felt incredibly relaxed when I got up and would have been ready for any long-haul flight.

Onboard experience

The second ‘station’ or experience was set up with six physical Polaris seats and their pods and a mockup of a plane fuselage wall painted with the United name on the outside. At the seats were all the new amenities, which debuted a while back, but United made the announcement this week. As mentioned above, there is a new day blanket, a stunning blue design created by Claude Kameni, a Cameroon-native designer who won a competition to design the blanket. The blanket, large pillow, and duvet are made from 100% recycled plastic.

Finally, there was a station with mirrors and the new Therabody amenity kits, which double as a crossbody bag and include the standard dental kit, socks, eyemask, and more. Those who wanted to could try out the new amenity kit products in front of the mirrors.

Overall, there was a significant amount of excitement in the room, with several United staff in attendance, press, content creators, and members of the Therabody and Saks Fifth Avenue teams. This was indeed the biggest overhaul to United’s premium product since its launch in 2016. And, as a cherry on top, even the famous sundae cart was available.

Leaving the event, we were given gift bags, including several items found onboard, including a new set of pajamas, which United only provides on flights twelve hours or longer. I do not have any photos of the pajamas, so here is a quick airport photo of what they look like.

What do you think of the new upgrades? Let us know in the comments below.


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