Business class cabins vary greatly between airlines. Some offer lavish, cocooned retreats like the QSuites in Qatar Airways while others mix the fun parts of business class and the elegance of first class, like Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class.
There are also striking premium cabins that focus on presenting top-class travelers with immense convenience such as United Polaris. Strictly offered on international routes, United Polaris has lie-flat seats, excellent gourmet meals, and premium service.
Rivaling this beautiful cabin is the UK’s flag carrier, British Airways. They offer Club Europe and Club World – quality business class cabins for customers who want to journey in luxury and style while in the air.
Let’s dissect what these two airlines have to offer in this United Polaris Business Class vs. British Airways Business Class comparison.
- Quick Glance: United Polaris Business Class vs. British Airways Business Class
- The Details: United Polaris Business Class vs. British Airways Business Class
- United Polaris Business Class
- British Airways Business Class
- Best For: Which Airline Class Should You Book?
- Wrapping Up
Quick Glance: United Polaris Business Class vs. British Airways Business Class
|United Polaris Business Class||British Airways Business Class|
|Ground Experience||Enjoy access to the famed Polaris Lounge as a United Polaris guest. This lounge has a variety of food and drink options, plush seating, and amenities to create a pleasant ground experience. Priority check-in and boarding are also extended to United Polaris guests.||British Airways Club World guests can board, check in, and enter through fast-track security gates when flying from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). The British Airways Galleries Club lounges including partner lounges worldwide are accessible to Club World guests.|
|Seat||United Polaris seats are different from United Business class. For one, United Polaris is available on international routes only, and is found on the following aircraft: the 787-9 Dreamliner, the 787-10, the 777-300 ER, the 767-300ER, and the 777-200ER. All seats lie flat with direct aisle access and carry a 1-2-1 configuration. Sizes and lengths can differ but most have a 75 to 76-inch length and a 24-inch width except for the 767 which has a 1-1-1 seat layout.||Known for their Club Suites, Club World guests can enjoy a reverse herringbone cabin with private sliding doors and direct aisle access. Club Suites are on international routes and come with a length of 73 to 79 inches and a width of 20 to 22 inches. These are found on the A350, 777, and 787-10s.|
|Amenities||Hardshell amenity kits from Away curate stylish items including skincare products from Sunday Riley, socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, and earplugs. On long-haul flights, guests are wrapped in high-quality Saks Avenue blankets and pillows. Flights longer than 12 hours will mean United Polaris guests get a pajama set. A special duvet mattress is available on longer flights on a first-come, first-served basis.||British Airways partners with The White Company for their amenity kits. Each kit comes in a faux leather black zip pouch containing a dental kit, eye mask, pen, moisturizer, lip balm, and a hand lotion. A pillow, blanket, and headphones are also on the seats.|
|Food and Beverage||Pre-flight drinks of champagne and warm nuts start the in-flight meals. Approximately 40 minutes from takeoff, the dinner service starts with appetizers, mains, and dessert served on a tray. About an hour before landing, the second meals come out.||Guests receive a choice of water, bubbly, or orange juice for pre-flight drinks. Meals are atop stylish white linen and fine china. These are served after takeoff with the second meal given at least 90 minutes before landing. Snacks and beverages are available for small bites in between.|
|Entertainment||Guests can indulge in an assortment of movies, TV, shows, and an interactive map on the 15-16 inch seat monitors. United also hands out headphones, but the quality is less than stellar.||Each Club World seat comes with either a 12-inch or 17-inch touchscreen monitor. The smaller screens are on the older seats. All monitors are loaded with Hollywood titles, popular TV shows, concerts, music, and several Live channels.|
|Lavatories||Lavatories are dependent on the type of aircraft. However, these are always kept clean with touchless sinks and Sunday Riley products on display.||There are two lavatories in the A350 and the 777 Club World cabins. Only a single lavatory exists on the 787. All contain The White Company toiletries.|
|Bed||All seats on the United Polaris cabin recline flat up to 75 inches. These come with ultra-comfy bedding and pillows from Saks Avenue.||Club World seats lie flat and transform into a 76 to 79-inch bed. A pillow, as well as a blanket, are also on each seat.|
|Service||Service can be hit or miss depending on the destination and the crew. It’s generally good but can feel impersonal and lackluster at times.||British Airways have an attentive staff who will happily chat with guests while maintaining their professional service.|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi plans start anywhere from $8 to $10 aboard the United Polaris. A full flight pass can cost $23. Meanwhile, monthly subscription plans are available at $49 per month depending on the destination.||Wi-Fi onboard is available at £4.88 ($6) for a one-hour connection. For a four-hour plan, it starts at £11.99 ($14.50) while for the entire flight, it’s £14.99 ($18).|
The Details: United Polaris Business Class vs. British Airways Business Class
United Polaris Business Class
Flying on United Polaris gives you access to world class facilities available at the Polaris Lounge. These stylish lounges are among the best lounges in the United States and are readily available in hubs across the U.S.
If you’re flying out of Chicago’s ORD, their Polaris Lounge counts as one of the finest lounges in the world.
