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commavia
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:58 pm

Rdh3e wrote:
Are all AA seats aisle access? That is the argument here.


On widebodies, yes, they now are - 100% of AA's widebodies are now all-lie-flat, and all-aisle-access in J.

AA's longhaul 757s don't have all-aisle-access in J, but then, as said, neither do Delta's or United's.

Rdh3e wrote:
Also AA only has 148 widebodies. United has 238.


Hmmm ... does United have 238 widebodies? The number I get - at least per Wiki - is 172. More than AA, but not by that much.
 
Rdh3e
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:40 pm

commavia wrote:

Rdh3e wrote:
Also AA only has 148 widebodies. United has 238.


Hmmm ... does United have 238 widebodies? The number I get - at least per Wiki - is 172. More than AA, but not by that much.

Nope, you're right, I included the Intl 752s.
 
jfern022
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:44 pm

IPFreely wrote:
airzim wrote:
FYI, DL and AA can’t gurantee you lie flat with direct aisle access either.


Heck, DL can't even guarantee working lavatories for the duration of a flight.


I guess no other airline has had a lav issue in flight. Delta must be the absolute worst in the world.

We get it already, we know you were left behind on a flight. Give it up already.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:49 pm

Amazing how a thread about UA turns into a DL measuring contest.

Back to the topic on hand - I do think that UA dropped the ball bigtime on the rollout. The 789s should have been delivered with the new seats - ripping the current ones out in a year makes no sense.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
jetmatt777
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:55 pm

Antarius wrote:
Amazing how a thread about UA turns into a DL measuring contest.

Back to the topic on hand - I do think that UA dropped the ball bigtime on the rollout. The 789s should have been delivered with the new seats - ripping the current ones out in a year makes no sense.


Seats and interior fittings, while last to be installed, still have significant lead times, upfront cost and deposits, and it would be completely unwise to pay the fines and damages to cancel those contracts and stop production, and at the same time spend a ton of money on a rush production program to expedite the seats and install to match the delivery program.

It really isn't like there's a warehouse in Everett with all of these seats in boxes waiting on someone to swipe their card and install them over the weekend. All of these seats are custom designed and built. It really isn't so simple.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:03 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
Amazing how a thread about UA turns into a DL measuring contest.

Back to the topic on hand - I do think that UA dropped the ball bigtime on the rollout. The 789s should have been delivered with the new seats - ripping the current ones out in a year makes no sense.


Seats and interior fittings, while last to be installed, still have significant lead times, upfront cost and deposits, and it would be completely unwise to pay the fines and damages to cancel those contracts and stop production, and at the same time spend a ton of money on a rush production program to expedite the seats and install to match the delivery program.

It really isn't like there's a warehouse in Everett with all of these seats in boxes waiting on someone to swipe their card and install them over the weekend. All of these seats are custom designed and built. It really isn't so simple.


Which is why UA likely has a department dedicated to supply chain and planning.

789s being delivered with old seats 13 months after announcing Polaris' rollout is pretty poor. No matter what the penalties or worst case even if you have to pay for the seats and leave them in a warehouse somewhere.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:02 am

As much of a United fan I am, I do think they are making a “brand” mistake. A brand is essentially a promise to consumers and when that promise isn’t kept it’s very hard to get people back. The advertising support Polaris gets, the spiffy videos etc set up a very delicious looking new experience and getting that experience right now is pretty limited.
I’m am not one who ever felt United was nearly as bad as it’s reputation and have enjoyed many, many international flights over the past 25 years. But I do believe they should have held off on the promises a while longer, until there was a better chance of getting the lounges and seats.
Service has improved, the gate areas, especially since the merger, and some of the new extras (blankets and eyeshades, etc) but I wish closer to half the fleet was refitted and lounges opened at some of the MAJOR hubs.
This is why I think a new livery right now is way too premature.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
GoSharks
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:37 am

Antarius wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
Amazing how a thread about UA turns into a DL measuring contest.

Back to the topic on hand - I do think that UA dropped the ball bigtime on the rollout. The 789s should have been delivered with the new seats - ripping the current ones out in a year makes no sense.


Seats and interior fittings, while last to be installed, still have significant lead times, upfront cost and deposits, and it would be completely unwise to pay the fines and damages to cancel those contracts and stop production, and at the same time spend a ton of money on a rush production program to expedite the seats and install to match the delivery program.

It really isn't like there's a warehouse in Everett with all of these seats in boxes waiting on someone to swipe their card and install them over the weekend. All of these seats are custom designed and built. It really isn't so simple.


Which is why UA likely has a department dedicated to supply chain and planning.

