United Airlines and its Polaris international business class lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) got a big thumbs up on Tuesday.
Skytrax, the British-based independent airline ranking firm, revealed that the SFO Polaris Lounge was voted Best Business Class Lounge in the World in the 2019 World Airline Awards from Skytrax.
The respected awards were voted on by more than 21 million airline customers representing more than 100 nationalities.
United has been rolling out Polaris lounges at domestic hubs since 2016, when the first one opened at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). In addition to SFO and ORD, United now has Polaris lounges at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport.
United Vice President of Marketing Mark Krolick said of the recognition from Skytrax: “Being honored with this award is a testament to our revolutionary efforts to continue to exceed our customers’ high expectations. Our customers are telling us that the Polaris lounges are a game changer in providing modern, tranquil spaces to relax, recharge and enjoy top-notch food and drinks. The entire Polaris experience begins in the lounge, which is why we’ve placed so much emphasis on getting it right.”
Added Edward Plaisted, CEO at Skytrax: “Polaris lounges have impressed customers from the first unveiling in 2016, and have grown in popularity among international air travelers year-on-year. This global recognition is a top seal of approval for the staff and management involved in delivering the Polaris lounge concept, and they should be rightly proud of a truly world-class facility.”
The Polaris Lounge at SFO is the largest among those that United has opened to date.
The SFO facility and those elsewhere feature a custom scent, a curated music playlist, and subtle mood lighting. The SFO lounge offers a variety of seating areas to rest, recharge devices or order a sit-down meal. Daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow are available in a secluded quiet area. Shower facilities are also part of the mix.
Both the Polaris lounges and the onboard Polaris cabin on international flights represent United’s most significant product upgrade in more than 10 years. Nearly 50 percent of United’s international fleet is now outfitted with the full Polaris product. And United will open it sixth Polaris lounge in 2020 at its hub at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.
In addition to United’s win for the SFO Polaris lounge, the Star Alliance global airline alliance was named Best Airline Alliance for the fourth consecutive year.
United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, which was the first alliance to win the award in the category when it was introduced in 2005. Star Alliance has since won the award 10 times.
The World Airline Awards were introduced by Skytrax in 1999 to provide a customer satisfaction index that was independent, impartial and global.
United Airlines is a unit of United Continental Holdings (NASDAQ: UAL).
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