United 777-300ER business class: questionable food in a fantastic seat

United 777-300ER business class: questionable food in a fantastic seat

What in the world is going on? I recently flew United 777-300/ER business class, and I couldn’t help but to think it was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had on this airline. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s blatantly obvious they are very serious about being the best in the world.

Polaris Business Class on the 777-300/ER is phenomenal. The seats are very private, in-flight entertainment is some of the best I’ve ever experienced, and I found it to be a great place to either sleep like a baby or work like a boss.

The food still kind of sucks though. Gordon Ramsay, if you’re reading this review, please – for the love of all that is holy – give United Airlines the kick in the butt they so desperately need to be culinarily competitive.

UA1247
Chicago, IL (ORD) – San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Aircraft: 777-322/ER
Registration: N2534U
Duration: 4 hours 35 minutes
Seat: 15L (Polaris Business Class)

United Airlines 777-300/ER side view
United Airlines 777-300/ER side view illustration by Norebbo.com
ual1247 flight track
Our route from Chicago to San Francisco today as UA1247.

The video

I’ve made several videos about United Polaris Business Class before, and all of them were really fun to put together. This particular video about 777-300/ER business class was just as fun. Maybe even a little bit more.

As you can see, I’m trying to get better about showing more details about the seat, the service, and entertainment in my reviews. However, I’m still finding it difficult to find the right balance between sleeping like a baby for the second half of the flight and staying awake to get the content I need for a great video.

As usual, the music for this video came from Epidemic Sound. The title of the first song was “Stupid Lies” by Luwaks, and the title of the second song was “Keep on Waiting” by Can’t Find Ollie.

My full review of United 777-300/ER business class from Chicago to San Francisco

After a very comfortable night at the O’Hare Hilton Hotel, I stumbled my way into the airport a little after 6 AM. The last time that I flew United Airlines into or out of O’Hare was back in 2018 (in United 737-900/ER economy), so it felt really good to come back and see what has changed since then.

Terminal 1 entrance ORD
Curbside, Terminal 1 at ORD. Current temperature: “ouch!”
SANspotter no jacket in Chicago wintertime
Yup, I’m that guy who flies to Chicago in the middle of February without a jacket.

What terminal does United Airlines use at the Chicago O’Hare airport?

United Airlines occupies Terminal 1 at O’Hare. Terminal 1 is broken up into two separate concourses (A and B), and I am of the opinion that they are the most beautiful airport concourses in the entire US. Which is saying a lot, since it’s nearly 35 years old at this point, and it still looks as amazing as it did when it first opened in 1987.

United premier check in area ORD
Here’s a pic of the Premier Access check in area here in Terminal 1 to enjoy while I stand here and attempt to recover from stage 1 hypothermia.
inside concourse b O’Hare airport
Thaw complete. Welcome to beautiful Concourse B here in Terminal 1 at O’Hare!
United 777-300/ER gate b16 ORD
This is my ride to San Francisco this morning. She’s a 5 year old 777-300/ER looking mighty fine parked here at gate B16.
Gate b16 O’Hare airport
Ain’t nothing amazing about the gate area for B16 though. Seems as if this lady has had enough of this sterile nonsense and is off to hang out somewhere else.

The boarding process for flight number 1247 to San Francisco

My flight to San Francisco was departing out of gate B16 this morning (which is located at the far end of the concourse). It’s a bit of a cluster**** considering that all of the gates in this vicinity are for large widebody aircraft, and it’s a total zoo if there are two flights or more boarding at once.

That was exactly the case this particular morning. There was a flight to Honolulu departing immediately next door at gate B17, and it was really hard to figure out what was happening when they were making announcements for both flights simultaneously.

Gates b16 and b17 O’Hare airport
Straight ahead is the gate for my flight to San Francisco. To my right is the gate for a flight to Honolulu. Decisions, decisions…
United Polaris mobile boarding pass
How accommodating do you suppose they would be if I “accidentally” boarded the flight to HNL instead?
Boarding United flight to San Francisco
Apologies to anyone hoping for a Hawaiian-themed plot twist in this review. Sorry, we’re going to San Francisco.
United 777-300er boarding door
Is it a crime to bribe the pilot with a handful of cash in exchange for overshooting SFO and ending up at HNL instead? Asking for a friend.

My first impressions of United 777-300/ER Polaris Business Class

Having already tried Polaris Business Class on several other aircraft types late last year, I sort of already knew what to expect. As a reminder, United 767-300 business class was surprisingly good. United 787-8 business class was even better.