789s being delivered with old seats 13 months after announcing Polaris' rollout is pretty poor. No matter what the penalties or worst case even if you have to pay for the seats and leave them in a warehouse somewhere.

Problem is that you then have to commit to replacing very new seats in the rest of the 789 fleet - unless you want to run a very small sub fleet of 789s with the Polaris seat, which seems highly undesirable. I can totally understand the decision to replace the sUA 8 across product over the not-quite-objectionable sCO product.
 
B737900ER
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:03 am

VC10er wrote:
As much of a United fan I am, I do think they are making a “brand” mistake. A brand is essentially a promise to consumers and when that promise isn’t kept it’s very hard to get people back. The advertising support Polaris gets, the spiffy videos etc set up a very delicious looking new experience and getting that experience right now is pretty limited.

What’s the alternative? Do you spend six years to retrofit all of the planes and then start advertising? You’d then be promoting a seven year old seat and we’d roast UA for that. I think for UA Polaris is the premium experience, and that should extend beyond what the seat looks like. If you are trying to build a brand with Polaris you want it to be around in 20 years as it keeps evolving. Besides that, it’s very difficult to move quickly in this industry in the USA. There are just too many regulations to comply with in order to get things done.
 
JHwk
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:14 am

B737900ER wrote:
What’s the alternative? Do you spend six years to retrofit all of the planes and then start advertising? You’d then be promoting a seven year old seat and we’d roast UA for that. I think for UA Polaris is the premium experience, and that should extend beyond what the seat looks like. If you are trying to build a brand with Polaris you want it to be around in 20 years as it keeps evolving. Besides that, it’s very difficult to move quickly in this industry in the USA. There are just too many regulations to comply with in order to get things done.

Customers would be more understanding if there was visible progress. United screwed up on Polaris branding, badly.
 
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AirAfreak
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:58 am

Though my perception of United Airlines post-9/11 isn’t the most favorable, the launch of Polaris and the efforts by the new CEO show effort and progress toward greater customer care. Even the bashing of UA cabin crew is unfair considering the trials and tribulations they’ve had to endure. We tend to forget the human element of these people and are quick to pass judgment, unfortunately. To go from Chateaubriand in United Connoisseur to Iceberg in United Business to Asia is a stark contrast to yesteryear, however, the flying public has voted with their wallet and those in the “know,” suffer.

I have enjoyed many flights in the Connoisseur Class cabin to Seoul as a young child/teenager visiting my family so the drastic change in service offerings those 4 trips I flew United to Seoul post-9/11 were quite noticeable.

Quality takes time, so in the meantime, I will be cheering for Polaris to evolve.
Korean Air | Excellence in Flight.
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:24 am

B737900ER wrote:
VC10er wrote:
As much of a United fan I am, I do think they are making a “brand” mistake. A brand is essentially a promise to consumers and when that promise isn’t kept it’s very hard to get people back. The advertising support Polaris gets, the spiffy videos etc set up a very delicious looking new experience and getting that experience right now is pretty limited.

What’s the alternative? Do you spend six years to retrofit all of the planes and then start advertising? You’d then be promoting a seven year old seat and we’d roast UA for that. I think for UA Polaris is the premium experience, and that should extend beyond what the seat looks like. If you are trying to build a brand with Polaris you want it to be around in 20 years as it keeps evolving. Besides that, it’s very difficult to move quickly in this industry in the USA. There are just too many regulations to comply with in order to get things done.


The alternative would have been waiting another year or two for the big launch. If it started with the arrival of 77W #1, if they broke ground on Polaris lounges in SFO, EWR and ORD at least, (IAH isn’t as bad as EWR, and LHR had already been made fabulous) I think timing would have been better. There were videos and ads all over for a long time before there was even the first trace of change.
Don’t underestimate how much better the Polaris seat is from current- it’s enormously better: on your eye as well as your butt. It’s awesome on the 77W, and will be even better on their 787s.
I’ve got 3 million BIS miles on UA. That took 25 years to do. I realize the fleet was much smaller before the merger but I’ve seen how long (or how fast) United took to change it’s seats and cabins a few times. I vividly recall the Pentagram changes, replete with videos etc. The new First, the new breakthrough J bed, and shades-of-blue livery. The timing on those changes was not bad. In fact, those backwards/forwards J bed seats (back then) were way ahead of Delta and American...even Lufthansa. UA was First with true flat beds fleet-wide.

I don’t know what happened behind closed doors and I am very understanding of good intentions gone awry, that all this started under Smisek and Oscar picked up the mess. And IMHO he’s done fabulously so far...especially with a heart transplant just after he takes the helm! He’s amazing.

