United 767-300 business class review: Polaris is underrated!

United 767-300 business class full cabin

I’ll admit it. I was skeptical of United 767-300 Polaris business class before doing this review. After all, the 767-300 isn’t exactly a modern aircraft anymore, and United business class hasn’t had the best reputation over the years.

As usual, my skepticism was unfounded. Yeah, the 767-300 is getting on in age, but United‘s Polaris business class product on this aircraft is incredibly good.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say “stunning” or “spectacular”, but pretty freaking decent is a good way to describe it.

UA493
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Washington, DC (IAD)
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Aircraft: 767-322/ER
Registration: N671UA
Duration: 5 hours 2 minutes
Seat: 9A (Polaris / business class)

United Airlines 767-300 side view
United Airlines 767-300 side view illustration by Norebbo.com
UA493 flight track
Our route from Los Angeles to Washington DC today as UA493

The video

Just as much as I wasn’t excited about writing a United 767-300 Polaris review, I wasn’t all that thrilled about making a video about it either. Until I stepped onboard the aircraft, that is. As soon as I saw my seat, I went all Steven Spielberg over it. At least I tired to, anyway.

There’s a lot that I wanted to show in the video that I didn’t have time for. Therefore, all of those extra little details will be in the full written review below.

As usual, the music for this video came from Epidemic Sound.  The title of the first track was Ragtime by Peerless, and the second track was Zazen by Molife.

An in-depth review of United Airlines 767-300 Polaris business class

This was easily one of the most surprising flights that I’ve had in a while. My only other experience with United business class was back in 2015. I can’t say it any more gentle than this but: United Airlines 777-200 BusinessFirst was a horrible product.

Thankfully, those old (and cramped) seats have been replaced by Polaris business class seats, which are leaps and bounds better than the old BusinessFirst.

My arrival at LAX for this flight to IAD

For the record, I had no other purpose to go to Washington DC on this day other than to try United Polaris for the very first time. I flew up from San Diego on a United Express E175, and I landed at LAX with approximately 20 minutes to spare before they started boarding. It was perfect.

United 767-300 LAX
You just know it’s going to be a good day when the first thing you see after stepping off the plane is your connecting flight getting loaded up and ready to go. That’s a good lookin’ 767-300!
Terminal 7 LAX interior
Obligatory “welcome to Terminal 7 at LAX” pic. Yes, it’s nearly the same one you saw in my United 737 MAX 9 review.
United 767-300 nose closeup
A closer look at my ride to IAD this morning. I’m feeling an overwhelming urge to tickle its nose with my finger, but I must resist. My cat would be totally jealous.
Terminal 7 Los Angeles airport
Having a quick look around as I decompress from the stress of not knowing if I was going to make this flight or not. I had my doubts.

The boarding process for UA493 to Washington Dulles

Terminal 7 at LAX is a mess. Yes, it’s been renovated in the past few years (and it looks great), but it’s far too small for the number of passengers that United moves through it on a daily basis. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long for the boarding process to initiate.

United airlines gate terminal 7 LAX
Boarding has started, and…I can’t find the end of the line. It’s an AvGeek’s worst nightmare basically.
United Polaris business class boarding pass
Taking a step back to reassess the situation. Here’s a pic of my boarding pass to occupy you while I try and figure out my next move.
United airlines boarding process
I figured it out! The boarding queue was along the front wall of the adjacent gate. Just where you’d expect it to be.
LAX jet bridge
Now I’m starting to wonder if this is even the right jet bridge. No offense to anyone reading this from Gary, IN, but…I hope I’m not about to board a flight to Gary, IN.
United 767-300 boarding door
Well, unless United has started 767-300/ER service to GYY without me knowing about it, I think this is the right plane after all.
United airlines flight attendant
That right there is the look of a flight attendant who just realized that she’s going to have to spend the next 5 hours cooped up with a total airplane nerd.

My first impressions of the United 767-300 Polaris business class seat

Stepping onboard this airplane and seeing Polaris business class for the first time turned my day from good to great. No, it wasn’t as impressive as the first time I saw Delta One on the 767-400, but I’ll bet you anything that my eyes appeared to be bulging out of my head as I was taking it all in. They sure as heck felt like they were.

