SQTalk  

Go Back   SQTalk > General > Trip Reports

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 29th June 2019, 03:33 PM   #1
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default UA2 SIN-SFO 787-9 Polaris Business to San Francisco, Baseball and Yo-Yo Ma in Chicago

Having done 4 nonstop round trips to the West Coast of the USA from Singapore, I feel quite comfortable declaring that as far as travelling SIN-SFO is concerned, nonstop is the way to go. Whatever your class of service, boarding in Singapore and deplaning in San Francisco 15 hours later is just so much more pleasant than having to deal with the hassle of an intermediate stop.



My previous three round trips were in UA 787-9 Economy (Y) on the SIN-SFO and SIN-LAX sectors, and SQ A350 Premium Economy (PEY) SIN-SFO. I found these trips quite comfortable, even in economy/premium. But what was the business class experience like?

Earlier this month, I flew on UA2, United's nonstop service from Singapore to San Francisco, in Business Class.

This was branded by United as Polaris Business Class. That said, United's marketing team uses the Polaris branding quite broadly, using the term Polaris to refer to the relaunched UA business product overall, including service, catering, cabin amenities, and not specifically to the new Polaris seat product, which is still being progressively rolled out across the United fleet.

At this point in time, only some of United's fleet have the new Polaris seat: Those which have the new hard product are all of United's 77W's (777-300ER's) and United's 787-10's, and some of their 772's and 763's. A useful progress tracker can be found here.

Currently, though, none of United's 787-9's and 787-8's have the new Polaris seat.

The first 787-9's will be retrofitted at the end of this year, but that means that at the moment, all of United's 787-9 nonstop services from Singapore to San Francisco will have the earlier generation business class seats, in 2-2-2 layout, pictured below:



That said, this B/E Aerospace Diamond business class seat on the 787-9, which United operates on the SIN-SFO sector, is a modern, comfortable seat which reclines into a fully flat bed. All other Polaris amenities, such as bedding and revamped catering are offered on the SIN-SFO sector, and this is the product I experienced on my flight.

I spent a few days in San Francisco before heading to Chicago in United Economy Class.



In Chicago, I watched a baseball game between two rival Chicago teams, the Cubs and the White Sox. This was played at Wrigley Field, a historic ballpark, where the atmosphere during the game was electric.



The atmosphere was just as electric later in the week, at Millenium Park in Chicago, where superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma played a free concert at the open air Jay Pritzker Pavilion, as part of his ongoing Bach Project.



Till that point, the trip had proceeded like clockwork. However, on my return sector, ORD-SFO-SIN in United Economy, a delayed ORD-SFO leg snowballed into a misconnect and a missed SFO-SIN flight. Thankfully this whole sector was on a single ticket, which meant it was UA's responsibility to get me safely back to Singapore, which they eventually did...more on that experience later in this TR...

TR INDEX

1. Introduction
2. Changi T2 Lounges - SIA SilverKris Lounge vs SATS Premier Lounge
3. Flight - UA2 787-9 Dreamliner SIN-SFO in Polaris Business Class
4. Destination & Run - San Francisco
5. Flight - UA 737-900 SFO-ORD in Economy Class
6. Destination & Run - Chicago
7. Flight - UA 757-300 ORD-SFO in Economy Class
8. Misconnect!
9. Flight - UA29 787-9 Dreamliner SFO-SIN in Economy Class
10. Final Reflections

Last edited by yflyer; 22nd July 2019 at 12:58 AM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 04:22 PM   #2
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

Waking up for UA2, an 8.45am departure, wasn't too much of a challenge. The dawn sky was still a brilliant orange as I headed to the airport...



If my departure was any later in the day, I would have first headed to Jewel for a look around...



...but today I went straight to T2...



Hardly any check-in queues at 7.05am...



Separate check in counters for United Polaris / Premier 1K...



My seat was 1st row bulkhead window seat 1L...



Boarding time, departure time, and also arrival time in SFO, were printed on the boarding pass...a nice touch.

I headed airside...



The T2 lounges were one level up from the main departure level...


Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 01:00 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 04:34 PM   #3
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

As Star Gold travelling in United Business, I was entitled to use either the SATS Premier Lounge or the SIA SilverKris Lounge...

Which lounge to visit? I had visited both these lounges in the past, and to be brutally honest, I found both these lounges to be ok, but nothing special...

On that morning, I decided to revisit both of them to do a back-to-back comparison...

First the SQ SilverKris Lounge...



The seating area was comfortable enough, and not too crowded, but this was a completely windowless space, and my preference was still a lounge with airside views...



The dining area was fairly busy, with many pax enjoying breakfast before their flight...



Apart from the usual selection of Asian/International F&B, there was a live station where a pair of cheerful and very friendly staff were serving up bowls of delicious mee siam...



I could not resist a bowl...



Mmmm....very good...

Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 10:20 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 04:50 PM   #4
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

After polishing off the mee siam, I headed across to the SATS Premier Lounge...



Although the decor in the Premier Lounge was less luxurious and stylish than the SQ lounge, I found that I preferred the ambience in this lounge, which was much brighter, with windows and natural light.



The F&B area...



The featured local dish in this lounge was Laksa...



I was too full from my mee siam to contemplate breakfast number 2, but I did ask a gentleman next to me if I could snap a picture of his laksa, and he was happy to oblige...



Like the SilverKris Lounge, the Premier Lounge also had shower facilities...



So which lounge to choose?

I would say both the SilverKris Lounge and the SATS Premier Lounge were decent, but unexceptional. Both would have been fine for a quick coffee and breakfast before a morning flight. But to paraphrase Marie Kondo, did either of these lounges spark joy? For me, not really...