I don’t have the answers, (I know nothing other than branding) but if Oscar could, take one month’s worth of change fees (which ought to equal a billion dollars nowadays...lol) and funnel all that revenue into a “Manhattan Project” to speed up Polaris - he should even if it means a bad quarter or two. But Wall St doesn’t like long term- they want green NOW, and lots of it. Wall St is why United doesn’t carve Chateaubriand at your seat anymore.
I do firmly believe that it’s United’s choice: they CAN become America’s big turn around story and premium/business fliers first choice airline. Everybody loves a “come back” story, especially in the USA!
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
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airzim
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:57 pm

VC10er wrote:
I don’t have the answers, (I know nothing other than branding) but if Oscar could, take one month’s worth of change fees (which ought to equal a billion dollars nowadays...lol) and funnel all that revenue into a “Manhattan Project” to speed up Polaris - he should even if it means a bad quarter or two. But Wall St doesn’t like long term- they want green NOW, and lots of it. Wall St is why United doesn’t carve Chateaubriand at your seat anymore.
I do firmly believe that it’s United’s choice: they CAN become America’s big turn around story and premium/business fliers first choice airline. Everybody loves a “come back” story, especially in the USA!


You make it sound so simple.

Fact is, every time you take a plane out for installation you’re losing money. United doesnt have the luxuary of pulling planes out to install Polaris and still run a full schedule. No airline does.

So they build it into the normal maintenance windows, and bite the bullet when they need to, generally in the slower winter months. which is exactly what they’re doing.

The other sad truth is Polaris doesn’t actually yield any increase in revenue. United is likely charging the same fares on Polaris as their current J design. So there’s no financial incentive to move any faster.
 
catiii
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:01 pm

OB1504 wrote:
airzim wrote:
FYI, DL and AA can’t gurantee you lie flat with direct aisle access either.


AA can. Last angled lie-flat 777 with 2-3-2 was retrofitted in September and the last angled lie-flat 767 with 2-2-2 was retired around the same time.

catiii wrote:
First off, it's 10% of the longhaul fleet that has the Polaris cabin hard product. Go do the math. And as noted above, it's a Zodiac issue. It took AA 5 years to do its retrofit. It took DL 6 years to its retrofit.

So if you're going to apply your usual manufactured outrage to anyone that isn't DL, apply it fairly and to DL as well.


5 years? AA started their 767 and 777 retrofits in 2014 and was done 3 years later. Granted, this was only possible by dropping Zodiac with less than half of the 777s done and going with the (superior) BE product for the rest.


From the WSJ:

"In 2012, American Airlines announced new lie-flat beds for its business class and even ran promotional videos on planes. The first seat didn’t actually fly until 2013, and American completed its retrofit only this year."

2017-2012=5
 
catiii
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:04 pm

Antarius wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
Amazing how a thread about UA turns into a DL measuring contest.

Back to the topic on hand - I do think that UA dropped the ball bigtime on the rollout. The 789s should have been delivered with the new seats - ripping the current ones out in a year makes no sense.


Seats and interior fittings, while last to be installed, still have significant lead times, upfront cost and deposits, and it would be completely unwise to pay the fines and damages to cancel those contracts and stop production, and at the same time spend a ton of money on a rush production program to expedite the seats and install to match the delivery program.

It really isn't like there's a warehouse in Everett with all of these seats in boxes waiting on someone to swipe their card and install them over the weekend. All of these seats are custom designed and built. It really isn't so simple.


Which is why UA likely has a department dedicated to supply chain and planning.

789s being delivered with old seats 13 months after announcing Polaris' rollout is pretty poor. No matter what the penalties or worst case even if you have to pay for the seats and leave them in a warehouse somewhere.


So your suggestion is for UA to put the defective seats on the plane and take delivery? Or pay for the defective seats and store them?

Hmmm....
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:30 pm

airzim wrote:
VC10er wrote:
I don’t have the answers, (I know nothing other than branding) but if Oscar could, take one month’s worth of change fees (which ought to equal a billion dollars nowadays...lol) and funnel all that revenue into a “Manhattan Project” to speed up Polaris - he should even if it means a bad quarter or two. But Wall St doesn’t like long term- they want green NOW, and lots of it. Wall St is why United doesn’t carve Chateaubriand at your seat anymore.
I do firmly believe that it’s United’s choice: they CAN become America’s big turn around story and premium/business fliers first choice airline. Everybody loves a “come back” story, especially in the USA!


You make it sound so simple.

Fact is, every time you take a plane out for installation you’re losing money. United doesnt have the luxuary of pulling planes out to install Polaris and still run a full schedule. No airline does.