Before flying off, you can hang out at the Polaris lounge with its spacious seating and contemporary decor. Think leather sofas, convenient work desks, and fantastic views of the apron which allow for a convenient space to await your flight. Spoil yourself in abundant food and drink buffets. There’s also a bar for alcohol and spirits as well as great coffee.
Certain Polaris lounges even offer premium à la carte dining as you would find in first class lounges. These are in the form of The Dining Room where you can partake in sit-down dining as if you were in a restaurant.
In certain lounges, you’ll also find sleeping rooms with accessories like a pillow, eye mask, and sleeping spray to encourage sleep. Shower rooms are present to let you freshen up.
Once boarding commences, United Polaris offers priority boarding and check-in to business class guests. There is also two free checked baggage available for guests with Polaris seats.
Designed to be stylish, the gorgeous cabin is complemented by exquisite lighting and stylish seats.
Those flying in a United Airlines cabin might get confused between United’s Business Class and United Polaris. United’s Business Class is only offered on domestic routes, in Latin America or Caribbean destinations. This is United’s primary business class seat. On the other hand, United Polaris is the business class offered on international destinations.
A good portion of United’s fleet does offer Polaris seats. You’ll find them available primarily aboard the 787-9, most of the Boeing 777, and several of the 787s. These seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access, convenient 75 to 76 inches lengths, and 24-inch widths.
Each seat is finely upholstered with spacious storage and a flippable backrest to support the neck. There’s a USB port, power outlet, as well as a footwell that extends to become a part of the bed for when you’re ready to sleep.
Offering some of the best amenity kits around, United Polaris guests receive a hardshell case crafted by the brand Away. These kits, reminiscent of the famed Rimowa hardshell cases given out by EVA Air, are loaded with goodies. It contains a Sunday Riley hand lotion, hand cream, and lip balm. In addition to the standard items like socks, eye mask, pen, toothbrush, toothpaste, and ear plugs.
Aside from the beautiful kit, guests also receive a Saks Avenue blanket and pillow. These are made from top-quality materials offering a comfortable sleep. If you ask early, you can even inquire about getting a padded mattress to help cushion when you’re ready to sleep.
On international flights that last longer than 12 hours, United Polaris guests also get pajamas.
Enter the world of points hacking with the help of a points consultant. Get premium first class or business class flights for little cost to you!
Food and Beverage
Although there are inconsistencies in the food service, overall, United Polaris has one of the better meal services in a business cabin. In particular routes, the attendants hand out printed menus so guests can choose from a selection of starters, mains, and desserts.
However, there are certain routes when the attendants do away with the menu and just rattle off the specials for the flight. It’s an unusual practice, especially for a premium cabin.
Meals are given 40 minutes after takeoff and to be fair, the food itself is quite good. Another plus is that champagne paired with nuts and water is provided during pre-flight services. All meals are in a single tray and consist of a side salad, main entree, and options for dessert like ice cream or sweets.
The second meal service, usually breakfast, is given out at least 90 minutes before the plane lands.
Get all the best travel credit cards in one stunning list. Sign up for these credit cards to get an amazing deal.
United Polaris seats include a 15-16 inch monitor filled with movies, shows, music, and even an air show. This is another department that could use some improvement as the touchscreen features and layout of the IFE can feel a bit clunky. However, there is a handheld remote available by the seat for convenient controls.
There are headphones provided for guests to use but if you’re picky with the sound quality, you might be better off bringing a headset.
United Polaris guests can access Wi-Fi online starting at $8 to $10. You can also purchase a plan for the entire flight for $23. Frequent flyers can opt for a monthly subscription plan at $49 per month. It’s worth noting not all of United’s fleet has Wi-Fi onboard so make sure to check first.
The Points University teaches you the ins and outs of travel hacking. Learn from an expert on how to find luxury hotels, score points, or book first or business class seats for a fraction of the cost.
All lavatories are kept clean and come with Sunday Riley products. They also include touchless sinks.
The seats transform into a 75 to 76-inch length bed when it’s fully reclined. Guests can enjoy the Saks Avenue bedding and pillows in each seat as well.
Staff and Guest Services
United Airlines has a professional staff but depending on the type of crew you get, the service can be hit or miss. Guests have praised attendants for their attentiveness but they’ve also complained about their lack of consistency – disappearing the next minute to simply chat with themselves.
Who Is It For?
The United Polaris may not be a perfect cabin but it delivers great perks if you want to travel in comfort. With cozy seats that include spacious storage, amenity kits, and convenient meal service, you have all the comforts you can ask for while up in the air. The soft product can indeed be inconsistent at times so that’s something to consider.
United Polaris Business Class Gallery
British Airways Business Class
Like all business class guests, those flying on British Airways Club World receive priority boarding and check-in. When flying out of Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London, guests can also access fast-track security so it’s easier to enter the terminal.
Guests receive free checked baggage with a weight limit of up to 51 lbs. or 23 kg. On the plane, every Club World passenger can bring a personal bag and two carry-ons as long as they don’t exceed 23 kg.
For comfort, Club World flyers can enter the British Airways Galleries Club, found in most of Europe. At Heathrow, there are several lounges in both the Northern and Southern sections of Terminal 5. Just note at certain times, the lounges can get crowded.
