Last week Jen and I decided to go to the island of Oahu for a quick getaway. While I went to Hawaii last fall, Jen hadn’t been to Hawaii since summer 2019, when we sat in the older United Business Class cabin where seats were in a 2-4-2 format. This time around, for lie flat seating we had the chance to sit in United Polaris seats. United primarily utilizes its flagship United Polaris cabin for flights from San Francisco to Hawaii. This was a significant upgrade since our last visit together and the United Polaris has been my go to cabin of choice when flying out of SFO since the airport is a major United hub.
3 Months before departure, I booked our flights using a combination of United miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I had some remaining United Miles from the last few years( at one point I had accumulated almost 500k United Miles) and had been burning through my stash since the program got devalued. When looking for flights to Hawaii, I always place an emphasis on finding lie flat seating. This trip cost us about 50k United miles for our outbound flight and roughly 40k Chase Points for our return. Chase is one of my favorite credit card programs and I love their wide range of business cards with phenomenal earning rates. For about 50k United Miles and 40k Chase points per person we were able to snag United Polaris seats to Hawaii.
Our flight was scheduled to leave around 2 in the afternoon, so we arrived at the airport around 11. Shout out to my amazing younger brother for giving us a quick lift to the airport! Once we got to SFO, we quickly checked in our bags using United’s Premier Access area. This was seamless and within a couple of minutes our bags had been tagged with Star Alliance Priority and we were on our way to security. While Jen didn’t have TSA pre, I currently have Global Entry courtesy of the American Express Platinum Card which also gives TSA pre-check and I sped through security in a couple of minutes.
After going through security, Jen and I went over to the American Express lounge to relax and grab a quick bite. The lounge was fairly empty at 11:30 AM but by the time we left, there was a queue outside to get into the lounge. American Express does plan to revamp the SFO lounge to increase capacity, along with making changes to the guest policy, but these won’t go into effect until after this year. The food was so-so but the lounge did provide us a place to relax before out flight.
The Plane and Cabin
While I really love flying in the United 787 Dreamliner, our flight this time was on the Boeing 777-300er which contains 60 Polaris suites. The United Polaris suites are magnificent especially for domestic flights to Hawaii where most airlines only have the standard large armchair style seats. The cabin was nicely configured and seats were looked relatively new and clean.
Food and Service
For most of my travels, airplane food has been hit or miss. While United is certainly not at the bottom of the pack, their meals tend to be middle of road and a wild card. I have had several wonderful meals, but also several “What Are Those” meals. This time, United’s Beef Shortrib definitely hit the spot.
Once we boarded the plane, a flight attendant came over and took my lunch order. Jen’s flight attendant came a little bit later, but both our orders were taken pre-flight and we were even given champagne before takeoff. This was a drastic change from half a year ago where, but as covid starts to dwindle, it looks like we may be returning to pre-covid service. Jen and I both ordered the Beef Short Rib over rice and I was wowed. This was the second time I had United’s beef short rib and both times the meal has been amazing.
Overall Jen and I thoroughly enjoyed our flight to Hawaii. Given the choice again, I wouldn’t hesitate to book us on United Polaris seats, even if the cost was a bit hefty. I definitely enjoyed the flight and arrived on the beautiful island of Oahu refreshed and well rested. To top things off, even airplane food was rather solid(something you don’t see too often). Jen and I had a wonderful time and we definitely look forward to our next journey aboard United Polaris.