Review of United flight Newark Berlin in Business

Airline United
Flight UA962
Class Business
Seat 11A
Aircraft Boeing 767-400ER
Flight time 07:56
Take-off 05 Jan 24, 17:50
Arrival at 06 Jan 24, 07:46
UA   #69 out of 96 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 432 reviews
shivpilot14
By SILVER 722
Published on 6th January 2024

the lounge


I had flown in earlier that morning on a connecting flight on a CRJ-550 from DCA, so I headed to the Polaris Lounge after doing a quick tour of the United Club at C74, you can view that review, along with a review of the CRJ-550 flight here.

The Polaris Lounge is exclusively for passengers flying long-haul in United Polaris business class or departing in long-haul business class or first class on a Star Alliance member airline. You can find the full access policy here.

The entrance to the lounge is located in the main corridor between Gate C102 and Gate C120. It says Polaris Lounge and has a large round reception area. You check in with the agents at the desk, and after scanning my Polaris boarding pass, I was admitted in.


photo entrance-rotunda

This lounge is huge. At 27,000 square feet, it is the second largest Polaris lounge behind San Francisco. The only other Polaris lounges that I’ve visited are the ORD and IAD lounges. With the ORD one at 16,300 square feet and the IAD lounge at 21,000 square feet, this lounge seems so much bigger. And, it makes sense given that Newark has the most long-haul flights going across the Atlantic out of all of the United Hubs.

Once inside, your eye is immediately drawn by the hallway that leads to the bar. The bar is long and has a few different stations where you can stand and order a drink, as well as plenty of seating. Additionally, there are seating areas around the bar. 


photo entry-hallway

Just behind the bar is the Dining Room. Which is the sit-down restaurant in the Polaris lounge that has a la carte dining, and is the highlight of the Polaris lounges, in my opinion. This was my first stop in the lounge to get some breakfast. You’ll find the dining room menu for today posted on a board outside of the dining room. A printed menu will also be given to you when you sit down.


photo dining-room-overview-pic-69437photo dining-room-menu

The dining room is a decent size, and unlike the IAD dining room, you get views and plenty of natural light in this room. My table was right next to the window and I was able to get an amazing view of the tarmac.


photo tablephoto view-from-dining-room-table

I sat down, and was welcomed to Polaris by my server. She asked me if I wanted something to drink. I ordered a cup of coffee. She asked if I wanted some water, and when I said yes, she said “sparkling or still?” I went with still.


photo coffee

I ordered the breakfast empanada to start. It was very good. I would 100% recommend this dish. The pastry was flaky and fresh, and the contents inside seemed to just work well together.


photo breakfast-empanada

For my entrée, I chose an egg white omelet with tomatoes, onions, roasted vegetables, and swiss cheese. It was also good, but wasn’t seasoned. There is salt and pepper on the table though. It was served with a side of home fries, and some ketchup. 


photo omelet

After I finished eating, I left a tip, and went to explore, and give myself a tour of the rest of the lounge. It’s important to note that the lounge staff appreciates tips, even though it’s not required. If you feel like you received a decent service, please do leave them a tip.

To the right of the dining room is a seating area with armchairs and the private pods, and offers great views of the tarmac where you can get some work done while remaining comfortable.


photo living-room-viewphoto living-room

Located just behind this seating area is the buffet, which is in addition to the dining room offering a lot of different hot and cold food options throughout the day.


photo buffet-overviewphoto buffetphoto buffet-cold-items

There is another seating area with tables just next to the buffet area, and just beyond that is the coffee/tea/water station.


photo table-areaphoto coffee-station

Just beyond that are the restrooms. All of the restrooms are gender-neutral and completely private. There is a red and green light to indicate which ones are vacant or occupied, so its easy to find one that’s open. Each individual restroom features a toilet, a sink, paper towels, tissues, and therabody hand soap and hand lotion products. They are also spacious enough for you to change clothes, if you need to.


photo bathroomsphoto bathroom-inside

Behind the buffet area is another seating area with armchairs, as well as the phone booths, where you can take calls or use to get some work done. I used this room to get a bit of work done and take a few meetings during my stay.


photo library-roomphoto outside-of-phone-booth

Just behind the seating area is the shower suites and quiet suites.

