United's 787-10 Polaris Class: Houston - Los Angeles

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Yesterday while wasting some time on FlightRadar24 as one does, I noticed United is running their newest 787-10 between Houston and Los Angeles. I checked on award space and saw that there was some first class space and I could get back to Houston before work. Given United’s recent MileagePlus devaluation, Josh helping to enable me, and my wife’s permission, I decided to book the flight. I called the Lyft and hurried off to the airport. I arrived at Gate C7 just prior to boarding for our 3 1/2 hour flight to Los Angeles.

As I boarded the plane, instantly the mood on the was elevated. Most people in Polaris did not know they’d be flying on a brand-new Polaris equipped jet. Many people were up taking pictures and talking the flight attendants about how impressed they were. The new business class product definitely made an impression on the passengers.

I was in 9L a window seat that angles toward the side of the plane. These seats are definitely preferable to the alternating window seat which angles toward the aisle. (It almost appears that one is sitting in the aisle as you walk through.) The two middle seats closest to each other seemed to be the best for a couple traveling together.

When fully reclined I felt that the Polaris seat was a bit a tight (I have broad shoulders), but it is certainly an improvement United’s current product. I can’t speak highly enough about the entertainment system. The screen was high-definition, interactive, and full of content including podcasts, music, maps, movies, tv-shows, and a “relax” channel.

I relaxed and turned on LiveATC on my phone (FYI, the Wi-Fi was not fast enough to stream LiveATC so I needed to use cellular data as long as possible). We pushed back a few minutes late, taxied over to runway 15L, and very quietly took off (seriously, maybe as quiet as the A380 during the take off roll).

As we made our way to our cruising altitude I connected to the Wi-Fi and kept my head glued to the window. There is constantly other traffic just outside the window when flying between Houston and Los Angeles. I saw numerous Southwest and Delta flights.

The dinner selections on this evenings flight were a Chicken Pesto dish or an Asian glass-noodle salad with beef served on the side, I chose the latter and thought it was very tasty.

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I remained distracted by the large Dreamliner windows for the remaining two hours of our flight. (Free Solo was also on my screen in the background).

All of sudden we were on approach into LAX and the views were magnificent. We flew right over the In N Out Burger and landed on LAX’s runway 24R and taxied into Gate 77.

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As we deplaned, I walked over to the world famous (in AvGeek circles) In ‘N Out burger for a double-double, well done fries, and some light plane spotting. (This walk takes about 20 minutes, but you might as well walk it to work off that burger.)

After completing my meal I made my way over to LAX’s Star Alliance Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal for a shower and some noodle soup. I was pretty tired at this point, so didn’t do much of a review, but here are some pictures of the lounge. (PS. As United Gold on a domestic itinerary, you are allowed to visit other Star Alliance members’ lounges; its quite a hike over to the TBIT, but if you have the time to kill it is far better than the United Club).

Finally, as midnight approached I made my way back to Gate 77 and flew right back to Houston on ship N12006, the same plane that brought me over.

Goodnight world.

Goodnight world.

Fall/Winter Travel Plans

Well, I'm stuck here in a hot Houston, Texas while Josh is abroad enjoying Oktoberfest beers and exploring France, Germany, and Switzerland. I'm a little jealous of him, so I decided to to check into my currently booked travel for the remainder of the year. 

All my travel at the moment is booked in November, there may be a work trip here or there that gets added into this, but currently my booked travel is as follows: 

Currently booked travel plans

Currently booked travel plans

First up will be Honolulu, my dad and I will be on the final 747 flight and then get a couple of days to spend in Oahu. Being on the last 747 is going to be a really cool experience, and I'm really excited to see what United has in store for this event. I wrote a post covering this trip in more detail last week, so check that one out if you get a chance! 

For the Thanksgiving holiday, my fiance and I will be headed to Vienna, Paris, and Brussels. We'll be traveling on Delta, KLM, and Air France leaving from Houston's Hobby airport connecting in Atlanta and Amsterdam en route to Vienna. We'll have a few days at the Park Hyatt Vienna, and then we'll fly Air France from Vienna to Paris. Our Thanksgiving will be spent in Paris, and we leave from Brussels the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I've never flown KLM, Delta, or Air France, so I'm excited to experience some new airlines; and Schiphol Airport is one of my favorites so connecting there will be nice! 

I'm definitely excited for my upcoming travel plans, I just wish I had more on the docket. How about you all? Any big travel plans coming up?