United launched daily direct flights from NYC/Newark to Prague 7 June and we were aboard the inaugural trip—with access to the Polaris lounge and cabin. From the lounge to landing, we found the experience offers exactly what most air travel lacks: space. The sweeping 27,000-square-foot Polaris lounge at Newark is open and airy, yet separated in a manner that makes sense. The NYC Polaris lounge (dedicated for international travel in Polaris class and are in addition to the airline’s United lounges) is decorated with dark wood, marble and plenty of gray and navy accents it feels somewhat timeless—a sensation emphasized by the entry’s large, striking light fixture by BK-based Richard Clarkson Studio, which depicts the 12 zodiac constellations.
Various types of seating—from clusters of couches to semi-private booth-style spots that are perfect for setting up an on-the-go office—are available within. Wander deeper and visitors will find four private phone/work rooms and 10 private relaxation pods fitted with daybeds, United’s Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, eye masks, and even a white-noise machine. Each of the daybeds is accessible via a valet within the lounge, which also offers garment-steaming.
Then there are the all-important shower suites (there are 10 of these too, two of which are accessible for people with disabilities) each with a rainfall shower and all the products one might need, from Soho House’s Cowshed Spa Brand. The private showers and regular bathrooms in the lounge are all gender-neutral.
Unlike at standard lounges, dining and drinking options are countless. Around the corner from the dimly lit, marble bar is a dining room with lots of seating and views of the runway. Here, guests can select from the all-day à la carte menu that includes salads, burgers, and plenty of sweet treats. The buffet is an impressive spread: with a bagel bar, sandwiches, pasta, roast veggies and charcuterie. (While the food onboard is among the best in class, it’s oftentimes best to eat on the ground and relax once up in the air.) Best of all, there are countless hydrating drinks on offer.
On board, the attention to space, peace and quiet continues. Flight attendants are friendly and easy-going. (Staff members mention they will continue filling drinks unless asked to stop, rather than asking each time.) From the pillow and blanket options, to the semi-enclosed seats that recline all the way, to the table space and storage areas, the Polaris business class section of the plane is wildly comfortable and cozy.
Making an eight-hour flight (and what is surely an 11+ hour journey) feel short is precisely what travelers crave, and United does this from NYC to Prague. Of course economy and premium economy options are available as well, and any option sets you up for a great work or holiday in the Czech Republic.
Images courtesy of United