EWR welcomes new United Polaris® lounge - United Hub

Go inside the new United Polaris lounge at EWR

By The Hub team, June 04, 2018

Today, customers traveling in United Polaris® will be able to relax and dine before their travels in the new United Polaris lounge at Newark Liberty International Airport. From distinctive lighting to unique artwork to a focus on craft cocktails, the new lounge at EWR embraces the energy of the Newark/New York metropolitan area and the exciting destinations served from it.

The United Polaris lounge at EWR is conveniently located in Terminal C, following security screening, between Gates C102 and C120.

The lighting fixture that mimics the constellations of the 12 zodiac signs in the entry of the new United Polaris lounge at EWR

Staying true to its Newark/New York City roots

Exhibiting distinct local flair, visitors are greeted with a vibrant lighting fixture created by Brooklyn-based art and design laboratory Richard Clarkson Studio that is meant to mimic the constellations of the 12 zodiac signs upon entry into the lounge. In a nod to the city's recognition for preeminence in the world for craft cocktails, the bar is the stand-out gem of this United Polaris lounge, both in terms of size and the array of cocktails offered. The thoughtful cocktail list includes the United Polaris Old Fashioned, a fresh take on the classic, complete with J. Rieger & Co. Kansas City Whiskey, a house simple syrup, Dale DeGroff bitters with a muddled orange wheel and Luxardo cherry, just like the legend himself — Dale DeGroff— makes it. A custom-designed a la carte dining menu blends international comfort foods, such as Moroccan-spiced braised lamb, with staples like the United Polaris Burger, which will be on the menu at all United Polaris lounges.

The spacious lounge seating at the new United Polaris lounge at EWR

Lounge seating and amenities to meet all needs

With more than 27,000 square feet, the lounge boasts 15 different types of seating for up to 455 travelers, and comes equipped with 570 power outlets, 450 USB ports and 4 private phone rooms for meetings and calls. For those wanting to relax, the lounge has 10 private daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and 10 luxurious shower suites, featuring rainfall showers and SoHo House & Co's Cowshed products, featuring the best in wildcrafted ingredients and essential oils. Customers have ample space to keep their luggage with them in the shower suite so they will have all their personal items at hand. A valet will even steam their clothes upon request.

Food and drink spread at the new United Polaris lounge at EWR

Food and drink selections with world-class influences

From a private dining area to a bistro-like buffet and a cocktail menu with signature drinks, visitors can look forward to a culinary journey with an inventive, seasonal menu that manages to be familiar and far reaching at once. Food and drink selections include nods to both the local area and the popular destinations we serve from New York/Newark. Customers can grab a bite from the buffet before boarding or settle in for a full meal in the private dining space, which seats close to 50 people. A custom-designed a la carte dining menu blends international comfort foods, such as Moroccan-spiced braised lamb, with staples like the United Polaris Burger, which will be on the menu at all United Polaris lounges. 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.

Visitors to the United Polaris Lounge at EWR enjoy craft cocktails at the bar

The extensive cocktail menu with signature drinks features the Fernet About It, a unique version of the Cuba Libre containing the Italian libation, and the United Polaris Star with a house-made anise-infused vodka as well as other house-made items including oolong-steeped bourbon, lavender syrup, vodkas and vermouth. Whether sampling the charcuterie board or sipping on a London Spritz, customers have plenty of choices to fuel up for their flight ahead.

More United customers begin their journey in the New York/New Jersey region than in any other of our hub cities. From here, our route network reaches across the globe, and we are thrilled to now offer our customers traveling in United Polaris business class a best-in-class lounge experience, said Jill Kaplan, President, New York/New Jersey for United Airlines. "We continue to add new international destinations from Newark, including Porto, Portugal and Reykjavik, Iceland, which we launched this month. The addition of the United Polaris lounge for our customers traveling on long-haul flights strengthens our service offering in Newark for the most enjoyable experience."

Additional updates coming soon

The focus behind the United Polaris experience has always been to provide long-haul travelers with what they've asked for: better sleep in the sky. On average, we plan to add one aircraft with the new United Polaris business class seat every 10 days from now through 2020. Beginning July 1, every seat in the United Polaris cabin will be provisioned with a cooling gel pillow. The gel pillow, previously available by request, has proven to be one of the most popular items of United Polaris bedding.

The opening of the United Polaris lounge at New York/Newark closely follows the debut of the United Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport in April. The United Polaris lounge at George Bush Intercontinental in Houston will open this summer, followed by the lounge at Los Angeles International Airport this fall.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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