United UA230 (a B787-8 ‘Dreamliner’) left Heathrow at 11.25, with the 11-hour flight arriving into Los Angeles Airport at 12.25.
THE CHECK IN
Flying out of Terminal Two, United has dedicated Premium and Polaris class desks in Zone D. The airport was busy but there were few others in the queue when I arrived to check in three hours before my flight.
I was greeted with a smile and the formalities were done quickly and efficiently. I was asked if I knew where the United Club lounge was and then shown a small map of the airport layout after Security.
A member of the counter staff walked me over to the oversized baggage area – I had golf clubs with me – and pointed me to the Priority Security lane. Clearing Security took around five minutes.
Worldwide United has six dedicated Polaris lounges featuring a la carte dining rooms – but not at Heathrow. The United Club lounge is a 10-minute walk after Security, opposite Gate 46. The large rectangular-shaped space was bright and more or less full. Most desks and tables were taken, mainly because a Newark fight had ‘gone tech’ and passengers due on that service were waiting for an update.
The wi-fi was fast and there were numerous power points and USB outlets.
There was a self-service buffet area, with a good range of fruits, cereals, etc, and a full English breakfast items including vegetarian sausages. Champagnes, beers and cocktails were served from a full-length bar.
There were no boarding announcements in the Club lounge – aside from updates about the Newark-bound flight. Thirty minutes before the scheduled departure, I walked from the lounge to the gate opposite, waited for 10 minutes and was ushered onto the aircraft.
The Polaris (Business) cabin is configured in a 1X2X1 arrangement. I sat in 7L, which was not quite a window seat: my seat was slightly angled into the aisle with most of the storage area in the space next to the window.
It was as spacious as one would expect and featured two seatbelts – the standard waist belt and another shoulder harness.
The headrest area continued into a half-side ‘wall’ that provided a degree of privacy.
Saks Fifth Avenue provided the blanket.
The seat area was well appointed with a creative use of space, with a shelf for my laptop and other small items and a deep pocket under the right armrest. There was a smaller storage area over my right shoulder, holding two small bottles of water and a plastic-wrapped sound-equalising headset.
There was plenty of room around and in front of my legs. The round window had blue-tinted blinds – although it took me a while to figure out how to use them. The power outlets and USB ports were easy to locate.
The seat reclined 180 degrees into a fully-lie flat bed, but it was a day flight and I didn’t use this function.
The amenity kit was brand-new, introduced a few weeks before my late-October 2023 flight. The new reusable Therabody offering, made from recycled plastic, featured an eye serum, face spray, hand cream and cleansing towelette, along with a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, socks and a pen. Interestingly, the IFE included wellness videos – including meditation exercises – cuated by Therabody.
Before take-off I was offered a glass of Champagne or sparkling water, handed a menu for the flight and a (very) hot towel.
A couple of hours the lunch arrived. I chose a Mediterranean salad with little gem lettuce, Feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and yoghurt and lime dressing; a starter of grilled salmon with pickled cucumber and teriyaki sauce; and a main of grilled salmon with garlic polenta, grilled artichokes, sautéed spinach and puttanesca sauce (my ‘double salmon’ lunch was down to the attendant who took my order ‘mishearing’ my choice – which was tomato and mushroom ricotta ravioli with marinated tomatoes and tomato vodka sauce. By the time this was clarified, there were no portions remaining. I wasn’t disappointed as the salmon main was fabulous).
For dessert I chose the assorted cheese plate, which consisted of three generous chunks of cheeses, grapes and crackers.
Ninety minutes before landing we were served a multi-grain Croque Monsieur.
with ham, cheese and mustard mornay, along with a bag of crisps and tea or coffee.
A variety of snacks were available throughout the flight upon request.
Time on the 11-hour flight slipped by seamlessly and very pleasantly. The whole experience was as comfortable as the amount of space in and around the seat. The lunch was delicious, with just the right amount of ‘pacing’ between courses. I enjoyed the full-range of options on the on-demand inflight entertainment that could also be streamed to a personal device. The double seatbelt and shoulder harness locked me in tightly during a prolonged period of turbulence.
Prices for United Polaris (business) between London-Heathrow and Los Angeles International Airport start from £5,205.