So they build it into the normal maintenance windows, and bite the bullet when they need to, generally in the slower winter months. which is exactly what they’re doing.

The other sad truth is Polaris doesn’t actually yield any increase in revenue. United is likely charging the same fares on Polaris as their current J design. So there’s no financial incentive to move any faster.


I did admit I know nothing! And I’m. Certain that it’s 10x more complex than even my wildest imagination- so I do indeed give UA a pass and continue to fly them for business anyway. I went to LHR last month in business and flew United, I could have chosen anyone. (Although a powerful motivator is MP status retention) - so I deal with climbing over people and dated old clubs.

I also realize they cannot charge more. But I do realize that investment does ultimately pay back and given my few full Polaris experiences thus far on the 77W, and a couple of Polaris lounges, I believe the United brand stands a very strong change to attract a larger audience- especially the most valuable ones.
I am sure (although guessing) they are not getting the premium fliers outside the USA that they could and that will create much stronger returns. Closing gaps between 4/5 Star airlines as soon as feasible will create more profitable routes and/or add frequencies on very profitable routes.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
quiet1
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:37 pm

I've read that the installation of Polaris seats on the 767s is combined with some extensive work to extend the productive lifetime of the airframe since UA has now committed to keeping the 767s longer. Can anybody here confirm that?

Also, in online reviews of the El Al new 787s the J seats are called very similar to UA Polaris but are made by another manufacturer (Recaro?) If UA is still experiencing delivery delays from Zodiac, is it possible for UA to switch seat manufacturers? Surely, there must be some provision in the sales contract that if Zodiac can't keep up, they lose they contract?
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:13 pm

I have wondered that myself! Could a second supplier replicate the whole design (for consistency) and increase production. But perhaps the basic design (without the customization) is patented and UA can give the technical drawings to another supplier.
I acknowledge everything I don’t know, all the complexities, and I’m certain those responsible for Polaris roll out at UA want it to go as fast as possible too. I don’t know if throwing more money at it would make a difference or not.
I’m just immature and impatient.
I’m looking forward to the ribbon cutting on the EWR Polaris lounge, that is a huge space and I’m hoping they put in something special.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:13 pm

I have wondered that myself! Could a second supplier replicate the whole design (for consistency) and increase production. But perhaps the basic design (without the customization) is patented and UA can give the technical drawings to another supplier.
I acknowledge everything I don’t know, all the complexities, and I’m certain those responsible for Polaris roll out at UA want it to go as fast as possible too. I don’t know if throwing more money at it would make a difference or not.
I’m just immature and impatient.
I’m looking forward to the ribbon cutting on the EWR Polaris lounge, that is a huge space and I’m hoping they put in something special.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
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ua900
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:51 pm

irelayer wrote:
ua900 wrote:
As for the lounges, places like EWR C120 were a nightmare before the remodel, completely overcrowded, poor food choices, enjoy your hard earned stay. SFO was so good that people flooded Amex Centurion. If there's a message here for UA in regards to clubs it's that they need to up the price (or comp less) while also drastically improving the product (to Centurion levels) and my best guess is that they aren't able to do this as long as Sodexo style catering is in place. If Amex opens up in EWR, ORD or LAX UA clubs are toast, and that includes the Polaris club at ORD.


God the food choices at the UA Domestic Clubs are absolutely awful. It's like packaged crackers, cut up cheese, a soup, some veggies/dip..come on. Give me at least ONE hot meal choice and I'd be happy.

And their el cheapo booze options are really sad too. The amount of people who have to ask for beer, wine, or a drink and be told it'll cost them money indicates that people aren't used to paying for things in a lounge.

So embarrassing.

On a side note, I don't know if most people know this already, but if you are *G and find yourself at LAX with some time to kill, you can use the *A Lounge in TBIT which is about a 30 minute walk (airside) from T7. EVEN if you are flying domestic UA.

-IR


Good point. And in SFO and IAH you can go to the Centurion, same problem that AA is facing at DFW, PHL and MIA and DL in SEA. To me that's their biggest competition if they find a way into ORD (say near the USO rotunda since it's between AA and UA and accessible to both or at a place like EWR since it UA clubs are really just overcrowed due to lack of alternatives. To me, UA doing Classified at EWR is very foolish because 1) it's publicly known to exist, ticking of the 1Ks who get left out in favor of GS and 2) because Classified doesn't reach Centurion standards.