After giving myself a tour of the lounge, I went into a phone booth to get some work done and take a few calls and meetings for a few hours.


photo inside-phone-booth

Once, I finished with that, I decided to head back to the dining room in order to get some lunch. But, first, I stopped by the bar to get a glass of wine. I wanted to see what the bartender recommended. He recommended the Conundrum, which is a California Red Wine. I’m no wine connoisseur, but it tasted great.


photo wine-bottle

I sat in the exact same table, and had the same server! She said, “Oh, you’re back for lunch! Let me get you some water while you take a look at the menu!” She was very friendly!


photo dining-room-glass-of-wine

The menu for lunch/dinner is on the right side of the same menu as breakfast, with the breakfast menu on the left. I selected the wild mushroom bruschetta as my starter, and the duck confit as my entrée.

The mushroom bruschetta was tasty, though it was cold. Not complaining about that, I was just surprised as I’ve never had mushroom bruschetta that was cold before. The bread was tasty and had a hint of garlic to it. I’d highly recommend it.


photo bruschetta

The duck confit was also very good. The pear chutney tasted great, the duck was cooked well, and the potato puree was seasoned well and tasted great. I would recommend this dish as well.


photo duck-confit

After I finished eating, I was offered dessert. However, I declined as I was just too full, and I actually really wanted to take a nap for a few hours.

So, I headed to the quiet suites. The Newark Polaris lounge features 10 quiet suites, unlike the IAD lounge which only has 2. The Quiet Suites are located in a separate hallway behind the shower suites. They are spacious and offer a pillow, eyemask, earplugs, a small bottle of water,and a white noise machine for your use. A lounge attendant will escort you in and assign you to a suite.


photo shower-suites-and-quiet-suitesphoto quiet-suite-inside

The IAD lounge has a 45 minute time limit on the suites, which to me, is not enough time, given that it takes the average person 15 minutes to fall asleep, then they wake you up, and kick you out… When I asked the Newark lounge attendant about the time limit she said, “well, it’s technically an hour, but honestly we’re not busy at all and won’t be for the next few hours so just sleep as long as you want, and if we need the suite, we will wake you up. But, I wouldn’t worry about it.”

And she was right, I got two full hours of uninterrupted sleep, and I woke up to my own alarm. The daybed was a bit uncomfortable to be honest. It had a dip in the middle and I could feel a piece of metal underneath my back. So, I laid my coat down underneath me to get some padding.

Once I finished, I went back outside where the attendant asked me how I slept. I told her it was great, and asked her if I could take a shower. She said that there was a wait for the showers but to come back at 3:45 p.m. and that she would put my name down for a slot at that time.

I went back to the bar and grabbed a drink and waited the 40 minutes until my shower was ready.

At 3:45, I went back to the shower suites, and a different lounge attendant was working this time. She said, “Oh you must be Mr. Shivpilot14, I’ve got you down for 3:45. Do you need anything before you go in? Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, Q tips?” I said no, and she told me which shower was mine.

When I got to my suite, I noticed that the suite was quite large. It features a shower, of course, as well as a toilet, a sink, some towels, a bench for placing your items, and some slippers to use.


photo shower-suite-insidephoto shower-suite-sink

The shower has two modes, a handheld shower head and a rain can shower overhead. It also features shower gel, conditioner, and shampoo in bottles on the wall. I used the rain can feature and finished my shower quickly. 


photo shower-insidephoto rain-can-shower-head

I then changed my clothes into my pajamas, which I do before long-haul overnight flights, so I can get comfortable enough to sleep. Once finished, I left the suite.

Once outside, I noticed that the lounge was now extremely crowded unlike how it was earlier in the day. It was filled to the point where there wasn’t a single seat available in the entire lounge. So, I decided to head to the gate a bit early.


boarding


After spending all day in the Polaris lounge, I decided to head to my gate, C108, It was about a 5 minute walk from the Polaris lounge.


photo aircraft

When I arrived, boarding had not yet begun. But, boarding began right on time at 5:00 p.m. with pre-boarding of passengers with disabilities, Global Services customers, families traveling with children under the age of 2, and Premier 1K passengers.

