VERDICT While the new Polaris club has almost everything, one feature they do not currently offer are magazines for the business traveler to read while they are waiting for their flight. Other than that, the experience was nearly perfect. – Jerry Ruud

BEST FOR Space and more space. Oh, and the bacon beignets
ACCESS Polaris class passengers on long-haul flights
HOURS OF OPERATION 4:30 AM to 10:30 PM
CONTACT united.com


BACKGROUND
United rolled out its Polaris premium travel concept in December 2016. It has grown over the years to include both the inflight experience and lounges. The Newark lounge officially opened in June 4, 2018; other Polaris lounges are located at Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, LAX and San Francisco.

WHO CAN ACCESS?
This lounge services international first class and business class passengers only on qualified Polaris flights. Currently this is not an experience that can be purchased via a credit card or a membership.

WHERE IS IT?
Flying out to London on the 8:30 AM out of Newark, we purposely got to the airport early to avoid traffic and spend time in the Polaris Lounge at Terminal C. The lounge is located after security between Gates 102 and 120 (between C2 and C3).

WHAT’S IT LIKE?
We were greeted at the front desk and had our boarding passes scanned. Before we sat down for a bite to eat, we toured the facility to make sure we didn’t miss anything and see where we wanted to spend our time. With over 27,000 square feet, seating for over 450, two different dining experiences plus a full bar, we had lots of options.

One of the nicest aspects of the new lounge is the variety of seating and meeting spaces. There are private rooms if you need to hold a meeting or get on a conference call. There are also private areas to rest or shower if you’re using Newark as a hub or want to freshen up after landing. However, what really caught my attention was the different types of seating arrangements for the variety of passengers’ needs. There were chairs grouped for several people together, such as a family traveling or business colleagues. Individual business-style cubes allowed individuals to work, eat, charge their devices or just be alone. And small meeting areas for two to four people offered some privacy. United really did a good job offering options for their clients.

As for dining, there were two primary options; the buffet serves breakfast until 11 AM and then a lunch/dinner offering from 11 AM until closing, and there’s also table service. Here they offer seasonal choices making changes in the spring, summer, fall and winter. For this trip we chose the small plate dining experience where we sat down and were served by, Sonja, who started on day one back in June 2018, and could not have been nicer. Not only did she make some great recommendations on the food (the bacon beignets were to die for), she was very careful of our time to make sure we did not miss our flight.

Prior to leaving we did experience the restrooms and to be honest, this deserves a special mention. Not only are they all individual, gender-neutral restrooms, they have plenty of space to bring your bags in with you. This is a great feature if you’re traveling by yourself and you don’t want to leave anything behind while you freshen up.