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United reveals Polaris lounge in Newark – how it will work for SIA passengers

United's newest Polaris lounge opens in Newark on Monday - though it wont be a totally straightforward visit for Singapore Airlines passengers.

United Polaris lounge view at EWR

On Wednesday morning this week Singapore Airlines revealed details of their upcoming re-launch of non-stop flights to Newark using their upcoming A350ULR aircraft. Services on the route, which will involve flight times of up to 18 hours 45 minutes, will restart on 11th October 2018 following a nearly five-year hiatus.

Star Alliance passengers flying through Newark in First Class or Business Class as early as next week however will have access the brand new United Airlines Polaris lounge, which opens its doors at 4.30am on Monday.

Access

The access policy for United Polaris lounges is stricter than many because frequent flyer status alone isn’t going to be sufficient. To use this lounge you will have to be travelling in first or business class on a long-haul flight with United Airlines or a Star Alliance carrier.

If you’re flying on the new non-stop SQ21 flight in premium economy as a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold status member, unfortunately you won’t be entitled to access this particular lounge, only business class passengers are eligible.

United Polaris lounge seating area at EWR (2)
Singapore Airlines business class passengers travelling on SQ21 from Newark will be entitled to use the United Polaris lounge, but gold status holders in Premium Economy will not. (Photo: United Airlines)

Business class passengers are additionally not permitted to bring any guests into the lounge, while if you’re flying first class (for example on a Star Alliance carrier) you will be entitled to invite one guest provided they are travelling on the same flight as you.

That means if you’re lucky enough to be flying business on SQ21 and have a friend in premium economy on the same flight you won’t be able to guest them into this lounge.

Location

Herein lies the complication for Singapore Airlines passengers. United’s new Polaris lounge at Newark is located in Terminal C, between Gates C102 and C120, however Singapore Airlines will be operating from Terminal B along with other Star Alliance airlines like Lufthansa, SAS and Swiss.

It means in order to use this lounge you will need to proceed from Terminal B to Terminal C after checking in for your flight then clear security there. Prior to your departure having enjoyed the Polaris lounge you’ll need to allow some extra time to take the shuttle bus from Gate C71 to Terminal B (it generally runs to Terminal A but will stop at Terminal B provided you have a Star Alliance boarding card).

The other alternative is to exit the Terminal C airside area, return to Terminal B and clear security again there.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle you will of course be able to use a lounge facility in Terminal B, but with both the Lufthansa and SAS lounges currently showing restricted (afternoon) opening hours it’s not clear whether one or both of these will be extended to accommodate Singapore Airlines passengers each morning or whether a third-party lounge might be used.

Either way this might be your preferred option for the morning departure timing on Singapore Airlines to maximise your pre-flight sleep in the hotel and check in as late as possible.

The Details

United Airlines has released full details and some press images of the new 27,000 sq ft facility in conjunction with a media preview yesterday. The lounge comes in just a tad smaller than their Polaris facility in San Francisco, which opened in April (see our article here on that).

  • Total floorspace 27,000 square feet
  • Opening hours 4.30am to 10.30pm
  • 455 seats, across 15 different types of seating
United Polaris lounge seating area at EWR
15 different types of seating feature in the Newark Polaris lounge. (Photo: United Airlines)
  • 570 power outlets and 450 USB charging ports
  • 4 private phone rooms
  • 10 private daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
Quiet Suite at United Polaris lounge at SFO
10 Private daybeds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding are available – twice as many as in the San Francisco Polaris lounge. (Photo: United Airlines)
  • 10 luxurious shower suites, featuring rainfall showers and Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products
Shower Suite at United Polaris lounge at SFO
United Polaris Lounge Shower Suite. (Photo: United Airlines)
  • Personal valet services, including steaming garments
  • “The Dining Room” – a private restaurant style dining area with a menu designed by New York Chef John Glowacki. It blends global trends with familiar comfort foods – such as potato latkes, polenta fries, and wild mushroom risotto with a balsamic reduction
United Polaris lounge Dining Room at EWR
A restaurant-style dining area is common to all United Polaris lounges. Newark lounge pictured. (Photo: United Airlines)
  • A bistro-like buffet that includes a do-it-yourself bagel bar plus sandwiches and wraps such as a curried salmon salad with cucumber raita and baby spinach on a pumpernickel roll as well as a charcuterie board and chicken parmesan.
  • A cocktail menu with signature drinks such as the Fernet About It, a unique version of the Cuba Libre containing the Italian libation, and the United Polaris Star, featuring house-made anise-infused vodka. Other house-made items include oolong-steeped bourbon, lavender syrup, vodkas and vermouth.
United Polaris lounge bar at EWR.jpg
The bar at the United Newark lounge. (Photo: United Airlines)

Of course you’ll also find a manned bar.

Future Polaris Lounges

United’s Polaris Tracker site helps you see which Polaris lounges are coming next. Houston should open later this summer and Los Angeles towards the end of the year, both of which should be accessible to Singapore Airlines passengers flying business or first class from those airports.

Polaris Tracker.jpg

Summary

United Polaris lounge buffet at EWR
The buffet at the United Polaris Newark lounge. (Photo: United Airlines)

Polaris lounges have had their fair share of well-publicised delays over the last year, so it’s good to see another lounge opening in Newark so quickly after the San Francisco opening.

It’s great timing for Singapore Airlines passengers planning to use the new non-stop service from Newark to Singapore (the first of those departs on 12th October 2018 and it quickly becomes a daily service).

The location is a little awkward for SIA passengers who will have to allow additional time to return to Terminal B to catch their flight, though we think it will probably be worth the detour to sample this excellent looking lounge.

Unfortunately there will be no access for KrisFlyer Elite Gold passengers travelling in premium economy on that flight who instead will probably have to choose between the SAS and Lufthansa lounges.

(Cover Photo: United Airlines)

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