Then Group 1 was called, and I boarded, along with the rest of my group. Note, that when boarding an international flight, you will need to show your passport as well as scan your boarding pass.

We boarded through door L2. I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant who asked me where I was sitting. I told him 11A, and he directed me to the left to the Business class cabin.


the seat


The Polaris business class cabin is large with 34 seats, arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration, offering every passenger direct aisle access. The last row, row 12, has only one seat in the middle, 12D. The odd rows face straight, and the even rows are at an angle. I always prefer the odd, window seats as a solo traveler for the most privacy.

It’s also important to note that on the 767s, the odd numbered window seats on the A side of the aircraft are more private because the center seats in the odd rows have their openings on the L side of the aircraft, so there’s essentially a wall on the other side of the aisle from you.

I quickly found my seat, 11A, the last window seat on the left side of the cabin. I wouldn’t recommend this seat for a few reasons. One, it’s close to the galley and lavatory so the noise may be bothersome. Additionally, the overhead bins above the seat are filled with oxygen canisters, safety equipment, and pillows and blankets that are needed during flight so you have to place your bags elsewhere in the cabin. I put my large carry on bag in the overhead bin above 10A and a German guy who was sitting there got upset with the flight attendants for that but sorry, not sorry? I had nowhere else to put my bag and overhead bins are first come, first serve by cabin, not by seat. I would’ve put my bags in the bin above my seat, but I simply couldn’t do that.

At the seat, I found my bedding, with the gel pillow and the day blanket on top of a bag that contained the other regular pillow as well as the duvet-style blanket.


photo seat-overview

The seat controls are located next to the left armrest, with a wheel that allows you to adjust between fully-flat bed mode, and the fully-upright taxi, takeoff, and landing mode. You can also adjust your footrest, your lumbar support, and your recline with a lot of different combinations.


photo seat-controls

There is a faux marble countertop on the right side where you can set things on top of, this is where the headsets and the printed menu were located.

Just above the countertop is the IFE remote control, the universal power outlet, a USB-A charging port, the headphone jack, and a small vanity closet where you can store a few things during the flight. In there was a water bottle for use during the flight. I find this spot perfect for storing my toiletries and chargers.


photo marble-countertop

The seat is well padded, comfortable, and extremely private. You can’t see another passenger in the cabin unless you really start looking for them, and nobody else can see you. Which is what I love about the Polaris seats. Unlike the 777s, this seat does not feature individual air vents.

Additionally, seat 11A only features one window at the front of the seat, so you’ll have to lean way forward for views outside. Which is difficult during takeoff and landing because of the shoulder strap.

It’s important to note that the Power outlet at my seat wasn’t working, so, here’s a tip: you should always bring a power bank to keep your devices charged.


pre-departure


An announcement was made to the entire aircraft that we should not stow our jackets in the overhead bins and that we should keep our jackets at our seats until boarding was complete. I hung my jacket up on the coat hook on the hope that the flight attendants would offer to hang it up for us, as is standard in business class, but that moment never came. Oh well. I guess my jacket stays with me! Which isn't a big deal, but the fact that my jacket was right in my space was a bit annoying.

Once I was settled in, a male flight attendant came by to offer me a pre-departure beverage of sparkling wine.


photo sparkling-wine

A few minutes later, the flight attendant taking care of our side of the cabin, John, came by to introduce himself, and to take food orders. He confirmed that I preordered the Short Rib. I opted for express dining which means everything is brought out in one tray, so that you can maximize rest.


photo food-menuphoto drink-menu

A strange thing happened about 20 minutes prior to departure. I looked over to take a sip of my sparkling wine and it was gone? Interesting that a flight attendant just took it and didn’t say anything or allow me to finish it.

A few minutes later, Kara, another flight attendant came by and said “I know you want slippers! I had you on a flight from Frankfurt just the other day, Mr. Shivpilot14!” I didn’t remember her to be honest. But, I laughed along. She was super nice and friendly.

At 5:35, boarding was completed, and folks were told to take their seats so we could get going.