United Polaris business class 767-300
Whoa. Polaris business class is not anything remotely close to what the old BusinessFirst was like. Hallelujah.
United 767-300 business class seat
The United 767-300 business class seat. Where have you been all my life?
United Polaris seat privacy
These seats are private! A bold statement considering that I haven’t even sat down yet.
United Polaris business class leg room
Assessing the situation for the second time this morning. The verdict? This is freaking nice.
United Polaris seat colors
I’m not sure what I think about the colors yet, but…it’s hard to complain when sitting in such a comfortable seat.
United Polaris seat controls
Mission control right at my fingertips. Nice.
United Polaris USB power ports
Of course there are USB power outlets. I’d be miffed if there weren’t
United Polaris USB power outlets
More power outlets just over my right shoulder. I could feel my phone getting excited…
United Polaris business class seat storage
How awesome would’ve it have been if this cubby hole was refrigerated? It wasn’t, so I’m relegated to saying that it was just “neat”.
United Polaris seat materials
And if you’re wondering, no, that’s not dirt on the shelf next to the seat. It’s just a poor choice of laminate, that’s all.
Dirty seat United Polaris
And would it be a proper business class review out of LAX if the cleaning crew didn’t leave stuff behind? This seat wasn’t as dirty as my JetBlue Mint Suite was, but come on.
Useful storage bins United Polaris
More useful storage bins! The question is: how did I take this picture if my phone and GoPro are in this shot?

What is the best business class seat on the United 767-300?

Because of how oddly-staggered the seats are in Polaris business class, you need to pay close attention when choosing a seat.

  • If you prefer as much privacy as possible, choose a window seat in an even number row. The seats are closest to the window and away from the aisle.
  • If you prefer easy access to the aisle, any other seat will do.
  • If you are traveling with somebody, choosing the two seats together in the center section of the cabin will be best. However, it’s important to note that these center seats are still very separate, and it will be difficult to have a conversation with the person next to you.

Basically, United designed Polaris business class on the 767-300 for maximum privacy. It’s not the best business class product for two people wanting to share the experience together.

SANspotter selfie United Polaris 767-300
All by myself by the windows. Just the way I like it.
United Polaris seat privacy
Even the aisle seats are really private. You’ll still be able to judge those sitting there by their food and inflight entertainment choices though.

The departure out of LAX

The last time I was on a 767-300 was for my Icelandair review back in 2018, so it was nice to hear (and feel) those big Pratt & Whitney engines starting up as we were pushing off the gate. No, I don’t normally mean to sound so I dorky and AvGeek-like in my airline reviews, but there you go. I love the sound of a good aircraft engine.

United 767-300 wing and engine
Looks like I’m going to have a fantastic view of the wing and engine today. It’ll be my job to let the Captain know if either of them fall off.
United business class safety video
I should be paying attention to the safety video, but…I’m distracted by how awesome these seats are.
United 767-300 taxi and takeoff LAX
A collection of pics from the taxi and takeoff process. Be sure to watch the video (below) if you want to see this in action!

What’s the video entertainment like in United 767-300 business class?

The most important thing to note about the video entertainment in the united business class these days is that it’s leaps and bounds better than what it used to be. There is a large collection of TV shows and movies to choose from, and I honestly had a hard time deciding what to watch during the flight. There were just too many good options.

United in flight entertainment
Let’s see what we’ve got here…
United in flight entertainment movies
Movies. And lots of ‘em. Yeah baby!
United in flight map
Ooh, I’ve seen this one before. It’s really good, and I highly recommend it.

I do have to say, however, that the noise canceling headphones they provide were not that great. I had to turn the volume way up to actually hear anything, which was more than a little annoying.

United Polaris business class noise canceling headphones
I can’t think of anything nice to say about these headphones, so maybe I won’t say anything at all.
SANspotter United airlines headphones
“@#$&!*%!!”

How good (or bad) was the food?

Another area where United surprised me on this flight was the food. Yes, it took them an extremely long time to get the meal service started. And the cabin crew wasn’t exactly the friendliest I’ve ever experienced. However, the food was very good. No complaints for me about that.

