July 25, 2024

United Airlines evolves Polaris Business to create the ‘best sleep in the sky’

Cabin Concept of the Year 2024: Full Service Carrier Finalist

Concept launched: August 2023

Elements: Comfort, Technology

United Airlines’ and its supplier WESSCO have undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of its wellness offer in Polaris Business to curate an unparalleled journey that resonates with the evolving priorities of modern travellers.

Responding to the burgeoning demand for enhanced wellness and sleep experiences, this initiative is deeply informed by wellness insights, such as those from Hilton, which identify a significant shift towards personal wellness. In the wake of recent global challenges, there’s a heightened collective yearning for deeper rest and relaxation while travelling, and this trend is only set to intensify in 2024, with travellers increasingly seeking out products and brands that cater to a health-centric lifestyle.

United’s revamped experience has been meticulously designed to meet this demand, offering passengers a sanctuary of wellness and sleep in the skies, ensuring they arrive at their destinations rejuvenated and aligned with the contemporary ethos of prioritising wellbeing

The concept was crafted with the passenger at its heart, offering a revolutionary travel experience designed to elevate wellbeing and enrich every journey. The guiding principle of the programme is to weave wellbeing seamlessly into every aspect of the passenger’s journey. Onboard, the focus on sleep emerges as a recurring theme, enriching the travel experience by prioritising self-care and significantly enhancing the overall enjoyment of the journey from amenity kits to meditative TheraMind content to ultra comfortable bedding. This approach ensures that wellbeing isn’t just a part of the journey; it’s the essence of it, transforming travel into an opportunity for rejuvenation and pleasure.

The three key focuses of the wellness experience onboard are the amenity kits, the Theramind Wellness IFE content and the bedding. Unlike traditional airline offerings that focus solely on the flight experience, this programme takes a holistic view of passenger wellness. By considering every aspect of the journey—from the lounge to onboard and through the MileagePlus programme—it ensures that wellness is woven into the fabric of the entire travel experience.

In addition the wellness programme is integrated into the MileagePlus programme and this adds a new dimension to loyalty rewards. It signifies a shift from traditional rewards to those that genuinely enhance the passenger’s quality of life, encouraging healthier lifestyles even beyond the flight.

By leveraging feedback from passengers to shape the programme, United Airlines aims to demonstrate a commitment to personalising the travel experience. The team believe this responsiveness to passenger needs and the desire to exceed their expectations with innovative solutions is a hallmark of true innovation.

Holistic kits

United Airlines has anchored its wellness commitment through a bespoke partnership with Therabody. This collaboration introduces an exclusive Therabody amenity kit as a cornerstone of the ‘Best Sleep in The Sky’ programme. Designed with the traveller’s skincare needs in mind, the kit features a range of products from rejuvenating eye serums to hydrating hand creams, each meticulously chosen to combat the rigours of air travel. Accompanying these skincare essentials are a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, an eye mask, earplugs, socks, and a pen. The kit has been designed to provide a holistic approach to inflight comfort.

Elevating this experience further is the inclusion of a romance card which aims to transform the kit into a gateway to extended wellness. This card serves as an invitation to a wider health ecosystem, connecting passengers to a co-branded landing page that integrates with United’s MileagePlus programme. More than just enhancing the journey of wellness for the body and mind, this feature allows passengers to accrue tangible benefits through the MileagePlus programme. By encouraging the exploration and purchase of Therabody’s premium wellness products, passengers can earn redeemable miles, significantly enriching their overall travel and wellness narrative. This melding of wellness and rewards underscores United’s dedication to sustained wellbeing, making every journey with Polaris an investment in holistic health.

Theramind content

Expanding on the mission to enhance passenger wellness, United has introduced a pioneering inflight entertainment (IFE) feature through a collaboration with Therabody. This segment of the ‘Best Sleep in The Sky’ programme offers passengers exclusive access to Theramind wellness videos. Developed by Therabody’s wellness experts, these complimentary videos include a variety of practices such as movement exercises, breathwork and guided meditations. Each piece of content is crafted to assist passengers in achieving a state of relaxation and promoting better sleep, making the journey as rejuvenating as the destination. This innovative approach ensures passengers can integrate wellness into their travel routine seamlessly.BeddingExpanding on the mission to enhance passenger wellness, United has introduced a pioneering inflight entertainment (IFE) feature through a collaboration with Therabody. This segment of the ‘Best Sleep in The Sky’ programme offers passengers exclusive access to Theramind wellness videos. Developed by Therabody’s wellness experts, these complimentary videos include a variety of practices such as movement exercises, breathwork and guided meditations. Each piece of content is crafted to assist passengers in achieving a state of relaxation and promoting better sleep, making the journey as rejuvenating as the destination. This innovative approach ensures passengers can integrate wellness into their travel routine seamlessly.

Bedding

In its relentless pursuit of passenger comfort, United’s Polaris class now boasts an eco-conscious luxury bedding line, created in collaboration with Saks Fifth Avenue. This initiative is a testament to United’s commitment to sustainable luxury, featuring bedding items made from recycled plastics. Highlight of this collection is the limited-edition day blanket, designed by the acclaimed Claude Kameni, a luminary in the fashion industry recognised for her eco-friendly and vibrant designs. Kameni’s partnership with United, facilitated by Saks Fifth Avenue’s designer accelerator programme, brings a touch of haute couture to the skies, offering passengers an unmatched sleep experience while highlighting the importance of sustainability in luxury travel.

Setting Standards

By being the first to introduce a comprehensive wellness programme, United Airlines is setting new industry standards. This initiative not only differentiates United from its competitors but also raises the bar for what passengers can expect from airline travel, potentially influencing the broader industry towards a more wellness-oriented approach. The programme is designed to transcend the onboard product linking into the lounges as well where Polaris passengers have access in a select roll out of hubs to experience Reset Suites outfitted with Therabody products curated to enhance wellbeing during travel including loungers, Theragun Mini and SmartGoggles.

The WESSCO International Team reports: “As a supplier of both the amenity kits and bedding for United, and having collaborated closely with them and Therabody over the past year to shape this programme, it’s evident that United is deeply committed to elevating the passenger experience and addressing their wellness needs during travel. The United team has dedicated an immense amount of time and effort to develop a wellness programme that not only enhances the travel experience but also has a lasting positive impact on passengers’ lives well beyond their flight. Working alongside such a passionate and visionary team has been both rewarding and profoundly inspiring, highlighting their genuine dedication to improving both the journey and the wellbeing of their passengers.”

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