If I were UA, I'd also play close attention to Priority Pass comping restaurant meals in places like DEN now, because that too can impact paid club memberships. While I don't work for UA and therefore don't have metrics on paid memberships, I can imagine that a more educated customer base will quickly figure out the value in competitive offers vis-à-vis the current paid club membership product. UA needs to be on their toes there or might as well close their clubs.

glbltrvlr wrote:
ua900 wrote:
Having said that, the glass globes in which their serve their sundaes apparently shattered easily when exposed to cold :banghead:, their entertainment systems were still subject to snafus, their amenity kits didn't become any better, they took away the plastic goblets and the piece of chocolate for pre-departure, and their food didn't become better.


You forgot to mention the plush white polar bears. :) I rather liked those...


Haha, my kids love 'em. Seemed like hit and miss on these, I had some flights that really didn't have them for a month and then they did and now they're gone again. Probably found a couple boxes in storage somewhere. Goes to illustrate that consistently good experience is valued. Singapore still has the F/As do stitched names on their bears though, so I think UA lost that one ;-)
2020: AMS | ATL | BRU | DAL | DEN | DFW | EWR | FRA | GUA | IAH | LAX | LIM | MCO | MUC | ORD | PTY | SAL | SCL | SFO | TPA | TXL
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:57 am

ua900 wrote:
irelayer wrote:
ua900 wrote:
As for the lounges, places like EWR C120 were a nightmare before the remodel, completely overcrowded, poor food choices, enjoy your hard earned stay. SFO was so good that people flooded Amex Centurion. If there's a message here for UA in regards to clubs it's that they need to up the price (or comp less) while also drastically improving the product (to Centurion levels) and my best guess is that they aren't able to do this as long as Sodexo style catering is in place. If Amex opens up in EWR, ORD or LAX UA clubs are toast, and that includes the Polaris club at ORD.


God the food choices at the UA Domestic Clubs are absolutely awful. It's like packaged crackers, cut up cheese, a soup, some veggies/dip..come on. Give me at least ONE hot meal choice and I'd be happy.

And their el cheapo booze options are really sad too. The amount of people who have to ask for beer, wine, or a drink and be told it'll cost them money indicates that people aren't used to paying for things in a lounge.

So embarrassing.

On a side note, I don't know if most people know this already, but if you are *G and find yourself at LAX with some time to kill, you can use the *A Lounge in TBIT which is about a 30 minute walk (airside) from T7. EVEN if you are flying domestic UA.

-IR


Good point. And in SFO and IAH you can go to the Centurion, same problem that AA is facing at DFW, PHL and MIA and DL in SEA. To me that's their biggest competition if they find a way into ORD (say near the USO rotunda since it's between AA and UA and accessible to both or at a place like EWR since it UA clubs are really just overcrowed due to lack of alternatives. To me, UA doing Classified at EWR is very foolish because 1) it's publicly known to exist, ticking of the 1Ks who get left out in favor of GS and 2) because Classified doesn't reach Centurion standards.

If I were UA, I'd also play close attention to Priority Pass comping restaurant meals in places like DEN now, because that too can impact paid club memberships. While I don't work for UA and therefore don't have metrics on paid memberships, I can imagine that a more educated customer base will quickly figure out the value in competitive offers vis-à-vis the current paid club membership product. UA needs to be on their toes there or might as well close their clubs.

glbltrvlr wrote:
ua900 wrote:
Having said that, the glass globes in which their serve their sundaes apparently shattered easily when exposed to cold :banghead:, their entertainment systems were still subject to snafus, their amenity kits didn't become any better, they took away the plastic goblets and the piece of chocolate for pre-departure, and their food didn't become better.


You forgot to mention the plush white polar bears. :) I rather liked those...


Haha, my kids love 'em. Seemed like hit and miss on these, I had some flights that really didn't have them for a month and then they did and now they're gone again. Probably found a couple boxes in storage somewhere. Goes to illustrate that consistently good experience is valued. Singapore still has the F/As do stitched names on their bears though, so I think UA lost that one ;-)


I don’t think Classified is a “very stupid” idea at all. I can’t say I’m familiar with the Centurian lounge (except for Brazil and I was not impressed by it there)
I was at Classified last Sunday. The food was very good, not 5 Stars, but plenty good enough. They did a nice birthday for my friend. Our server was lovely and we struck up a conversation. I asked if he’s seen many famous people there, he said Madonna was there waiting for her fight to Lisbon, and he named a few famous actors (who are currently slipping my mind) and news figures like Anderson Cooper. Many taking ps, others to Europe.
Have you been to Classified? It’s beautiful inside and all the windows face the apron. We had our 77W parked in front of us!
It hasn’t been that crowded the 4 times I’ve gone and even this past Sunday with the large club closed there were plenty of tables open ...it’s FAR better than a club because it’s quiet and the table has power so you can work and charge your stuff. You can pay with money or miles and 20% off if you use a United Chase card. Also: FREE champagne etc. I don’t get what’s so stupid about it?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
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ua900
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:28 am