United Polaris business class drinks
To kick off the meal service, they came through the cabin offering drinks (but no snacks). I chose water. It’s the SANspotter way.
United Polaris business class breakfast
Breakfast is served! Although there were no menus handed out on todays flight, I took a gamble on this.
United Polaris business class breakfast eggs
If it wasn’t obvious by now, this is a plate of eggs, potatoes, and sausage. Not bad for United Airlines food.
SANspotter eating United airlines food
The moment of truth.
SANspotter eating United airlines business class food
Nom nom nom
Eating food in United business class
My empty tray table says it all. That was a pretty good breakfast IMHO.

How comfortable are the lie-flat seats for sleeping?

I hate to admit this, but these Polaris business class seats are more comfortable when sitting upright or at a slight recline. In a lie-flat position, they are a bit too firm for my liking. Not only that, the headrest is rock hard as well. It was like sleeping on a wooden bench. At least I didn’t get any splinters I guess.

United lie flat business class seat
Yes. Testing out lie-flat business class seats for a living is grueling.
United Polaris business class blanket
Is it normal to be able to see through a blanket like this?
United Polaris business class seat headrest
And what about headrests? Shouldn’t they be soft and squishy?
SANspotter lie flat business class seat United airlines
Showing you the seat is difficult with paper-thin blankets and rock hard headrests. I told you this is grueling!

Should you avoid business class on the United 767-300?

Despite the rock hard seat and somewhat cold attitude from the cabin crew, I was still very much impressed with Polaris business class on the 767-300. It was so good as a matter of fact, that I was thinking that the flight went by way too fast as we were starting the descent into Dulles.

If you have a choice, however, I recommend choosing the 787 over the 767. You’ll get the same seat and the same service, but the 787 is more comfortable with it’s bigger windows and higher cabin humidity levels. Be sure to check out my full United 787-8 business class review to see for yourself.

United 767-300 business class cabin
Assessing the situation for the third time today to see if anyone else is struggling with their seats like I was. Everyone looks comfortable though, so maybe it’s just me who whines too much.
United 767-300 Polaris business class lavatory
Might as well take pics of the toilet to take my mind off the failed attempt to show you how comfortable the seats are.
United 767-300 Polaris business class lavatory selfie
That right there is the look of a man feeling defeated by sub-par headrests.

And now, let me show you what it was like arriving into Washington DC today. It was a beautiful day for flying!

Starting descent into IAD
Strange looking terrain for a southern Californian such as myself. What’s all that green stuff?
United Polaris business class video screen
The noise canceling headphones just thrown to the side like that says it all.
United 767-300 business class seat control knob
Locked, loaded, and ready to land!
Landing at IAD
Easily the nicest weather I’ve ever experienced while landing at IAD.
Dulles airport terminal
It’s not the most exciting airport terminal, but the variety of traffic at Dulles is hard to beat.
Avianca and TAP Portugal at IAD
By the way, did you read my TAP Portugal A330-200 business class review? How about my Avianca A330-200 economy review? No? I don’t blame you.
United 767-300 deplaning
It’s a comfortable seat, so I might as well stay seated as I wait to deplane. 5 hours wasn’t enough.
United 767-300 IAD gate D5
One last look at the sexy beast that flew me all the way across the country today from Los Angeles. Thanks for a good flight!

Pros and cons of United 767-300 Polaris business class

Creating a pros and cons list for this experience is easy. Not only was it a fantastic business class seat and a great experience overall, there were a fair number of things that were disappointing about it as well. Here’s all the good and the bad about 767-300 Polaris:

Pros

  • It’s a fantastic and very competitive business class seat. It’s large, very private, and it looks great.
  • There are lots of cubby holes in storage bins to help you organize your things while in-flight.
  • I like the fact that there was a USB power outlet beneath the video screen and on the side wall just over my right shoulder.
  • The food was good. Not what I’d call spectacular, but it was better than I thought it was going to be. The portions were large, and everything seemed fresh.

Cons

  • I found the seat to be too firm to be able to comfortably sleep on in a lie-flat position.
  • The headrest made it difficult to sleep as well. It was rock hard and it didn’t have any squishiness to it at all.
  • The blankets they provided on this flight were paper thin and didn’t provide any warmth at all. Note, however, that you will get proper blankets and pillows on long-haul international flights in Polaris business class.
  • The cabin crew (most of which were near retirement age) seemed cold and impersonal. It was like they were just going through the motions with no passion or energy at all.
  • The noise canceling headphones felt cheap. They sounded cheap as well.

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