Last week I ventured off to Buenos Aires for the weekend. Although it is a long flight (almost 12 hours) I figured that since there is virtually no time change from the East Coast that I could settle into Polaris’ renowned comfy bedding and wake up refreshed and ready to have some fun.
United offers a daily overnight flight from Newark airport, landing the next morning at Buenos Aires (EZE Ezeiza Intl Airport). While United is not usually my first choice, I had heard positive things about not only the Polaris class, but also the newly renovated Polaris Lounge in Newark airport.
I arrived at 8:00pm, checked my bag and quickly went through security and headed to the Polaris lounge. My flight was at 9:45pm so I hoped to grab a quick dinner beforehand. The decor was modern and bright, and there was plenty of seating for lounging. The food options were divided into a buffet section,
and a sit down menu driven area.
The dining room was sadly understaffed, I believe dinner service ends at 9, so maybe that explains it. There were many tables free, but I waited about 5 minutes before anyone acknowledged my presence and then told me to wait further while someone cleared one of the tables recently occupied. The staff was very friendly and well intentioned, but sloooow. I was getting a little nervous that I would be unable to board in time, so ordered just a flat bread pizza.
It was fine. The prosciutto was incredibly tough, so I pulled that off and left it alongside the plate. The bartender and dining room manager were quite attentive once I sat, but something definitely seemed off.
There was a chance to grab a few Gummy Bears for the trip, which is never a bad thing.
I got to the gate as they were mid- boarding. The configuration of the plane’s Polaris section (Boeing 767) is 2/1/2. On the way to BA I had a single seat in the middle section, flying home I was with my husband in a side by side seat. The Saks branded bedding was wrapped up neatly on the seat. It included a large grey seat cover, a soft grey and white blanket and two pillows, one large and white (very comfortable on the way down- very lumpy on the way back- it had to be exchanged) and one small and very firm. On the trip home I was offered a “mattress” pad which did indeed make things more comfortable. There was no mention of this on the trip to BA though.
The crew on the flight to BA was strangely unfriendly. Efficient, gruff, no smiles whatsoever. A request to hang my jacket was met with an eyeroll. I declined food service as my prior experience with MOST plane food service is quite poor.
I settled in to watch a quick movie and go to sleep. Just as I was falling asleep dinner was served, and I was glad I had declined it. One of the entrees (perhaps the fish) had a terrible stink that filled the cabin. It was truly awful. Aside from that, I am unable to comment on the food service. The bed though lie flat, was unbelievable narrow, and the area for your feet quite small. I am quite thin, and short- so If I felt that way, I’m not sure how a grown man would feel. I was happy to have the middle single seat though. Flying home in the side by side seat, you realize that if you are not intimate with your seat mate before the flight, you will be if he or she has to make a trip to the lavatory mid flight. There is no easy access, rather you have to be nimble enough to climb over a sleeping passenger. Although I declined breakfast, they did bring me a sad looking tray in case I was hungry.
I awoke as we started the descent, and during that time the the crew had not found their smiles or developed a cheery demeanor. It was still a grumpy group. I was happy to have landed safely (and on time!) but was not impressed with the cabin, or level of service.
The trip home was almost identical, though the morale of the crew was a bit better. A few smiles were doled out, and it was more upbeat overall. It was a red eye from BA that had dinner service (again declined, as well as breakfast (a floppy frittata as per my husband) and got us into Newark at 5:45 am.