VC10er wrote:
I don’t think Classified is a “very stupid” idea at all. I can’t say I’m familiar with the Centurian lounge (except for Brazil and I was not impressed by it there)
I was at Classified last Sunday. The food was very good, not 5 Stars, but plenty good enough. They did a nice birthday for my friend. Our server was lovely and we struck up a conversation. I asked if he’s seen many famous people there, he said Madonna was there waiting for her fight to Lisbon, and he named a few famous actors (who are currently slipping my mind) and news figures like Anderson Cooper. Many taking ps, others to Europe.
Have you been to Classified? It’s beautiful inside and all the windows face the apron. We had our 77W parked in front of us!
It hasn’t been that crowded the 4 times I’ve gone and even this past Sunday with the large club closed there were plenty of tables open ...it’s FAR better than a club because it’s quiet and the table has power so you can work and charge your stuff. You can pay with money or miles and 20% off if you use a United Chase card. Also: FREE champagne etc. I don’t get what’s so stupid about it?


Here's why I say that:

1. Timing. When it first came out, everyone I knew was excited to check if they got access. As a 1K who's close to 1MM (and I know you outrank me there) I didn't get invited. Excitement went out the door, resignation set in when settling at the C clubs on the next West Coast-Europe layover, went out of my way to avoid EWR, even routing back through ORD like in the old days of UA. Screw EWR, screw UA clubs there, screw Classified. It seemed to fit well with the "Polaris" posters everywhere vs. the sad reality. Bad timing.

2. Disappointment when finally "being on the list". I now have access, yippie. It's like a Delmonico, but not like say Michael Mina. Pricey, and comparing that whole experience with say Timberline in DEN, I'd rather have a comped $30 steak of decent quality at DEN than a $60 steak with a discount that essentially covers the tip at EWR. Ditto for the Centurion, try them in SFO, DFW or IAH. All inclusive, not too crowded when compared to UA, all you can eat and drink, decent quality, light years away from sad UA clubs and / or pretentious Classified. The Classified menu is consistent with the prices, it's equitable but I don't see UA add any value there. It reminds me of the reserved table in Europe or a Séparée, a nice gesture for the regulars, but not warranting the hoopla that some people make around it. It's not Alinea or the French Laundry, it's a somewhat upscale restaurant with a seating area on the side that presumably isn't available to hoi polloi.

3. Mixed messages to customers. UA said so much about bringing in hospitality professionals to manage the clubs and make them better. And sure, a soup and salad type deal is better than 3/4 ounce cheese with a coke (although I have no idea why you'd only have that available at a bar, feels like I should give her $1, but then again it's a coke). But for UA clubs right now, it's still a Sodexo type experience. ORD is better but at the expense of space. Then you do Classified, basically saying that UA clubs can never be as good as Classified. Should people pay for this *and* the clubs? Where is UA trying to go with this? In places like LAX or ORD the remodeled clubs look much nicer, but are still devoid of good food and beverages.

4. A look at the competition. Centurion combined with Priority Pass delivers more value than a club membership. When I see an expanding and optimistic network of lounges vs. the old tired and limited network of UA, I have to say that I'd rather be at MCO, DEN or elsewhere in the competitive clubs. A bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce costs like $1 at Smart and Final, yet UA cuts little things like that. What kind of culinary combo is a "hearty vegetable soup" combined with say grated cheese and some salad toppers? Compare that to the chef designed meals and mixology drinks at Centurion, or even a bottle of Perrier plus a sandwich at MCO or the $30 comped steak at DEN. It's so much better.
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VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:34 am

Well, it sucks you didn’t get in. Being 1k should have done the trick. But I don’t think they (UA) ever published the criteria to get a reservation. Perhaps it was full?
There are no Centurion lounges at EWR (at least in TC) and I take your word that they are great.
Me thinks that United created Classified as a stop-gap measure. The clubs at EWR have been a stain on the brand for too many years and they have taken so long to even pull up the first carpet tile.

No, I don’t think the food is amazing in Classified, but I have enjoyed it. When I went to London recently it was great to have had a “decent but not fabulous” hamburger before my flight and actually use my time on board for a longer sleep.

Is Centurion opening up a lounge at EWR? Otherwise the cities you mentioned above are places I have no idea if I will ever be.

