United Airlines will rebrand its international business class service as Polaris, with new seats and airport lounges from December 2016.
The Polaris seat is based on the proprietary Viva design from London's Acumen Design Associates, developed and styled by PriestmanGoode, and will debut on United’s new Boeing 777-300ER fleet by the end of this year.
United will also upgrade its Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 767-300 with the new seat, which will also grace the forthcoming Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
The Polaris seat has a full lie-flat bed length of just over two metres and will provide each passenger with direct aisle access plus more personal space around the seat itself.
The seats are interleaved in a unique combination of forward-facing and angled versions to maximise the room available to each traveller.
"United Polaris will change the game in international business travel with an exceptional level of relaxation and comfort throughout our customers' journeys," said Oscar Munoz, president and CEO of United.
The suite-like Polaris pods include ample room for working and dining, with a 16-inch HD video screen which can be used on a 'gate to gate' basis and a clever tablet holder in the tray table.
There's also a goodly amount of storage for items you want to keep at hand.
Also part of the Polaris concept: pyjamas (on flights longer than 12 hours) and slippers...
... and custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue with plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and both a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer.
Fussy flyers can also be supplied with mattress cushions and a gel-cooled pillow.
There are even new amenity kits with eye shades, a 'calming lavender pillow mist' and Cowshed Spa products.
And the meals? Get set for seasonal menus with some uniquely regional touches for each route, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project and its chefs such as Bill Kim of acclaimed Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack.
Those signature scooped-at-your-seat ice cream sundaes remain, of course, and on daytime flights longer than eight hours and all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.
Not enough? Grab a little something else at the snack bar.
Complementing the new seats, United and PriestmanGoode crafted an all-new look for the Polaris cabins.
United will also open what it describes as "an exclusive portfolio" of Polaris business class lounges around the world.
These lounges will be open only to passengers travelling in United's Polaris class, which in turn will be initially available only on the United Boeing 777-300ER fleet.
There will be no access to United Club members or even top-tier MileagePlus frequent flyers booked in economy: this is a business class lounge for business class flyers.
Each Polaris lounge will sport a dining area with a buffet selection and a la carte meals, and a tended bar
The Polaris lounges have been designed by UK-based PriestmanGoode and will each lounge will follow a common design plan with the most active areas at the entrance, followed by the bar and buffet, with the 'calmer' zones – including showers suites and daybed rest pods (below) – further inside the lounge.
PriestmanGoode have also created what's called the Quad chair: a bespoke seat which mimics some of the inflight Polaris on the ground, with coat and bag storage, a pull-out table with integrated tablet holder, and AC/USB charging points.
The first new Polaris lounge will open on United's home turf of Chicago on December 1.
Additional Polaris lounges will roll out the welcome mat at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow throughout 2017.