Counted as one of the best lounges in Europe, British Airways Galleries Club lounges come with numerous amenities. There are dedicated buffet areas of hot and cold dishes including self-service corners overflowing with beverages like liquor, sofa, tea, and coffee. A few lounges also have shower rooms and business centers where you can work.
You can find Galleries Club lounges in Glasgow, New York, Manchester, Johannesburg, and Washington D.C. If they’re not available, guests can also access British Airways partner lounges in most airports globally.
It was British Airways that debuted the lie-flat beds onboard a business class cabin. Today, it’s become a staple addition where almost every airline has one. In addition to the lie-flat beds, British Airways Club World is also among the first to add fully sliding doors on their seats.
They’ve created their Club World Suites in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout, giving guests direct aisle access to customers. Seats on Club World are customized versions of the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, similar to those used by American Airlines. British Airways does include attractive upholstery and pleasant stitched detailing all around.
All seats have ample storage, a touchscreen monitor, adjustable seat controls, a large tray for work and dining, a reading light, and of course, unique amenity kits.
Just a quick note, the sliding doors found on Club World Suites are sealed shut upon takeoff and landing so you can only use them during the flight.
Providing the amenity kits for British Airways is The White Company. These kits are only given on long-haul Club World flights. Each kit contains an earplug, toothpaste, a toothbrush, hand cream, and an oil pulse point balm.
Guests also receive a pillow and blanket for sleep. There are headphones to be used together with the IFE and on certain routes, like in Asian countries, the airline also supplies slippers.
Food and Beverage
Meal and drinks service starts with pre-flight champagne, orange juice, or water. Printed menus are given at the start of the flight to give guests a chance to order their meals.
Dishes start coming out 90 minutes after takeoff. Everything begins with appetizers, salads, and a bread basket, followed by the main course and dessert. For desserts, you can choose between a fruit plate or cheese.
Breakfast options are more tame but still filling. You can take your pick from a Full English Breakfast or opt for coffee or tea and a pastry. For mid-flight snacks, you can ask for a sandwich, drinks, or pastries depending on what’s available.
The older Club World seats are equipped with 12-inch monitors but the newer seats have larger 18-inch touch screens. You can expect hours of entertainment including popular TV shows, movies, foreign films, and children’s shows.
Some of the popular titles in the IFE include the James Bond series, Marvel superhero films, and Jurassic Park. The IFE monitors are non-adjustable but you can control them using a remote control.
Use the noise-canceling headphones provided by the airline. While it’s not of excellent quality, it does have good sound quality.
Business passengers need to purchase a plan to secure Wi-Fi. Plans start at $6 or £4.99 for a one-hour connection. For a four-hour connection, the plans start at $14.50 or £11.99. If you intend to connect throughout the flight, you can purchase it for $18 or £14.99.
Depending on the aircraft, the lavatory numbers can vary. For example, both the 777 and A380 have two lavatories each. Meanwhile, the 787 has only a single lavatory.
All the lavatories are small but kept clean and come with The White Company products.
Club World seats transform into a 79-inch bed when you’re ready to sleep. Comfortable bedding from The White Company is on each seat so you can sleep in comfort draped in a thick blanket and pillow.
Staff and Guest Services
British Airways employs friendly and cheerful staff who make flying onboard the cabin a lot more fun. They also employ attendants who are capable of speaking the native language towards their destination route so guests who can’t speak English can communicate with ease.
Who Is It For?
Flying on Club World is a great experience for those looking to experience comfy seats, great food, and satisfactory service during long haul travel.
British Airways Business Class Gallery
Best For: Which Airline Class Should You Book?
|Winner||What Makes It Great|
|Best for Food||British Airways Club World||British Airways has a more consistent meal service compared to United Polaris.|
|Best for Seats||Tie||Both United Polaris and Club World seats are spacious, providing enough convenience to make your flight enjoyable.|
|Best for Ground Experience||United Polaris Business Class||The Dining Room is a highlight if you’re visiting the Polaris Lounge.|
|Best For Comfort||Tie||Both seats offer fantastic comfort in flight and will ensure your trip is going to be pleasant.|
|Best for Families||United Polaris Business Class||United Polaris has business class seats that are great for families when traveling together. They offer convenience and privacy as well.|
|Best for Couples||British Airways Club World||Couples can sit in the middle aisle, also called the honeymoon seats, making it ideal for traveling together.|
|Best for Service||British Airways Club World||British Airways has friendlier and more cheerful staff. They’re also more consistent in delivering good service.|
|Most Exclusive||Tie||The addition of sliding doors on the seats creates a private cocoon that lets guests settle in privacy, especially on long haul routes.|
The right business class cabin can make or break your experience. So if you’re determined to have a good flight or at least be cozy during your travels, both United Polaris and British Airways Club World provide a great experience.
Each cabin features suitable hard products that give you spacious storage, padded lie-flat seats, and many extra perks – it’s enough to ensure you’ll be cushy while in flight. There are hits and misses in the soft product but it’s generally a pleasant experience.