You do seem like more of a foodie than I am. The reason I like Classified is that it is a better experience than the United Club and it’s pretty inside. (I get that is just a back room of Sodexo/Sason) Once the new big Polaris Lounge is finished in July, I may never go back to Classified.

I just didn’t agree it was “very stupid”...perhaps undwhelming for some, but it sure is private and quiet and with great service is good enough for me.

You also may travel more flights and more destinations than I do. I usually tend to go to the same places over and over (GIG, LHR, FRA, GVA, SFO, and MIA) with a couple of unexpected trips a year.

I do wonder what kind of food offerings there will be in this mega Polaris lounge- and rumor has is saying it’s going to be even bigger, that UA found more space (I can’t confirm that)
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:34 pm

Yesterday I got a email survey from United, different than the one they always send after a flight.

This one was a survey solely about their Business class and how their Business stand up to other airlines. Cant be random; I had just completed a round trip international flight on the 77W which I would rate very highly and did so on the post flight survey. It was really nice, especially the bulkhead seat which feels even that much more spacious, the 15 hour flight was great, other than no Ch 9!
Otherwise, I was pretty darn harsh. (not that it will change anything). I used the survey to underscore my frustration around the lack of chances to get the true Polaris hard product and experience I just had - and lack (or slowness) for the Polaris lounge buildout at EWR especially.
I found the survey interesting because it's hardly the time to ask! They KNOW very well that the old seats are behind many others or at least nothing special vs most other major airlines, such as: LH, LX, BA, AF, DL, AA, QF and even Singapore, Etihad and Emirates (all airlines they listed in the survey among others, including a blank box to fill in an airline of my choice)
The survey did include boxes to write in, and that is where I made my distinction between old and new and that I have been disappointed by the pace of change. (I know, I know, these things don't happen quickly, but heck they asked for my opinion and I gave it...I did thank them for asking)

Have any of you gotten this particular survey?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
Justapax
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:08 pm

VC10ER: I am not a travel blogger who gets paid for recommending credit cards and I don't work in the credit card or banking industries. But you should get yourself an Amex Platinum card so you can try out the Centurion Lounges. Just so you have something to compare airline club lounges to. (By the way - love your posts!)
 
United1
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:14 pm

JHwk wrote:
B737900ER wrote:
What’s the alternative? Do you spend six years to retrofit all of the planes and then start advertising? You’d then be promoting a seven year old seat and we’d roast UA for that. I think for UA Polaris is the premium experience, and that should extend beyond what the seat looks like. If you are trying to build a brand with Polaris you want it to be around in 20 years as it keeps evolving. Besides that, it’s very difficult to move quickly in this industry in the USA. There are just too many regulations to comply with in order to get things done.

Customers would be more understanding if there was visible progress. United screwed up on Polaris branding, badly.


Well if you want progress UA now has 3 763s with Polaris in service vs the 1 that was in service when this thread started two weeks ago....there are two more in the shop.

Seat roll outs take years on all airlines.
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ua900
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:33 pm

VC10er wrote:
Well, it sucks you didn’t get in. Being 1k should have done the trick. But I don’t think they (UA) ever published the criteria to get a reservation. Perhaps it was full?
There are no Centurion lounges at EWR (at least in TC) and I take your word that they are great.
Me thinks that United created Classified as a stop-gap measure. The clubs at EWR have been a stain on the brand for too many years and they have taken so long to even pull up the first carpet tile.

No, I don’t think the food is amazing in Classified, but I have enjoyed it. When I went to London recently it was great to have had a “decent but not fabulous” hamburger before my flight and actually use my time on board for a longer sleep.

Is Centurion opening up a lounge at EWR? Otherwise the cities you mentioned above are places I have no idea if I will ever be.

You do seem like more of a foodie than I am. The reason I like Classified is that it is a better experience than the United Club and it’s pretty inside. (I get that is just a back room of Sodexo/Sason) Once the new big Polaris Lounge is finished in July, I may never go back to Classified.

I just didn’t agree it was “very stupid”...perhaps undwhelming for some, but it sure is private and quiet and with great service is good enough for me.

You also may travel more flights and more destinations than I do. I usually tend to go to the same places over and over (GIG, LHR, FRA, GVA, SFO, and MIA) with a couple of unexpected trips a year.

I do wonder what kind of food offerings there will be in this mega Polaris lounge- and rumor has is saying it’s going to be even bigger, that UA found more space (I can’t confirm that)


As I said, I now have access. When it first came out, I didn't. I guess UA first restricted access too much, and then opened it up. But it was a bummer to log on months ago to find out there's no access. IMO companies that bother doing targeted programs should contact affected customers directly instead of giving them a website to find out. What they did was a bit like saying "find out if you made GS this year" by going to this website. Unintentional let down to everyone who doesn't make it, instead of being the intended treat for those who do.