Personally, the decision on which lounge to visit would boil down to whether I felt like mee siam or laksa for breakfast...

Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 10:23 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:02 PM   #5
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

I headed to the gate...

There was a dedicated boarding lane for "Premier Access", which included Star Gold pax...



At the gate, Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 rego N35953, a 4 and a half year old aircraft...



Boarding by groups, although Group 1 wasn't actually first to board...they asked Global Services (Their topmost tier) and Premier 1K to board first, before Group 1.



I boarded with Group 1...



The Business Class Cabin, in 2-2-2 layout...



While all J seats were forward facing, they were slightly offset to an angle...



...with each seat extending into a cubby hole in front for additional foot space...


Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 01:30 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:07 PM   #6
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

There was an impressive set of bedding, from Saks Fifth Avenue, at each seat...



This comprised a large soft white pillow, as well as a smaller memory foam pillow in light blue...



There was a light woven blanket...



...as well as a thicker, rolled up duvet, all of which could be purchased at the United online shop...



And if all that wasn't enough, there was also a limited number of Saks mattress toppers available in case anyone needed an even softer sleeping surface...


Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 01:31 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:19 PM   #7
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

The seat wasn't particularly wide, but it was very long.

Adjustable headrest...



My first row bulkhead seat, 1L, had a noticeably larger cubby hole than the regular J seats...



There was a narrow shelf above the cubby hole which was perfect to store a tablet or notebook computer...



Magazine slot and screen controller by the side of the seat...



Intuitive and easy to use seat controls (Located in a spot almost impossible to bump by accident...)...



Storage shelf by the side, with and headphone storage...



A/C and USB power available. The headphone socket took a standard 3.5mm miniplug (additional socket used to power noise-cancelling headphones)...

Noise-cancelling headphones...



Reading light...


Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 01:03 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:24 PM   #8
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

The tray table folded out of the side of the seat...





This was a large and sturdy tray table...



The tray table didn't swivel, though, so there was no way to leave your seat unless you stowed it.

Electronically controlled windows...





What I found interesting was that I had two windows for my seat, and each had a control, but any one control would dim or brighten both windows together.



Being able to brighten/darken both windows together was convenient, but the trade-off was that it would not be possible to have one window bright and the other dim...
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:28 PM   #9
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

The cabin crew were friendly, and welcomed me onboard, addressing me by name throughout the flight...

I was offered a pre-departure beverage...either juice, sparkling wine (A French Blanc de blanc -- proper champagne would be available after take-off...) or a mimosa, which was Orange juice mixed with the sparkling wine...



I opted for a Mimosa...


Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 10:26 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:37 PM   #10
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

I browsed the menu for the flight...

Separate card for drinks...





The menu...





On this flight, lunch would be served, with 4 choices of main available...



as well as breakfast prior to arrival, and snacks in between...



One thing I learned was that upon boarding UA Business, it was important to read the menu right away and make up your mind very quickly what you wanted to eat...

Not long after boarding, the cabin crew came around and asked for my 1st and 2nd choice of entree for lunch...at that point I didn't know the drill, and needed more time, so they went on to the other pax (Who were all ready with their choices!) before coming back to me later...
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:41 PM   #11
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

There was a new Spiderman-themed Safety video...





...which, like the previous UA safety video, also included a cameo from United CEO Oscar Munoz...



Apparently United has a part in the new movie, Spiderman: Far from Home...

yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:48 PM   #12
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

15 hour flight time today...



Take-off from Runway 20C...



...with the GEnx engines at full take-off power sounding very, very quiet from seat 1L...



Great views of the Singapore coastline upon departure...



Marina Bay Sands, Marina Barrage and Sports Hub all visible out the right side windows...



...before a slow left turn, setting a north-easterly course across the Pacific...

Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 04:40 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 05:55 PM   #13
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

Cabin service began with a hot towel...



Rather than a thick curtain used by many other airlines, the curtain separating J and Y cabins was a clear see-through affair...



I examined the amenity kit, which came in a tin...



Socks, toothbrush and toothpaste. Lip balm, hand moisturiser and refreshing towelette from Cowshed. Apart from the usual items, the packet of facial tissues and ball point pen were a nice touch...



The eye shades were an unusual (And quite comfortable...) design...



Very attractive pyjamas were handed out...



Many pax actually took the trouble to change into these for the flight...this almost became the J class uniform onboard...

Bedroom slippers...



From these amenities, as well as the onboard bedding, it was clear that giving pax a good night's sleep was a priority for United's Polaris business class revamp.

Last edited by yflyer; 30th June 2019 at 05:36 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 06:12 PM   #14
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

IFE on this flight was on a large, clear touchscreen. Movies, TV and audio were available. Picture and audio quality were both great.



As the screen was quite far from the seat, I did find that I used the handheld controller more than the actual touchscreen.

Audio selections were available in various genres, but there were comparatively few choices. There were playlists only - no CD on demand selections.



Maybe United felt that these days pax would have their own music on their phones/tablets.

By contrast, the movie and TV selections were very good, if not quite as comprehensive as SQ's Krisworld.

The movie selection included both new releases and older favourites...



TV selections





TV selections included box sets...



...which included selections like "The Man in the High Castle"...



...and an entire category called "Guilty Pleasures"...



IFE aside, the United inflight magazine, Hemispheres, also made for great reading...


Last edited by yflyer; 29th June 2019 at 06:41 PM..
yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2019, 06:14 PM   #15
yflyer
SQTalk Life Solitaire PPS LPP3
 
Join Date: 12-May-2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: Krisflyer/Star Gold, Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 6,392
Default

The inflight map was 2D only ()...





yflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +8. The time now is 08:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Techadmin: Luke | Hosting: www.lomag.net