Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2017 Contents AsianAviation | March 2017 25
tion well-rested and at optimal performance was their only option.
The other priorities that people had in mind included being able to
be productive, relax , enjoy a great meal, and feel VIP, but getting a
good night’s sleep was far and away the top priority for customers.
AAV: How important are things like the Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
and other amenities?
WD: In creating a tailored experience that ensures our customers
enjoy the best sleep in the sky, no detail is too small to be over-
looked — whether it’s the bedding, sleepwear, amenity kits, or the
ambiance. Our partners such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Soho House
& Co’s Cowshed Spa are renowned worldwide for their impeccable
focus on luxury and quality, and it is that same experience that we
wanted to provide our United Polaris customers.
We knew our United Polaris customers would greatly enjoy the
custom-designed bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, which includes
plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets, a large and small pillow for
each United Polaris customer, as well as mattress cushions available
on request; the slippers, customised United
Polaris pyjamas on flights over 12 hours, and
gel-cooled pillows; and pampering amenity
kits with ergonomically designed eye shades,
calming pillow mist and additional products
from Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa. To
create the right ambiance perfectly suited for
a restful flight, we have also added a new and
unique channel on our inflight entertainment
system focused on sleep and relaxation.
AAV: What about food service? Where did
that come in the list of priorities?
WD: Again, we keep sleep in mind when
designing food service both on the ground and in the air. United
Polaris Business Class offers improved flight attendant service pro-
cedures for greater efficiency, shortening meal service so customers
can have undisturbed sleep times. We have revamped our in-flight
menu for United Polaris customers to provide an elevated dining
experience and redefine premier business travel. Upon boarding,
each customer will be welcomed with a pre-departure beverage of
his or her choice and gourmet chocolate. Depending on the flight’s
timing, customers can choose between a custom cocktail or create
their own wine tasting menu with the highest-quality options curated
exclusively by United’s Master Sommelier. While in the air, customers
will enjoy regionally-influenced seasonal in-flight menus, developed
in partnership with The Trotter Project and its critically recognised
chefs, including Chef Bill Kim of Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly,
bellyQ and Belly Shack and Chef Jesse Dunford Wood, chef-owner
at Parlour in London.
On the ground, we are opening an exclusive portfolio of United
Polaris Business Class lounges in nine locations around the world
the only one of its kind offered by a US airline to Business Class
customers — that will feature custom-designed chairs, private
daybeds, spa-like showers, and chef-inspired hot meals served in
a boutique restaurant setting so customers can refresh and dine
before boarding their planes.
AAV: United is opening new lounges to complement the new cabins.
Is this really a key area?
WD: Yes, it is definitely a key area. United Polaris Business Class of-
fers a premier “lounge-to-landing” experience to provide customers
with sleep-enhancing Business Class experience. Our customers can
relax, work, refresh and dine before boarding their planes. The first
United Polaris lounge opened at Chicago O’Hare International Airport
on 1 December 2016 and lounges in eight locations — Los Angeles,
San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles,
Tokyo/Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow — will follow. The
new lounges are featuring Oasis for premium cabin customers with
thoughtful design and furnishings; full buffet and pre-flight dining
menu developed by Chef Art Smith; premium wines and spirits and
hand crafted cocktails designed by mixologist
Adam Seger; spa-like shower facilities featur-
ing Cowshed products; and a secluded area
AAV: In designing the new space, how did
the designers keep the same number of seats
in the same amount of space?
WD: The patented seat layout was key to
the success of the product. Through new
and innovative ways to use the space on-
board, and the configuration of the seats, as
well as some seats being straight, and some
being at a slight angle, allowed the perfect
combination of passenger comfort and density-neutral efficiency for
the airline. The seat is customised and layouts are slightly different
from aircraft type to aircraft type to ensure utilisation of the entire
fuselage width and length.
AAV: How hard was it avoid copying or replicating what other de-
signers have done for airline seats?
WD: Most other airline Business Class seats do not have the level
of customisation that the Polaris seats have, so it was easy to stand
out as we customised everything top to bottom.
AAV: Is United moving to eliminate First Class and slowly switch to
Polaris on its international flights?
WD: As we update our fleet over the next few years to incorporate
our signature United Polaris direct-aisle-access seating, we’ll be
phasing out the First Class cabin and moving toward a two-cabin
experience for international travel. But keep in mind that the new
United Polaris Business Class seat is comparable in space and pri-
vacy to our current international First Class seats.
In creating a tailored
experience that ensures
our customers enjoy the
best sleep in the sky,
no detail is too small to
WALTER DIAS, UNITED AIRLINES
23/02/2017 5:17:37 PM
Links Archive AAV February 2017 AAV April 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page