Considering that the 777-300/ER is the unofficial flagship aircraft of the United Airlines fleet, my hopes were high that this was going to be my best Polaris experience yet.

snack bar located between the two Polaris cabins on the 777-300/ER
Things are getting off to a good start! This is the self serve snack bar located between the two Polaris cabins on the 777-300/ER.
Aft Polaris cabin United 777-300er
My seat was located in the aft Polaris cabin, which is slightly smaller than the forward cabin. It’s definitely just as blue though.
United Polaris seat 15L 777-300er
Seat 15L. It’s nowhere near as private as a Delta One A330-900 seat, but come on. Would you turn this down?
United business class seat 15L 777-300er
This looks awfully similar to my United 777-200 Polaris business class experience. And that’s a good thing!
United 777-300er business class seat details
Past experience has taught me that anything placed on that white shelf while landing will end up on the floor (at least 10 rows ahead).
United 777-300er business class seat storage bins
One of the best things about these seats (by far) is this generously-sized storage cubby. I’ve never seem to have enough stuff to put in there, but I appreciate it’s existence.
United 777-300er business class seat controls
Mission control.
United 777-300er business class seat privacy
How funny would it be if there was someone peeking around the corner looking back at me? Awkward would probably a better name for it…
United 777-300er business class seat power ports and plugs
Yes, there are lots of useful ports and plugs in these seats. And they all worked too.
SANspotter selfie United 777-300er business class
Remember to choose an odd-numbered window seat if you want a seat that’s actually next to the window. Even numbered rows are “flipped” (meaning that the shelf is situated between the seat and the windows).
United 777-300er business class cabin
Remember that time when I flew in United 777-200 BusinessFirst from HKG to ORD? If you would have told me then that someday I would refer to United business class as “sexy AF”, I would have looked at you weird (and not only because nobody was saying “AF” back then). They’ve come a long way over the years!
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The departure out of O’Hare

I love the O’Hare Airport. This used to be my “go to” airport back in my aviation photography days, and I know it like the back of my hand. Well, sort of.

There have been a lot of big changes over the past five years or so at O’Hare, and parts of it have become brand-new to me all over again. It was kind of neat to see what had changed from my window seat on the United 777-300/ER.

B gates O’Hare airport
Pushing back from a very busy B concourse. Which livery do you prefer? Be honest. SANspotter.com is a judge-free environment.
United airlines safety video
“Please take a moment to look around.” I’m one step ahead of you, lady. 
Departing O’Hare airport in a 777-300/ER
Departing ORD in a 777-300/ER is fun, but as you saw in my United 747-400 Global First review, there’s nothing quite like doing it in the nose of a 747. 

Taking off in a United 777-300er
Did you watch the full takeoff video (embedded above)? Me either.

What is in-flight entertainment like in United Polaris Business Class on the 777-300/ER?

If there’s one thing that I have to give United Airlines credit for it, it’s consistency. When it comes to in-flight entertainment, it’s nice to know that you can pretty much expect the exact same quality of in-flight entertainment from one aircraft type to the next.

United in flight entertainment video system home screen
This is the main screen (even before selecting the preferred language). It’s too bad that there aren’t any credit card ads though, as I was just thinking that I need some new plastic for my wallet…
United airlines in flight entertainment
Once past the main menu, there are lots and lots of good movies and TV shows on tap. It wasn’t until I started clicking on stuff that I realized that they embed the credit card ads as unskippable segments at the beginning of each piece of content. Sneaky bastards…
United airlines in flight entertainment remote
For anyone willing to risk being eaten alive by a flesh eating disease, there’s a (sticky) remote control as well.

My only real gripe about this particular flight from Chicago to San Francisco was that they didn’t provide noise canceling headphones. Which is strange, because I got them from my last two domestic Polaris Business Class flights. I really hope they haven’t decided to cut back on these kinds of perks.

SANspotter selfie United business class wired headphones
The look on my face says it all.

Is the Wi-Fi free in United business class?

Sort of. At the time of this writing, connecting to the in-flight Wi-Fi will give you complementary access to the messaging apps on your phone while in flight. However, if you want access to the actual Internet, you’re gonna have to pay extra for that.

It should also be noted that you can stream video entertainment on your own device if you choose to do so. It’s completely free, and all you need to do is to connect to the in-flight Wi-Fi.

How bad is the food in United Polaris Business Class these days?

Although I am extremely grateful that they are serving hot food at all, it is slightly disappointing that it’s not very good. Not that I was expecting 5-star quality food or anything, but I was hoping to get something better than what I could get from the freezer section at my local gas station.

United business class glassware
I can never tell if the flight attendants are disappointed or excited when I order a simple glass of water (without ice). Yeah, it’s less work for them, but…pouring cocktails has just got to be a lot more fun.
SANspotter selfie drinking water United business class
Ain’t nobody ever looked cool sipping on a glass of water.
United business class eggs breakfast
It was either these eggs (with chicken sausage and potatoes) or waffles. I enjoy (and hate) them both equally.
United business class eggs and sausage breakfast
It’s not all that bad as far as business class breakfasts go. Picky eaters might not be completely satisfied, but it’ll go down a lot easier if you go into it with an open mind (and an empty stomach).
SANspotter selfie eating breakfast United business class
I can’t say that my mind was fully open this early in the day, but my stomach sure was. For the second time in this review, I say again: come to papa!
United business class breakfast fruit and yogurt
Fruit and yogurt are supplied for anyone in need of a sugar rush to get the day rolling.
United business class breakfast review
I’m hardly one to criticize a well-rounded breakfast. I still eat chocolate cereal at home for breakfast every day for crying out loud.