The IFE is almost the same as the usual Polaris IFE, except that the 767-400s don’t have the updated IFE systems and have the older systems that are less nice looking. It takes longer to scroll through the older system. It doesn’t feature my favorite feature of the newer IFE system, which is relax mode. But, I’d have to make do without it.


photo ife

I decided to start watching a movie before we got moving, I settled on Harry Potter, as it’s something I’ve seen a million times and wouldn’t mind not staying up to watch later.

At 5:43, the captain came on to welcome us on board and inform us of our flight time of 7 hours 34 minutes.


flight


At 5:47, the boarding door was closed, and we pushed back right at 5:50, and the safety video began. It played with both German and English captions.


photo pushback

We then began our taxi to the runway any experience flying out of any New York airport, whether it’s LGA, JFK, or EWR, taxi times on departure are always long. (I once had an hour long taxi out of JFK…) Anyways, we had a long taxi and wait for departure at EWR, and were taking off on runway 22R at 6:18 p.m.

About 4 minutes after departure, we reached 10,000 feet, at which point the in-flight service began.


At 6:40 p.m., the captain came on to announce that we reached our initial cruising altitude of 33,000 feet.

Shortly thereafter, a flight attendant came by to ask what I wanted to drink as he would be brining my express dining meal soon. I went with a cabernet sauvignon.

At 6:50 p.m., my express dining meal arrived all on one tray, as I requested. I chose the burrata cheese starter and the short rib, both tasted great. The salad was also decent and fresh and the dressing was more substantial than on my flight from Frankfurt earlier in the week. It was also served with a hot pretzel roll and garlic bread, both of which were excellent.


photo dinner

By 7:08, I had finished my meal, used the lavatory located in the galley behind my seat, and then put my seat in lie flat mode for some sleep.

I woke up around 6:05 am local time in Berlin, which was a little less than 2 hours prior to arrival. Meaning that I had gotten about a solid 4 hours and 45 minutes of sleep, which is pretty good for a transatlantic flight out of the northeast of the United States. The seat was very comfortable for sleeping, though I found the cabin to be warm with the lack of individual air vents on this aircraft. But I slept very well.

I used the lavatory to change my clothes and brush my teeth, and while I was waiting for one to open up, John came by to ask me if I wanted a hot towel and to join us for breakfast. When I said yes, he said “Ok! I’ll put the hot towel at your seat, and what would you like for breakfast and to drink?” I ordered the oatmeal and a cup of coffee.

When I returned to my seat, I found my hot towel, though, by the time I got back it wasn’t really so hot anymore. But that’s alright. I’m just glad he brought me a hot towel. Shortly after I took my seat, John came to bring me my breakfast. 


photo breakfast

The oatmeal was tasty and was served with some fruit, an inedible rockhard croissant, and some peach flavored Chobani Greek yogurt. The oatmeal and yogurt were tasty. I didn’t even attempt to eat the croissant.


arrival


At 7:18, we began our descent into Berlin.

At 7:40, we touched down on runway 7L, and had a short taxi into the gate, arriving in at the gate at 7:46 a.m.


photo ber-arrival

It was a short walk to passport control and since I was the first off of the plane, I was first in line for passport control, and it didn’t take long to get through at all.

I was on the FEX train into the city at 8:06 a.m., which is an express train that will get you from BER to Berlin Central Station in about 33 minutes for a minimal cost of 4,40 EUR.

See more

Verdict

United

8.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.5

United Polaris Lounge

10.0/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services10.0

Newark - EWR

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Berlin - BER

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Overall, this was an excellent flight. The United Polaris product is one of the best in the skies for a business class product. The seat is comfortable and extremely private. My seat choice of 11A was not the greatest. I wouldn’t choose it because of its proximity to the galley and lavatory, the fact that you’re served last, the lack of windows, and most of all, the unusable overhead bin space due to flight products like oxygen containers and blankets being stored in the overhead bin. I’m actually quite surprised that these items were stowed in the overhead bins in business class. Does United not have another place to store these? Also, I was a little bummed that we were told not to put our coats in the bins, and then our coats were not hung up for us. It was strange. Though, the crew on this flight was excellent and attentive. The food tasted great (with the exception of the rock-hard croissant), and I was able to get a great night’s sleep without being disturbed!

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