Centurion isn't currently opening a lounge at EWR, but if they ever do UA paid memberships there will be severely impacted. Same story for ORD, where the setup actually allows Centurion to conveniently serve both UA and AA customers. If you like Classified because it's a better experience than UA and pretty inside, the same can be said for the Centurions stateside, SFO, IAH, DFW. For example, on your next trip to SFO, check out the Centurion in T3, it's on par with the UA Int'l First lounge in G, and slots above the UA clubs in T3 and G.

To me, Polaris is a great idea, but it gets so crowded at ORD. They need to have the same size as UA Club at LAX near 70, but there for example they want to take the Rotunda club and turn that into Polaris. Too small since the Polaris cabins are bigger than the old sUA int'l first cabin. Same issue if they make the SFO Global First lounge the new Polaris lounge. UA had 8 seats in GF, that's now 30-50 seats in Polaris. The lounge needs to be around five times as big to create the same spacious feeling, it's basic math, and UA fails to do the basic math at present if I look at ORD.

VC10er wrote:
Yesterday I got a email survey from United, different than the one they always send after a flight.

Have any of you gotten this particular survey?


Yup, got mine after flying the "New Spirit of United" (the first 77W) in Polaris from HKG to SFO. They are clearly more concerned about getting narratives, hence the free form. I think it's helpful as customer since it allows me to cover things they might have missed. They are behind in the seats compared to some other foreign carriers, but among the US3 their Polaris hard product is top notch. As others have pointed out, it can take a while to get everything right, and I see that they're still trying to figure out the product even through the official rollout as a while back. I see Polaris right now as the desire to get better, and after the last couple years, that's something I can appreciate. I wish them luck and I think they can work out the kinks. If they want more money for their product, as some foreign carriers do, then they need to deliver a customer experience that's on par with them. Good for them that they are making Polaris and
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jjb415
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:33 pm

As a United Club member and also Platinum American Express cardholder with access to the Centurion Lounges, I have to say that many times in San Francisco, I prefer the UC due to severe overcrowding at the SF Centurion. Luckily my entrance to the Centurion in IAH, DFW, and MIA have been during slow times. I've seen some nice improvements in UC's since the 90's and 00's. The service by UA agents and staff in the UC's is every bit as friendly as those I've encountered in AA and DL lounges.
 
VC10er
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Re: Why Does UA Struggle With Polaris Lounge Roll Outs?

Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:19 pm

I do have an AMEX PLATINUM for my business and I started a thread on “best airline cards” in “Polls & Preferences” - I look forward to a time when I can try a good Centurion Lounge. In fact I look forward to using a true Polaris Lounge. I hope the EWR Polaris Lounge will be amazing- God knows how long we’ve suffered with the old President’s Club! Until the end they still had coffee tables that had a round hole in it for the early 1990’s credit card phones! And the lighting! My gosh, it was like Yankee Stadium in there.
I love interior design and that is why I love visiting new clubs. I love to see the talent of great space designers come to fruition. I am hoping United puts some real eye candy in the new EWR Polaris Lounge. It’s such a critical hub for them to points all over the world.
On the 77W, I do love the new seat. It’s not the very best there is, but it’s more than enough for me. I was in a bulkhead window on a 15+ hour flight and I was SAD when I heard the engines wind down. I was in such a comfortable and cozy sleep. (Much of that is the engine. It helps me sleep. I was wondering if I could ever get a 767 engine mounted outside my bedroom window)
It does feel though that United isn’t fully comfortable with Polaris yet. My FA’s were good, but I had to ask for things I felt I should’ve been offered.
“Would you like PJ’s?” (Which are very comfortable and I’m wearing them now at home as I write)
“Would you like to do a wine flight?” (Until I asked I thought perhaps they had done away with that nice touch)
“Would you like turndown service?” (I would have said ‘no thank you’ but if they don’t offer, it’s hard to know they do it. And it’s not the first time UA has offered it, legacy UA used to in GF with the first flat beds)
The cabin IMHO is gorgeous. The lit bulkhead design, the beautiful lit branded entry way with the bas-relief sculpted globe.
They need to put their Polaris training people on Singapore and say “now do that, perhaps not quite as much, but close”
Thanks all for the tips and AWESOME news on the 767s! I can’t wait for that flight as a 767 tube is perfect in size, (767 Feng Shui!)
As per the 767 thread, I do hope UA gets 50 new 767s!
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.

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