Are the seats in United 777-300/ER business class good for sleeping?

Unless you’re the type of person who can’t sleep on airplanes no matter what, I’m willing to bet that most people would find the seats in business class on the United 777-300/ER to be extremely comfortable. They lie fully flat of course, and I appreciated the fact that there are no lumps and bumps.

United 777-300er lie flat business class seat
Testing the lie flat seat. At least I know what I’ll look like at my funeral, right?
United 777-300er narrow lie flat business class seat
As you can see, these seats (and the footwells) are a little narrow.
SANspotter lie flat United business class seat
“We are gathered here today to honor the memory of a weird little man who called himself SANspotter…”
United Polaris business class seat demonstration
Seriously though, these are really comfortable seats for sleeping and/or lounging. I like ‘em.

It’s also important to note that the odd-number window seats are the most private. Polaris Business Class on the United 777-300/ER is staggered, meaning that the seats are offset from one another from one row to the next.

The window seats in the odd number rows are closer to the windows. Those are the ones that you want if you’re looking for maximum privacy.

The descent and arrival into San Francisco

Having slept for the second half of this flight, I didn’t partake in the second snack and drink service. However, just know that the cabin crew will come through the aisle about an hour and a half prior to landing offering more snacks and drinks to anybody who wants them.

United 777-300er business class lavatory
That right there is the toilet.
United 777-300er business class lavatory basin
You’d be surprised how many people get upset when I don’t post pics of the lavatory in my airline reviews!
United 777-300er business class full cabin
Is this not one of the best looking business class cabins that you’ve ever seen? United, you have impressed me (yet again).
Flying over snowy plains United 777-300er
Looking a little snowy out there still! It’s not going to last though, since the descent into SFO will begin soon…

The weather was darn near perfect for our arrival into San Francisco. It was even nicer than what it was on my last visit to SFO (which was a pretty nice ride in American Airlines Flagship Business Class, btw).

United 777-300er engine and wing
See? It got green real quick.
777-300er window Descending into SFO airport
“Please continue to Hawaii, please continue to Hawaii, please continue to Hawaii…”
Landing at SFO United 777-300er
I guess the bribe wasn’t enough, eh?
Arrival at SFO United 777-300er
Welcome to San Francisco!
G gates SFO airport
They parked us at the G gates next to an Air Canada 737 MAX 8. Not the most exciting way I’ve ever ended a flight, but it’s nice to be one step closer to home.
United 777-300er business class aisle
If it isn’t obvious by now, I highly recommend flying business class on the United 777-300/ER if you ever get the opportunity to do so. If I have to make any comparisons, I’d say that it’s much nicer than American Airlines 777-300/ER business class (by a long shot).
SANspotter SFO jet bridge
Mental note: I need some Hawaii in my near future. It’s been far too long since I’ve eaten a proper açaí bowl.

Pros and cons of Polaris Business class on the United 777-300/ER

As I mentioned up at the top of this review, United 777-300/ER business class isn’t perfect. It’s darn near close though, and my fingers are crossed that it’ll be only a few years before they reach total perfection. I know, it’s a stretch, but I like to be optimistic. Anyway, here are all the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Compared to other premium business class seats on other US airlines such as (Delta One on the 767-400), I really like how private the odd-number window seats are. They are some of the most private non-suite business class seats that I’ve ever tried.
  • This may be subjective, but I find the tray tables to be perfectly positioned in these seats. I didn’t have to lean forward (or side to side) to eat, which helped to make this experience all the more comfortable.
  • There is a self-serve snack bar positioned between the two Polaris Business Class cabins. They didn’t stock it with anything for this short flight from Chicago to San Francisco, but it is something you’ll have access to on longer international flights.
  • The overhead bins are huge on the 777-300/ER. You’ll have no problem finding a place for your carry-on bag.

Cons

  • There are a lot of business class seats on the United 777-300/ER (60 in total). Most of the time, the cabin crew will offer the highest-level frequent fliers their choice of meal first (instead of starting at the front and moving to the back). Long story short, if you don’t have any status on United, you’re likely to be getting whatever meal is left over – no matter where you are seated.
  • Speaking of the food, it’s not all that great. If you’re the slightest bit picky, your best option is to eat a big meal in the terminal before the flight, or bring something to eat on board with you.
  • The overall experience was really good, but it still doesn’t compare to JetBlue Mint IMHO (a product that will compete with the UA 777-300/ER on some routes). Be sure to check out my JetBlue vs United comparison for the specific differences.
  • For as new as these seats are, I was surprised to see so much wear and tear on them. For example, the shoulder strap for the seatbelt in my seat didn’t retract once I pulled it all the way out. It was more than a little awkward.

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