SNUGGLING down, I pulled the gloriously cosy duvet over me and drifted off into a wonderful sleep. And woke up over 3,000 miles away!
Was I dreaming? Well sort of. Because my bed for the night was actually onboard a United Airlines flight from New York back to Edinburgh.
And boy it sure did feel dreamy. In fact it was so good I was reluctant to sleep — but a flat bed, padded mattress, not one but two amazing pillows and posh blanket from the luxury Saks Fifth Avenue store were just too good to resist.
This was my first time in United’s Polaris Business class cabin and it’s right up there with the best of the best.
The airline is rapidly expanding and has refreshed its business class experience, coinciding with a huge 30 per cent uptick in bookings for their ‘turn left’ and ‘premium plus’ cabins.
Andrew Nocella, United Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, says that’s down to the fact, post-pandemic, leisure travellers are looking for a more premium experience.
He added: “Lots of travellers are booking 4-5* star hotels and they want to enjoy the whole experience and for many that means getting there in style too.”
And after my return flight to the Big Apple I can certainly see why United is taking a huge bite out of the premium flying market.
Maybe that’s why they’ve just announced a 110 new aircraft order, including Airbus A321 XLRs which will replace the Boeing 757s they currently use on their Edinburgh-NYC twice-daily route, as well as their flights from our capital to theirs and their base in Chicago.
My daytime flight over the pond was brilliant. Flying Polaris business you get all the VIP perks. Fast track security. Tick. Lovely lounge with free food and drink. Tick. Priority boarding. Tick.
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That sets you up nicely for a fabulous onboard experience, with attentive staff and a stunning new limited edition day blanket designed by Claude Kameni in collaboration with Saks, which, along with the duvet, is made from recycled plastic bottles.
There’s also a new amenity kit with offerings from wellness technology company Therabody, including an amazing eye serum which has taken pride of place on my makeup shelf. It all comes in a recycled, and very handy, bum bag.
A welcome drink and hot nuts were followed by a very tasty red Thai prawn curry, all served on real porcelain and cutlery.
Dessert comes from a trolley packed with sweet things, including ice-cream sundaes where you get to choose your topping. Yummy.
My trip to New York was a flying visit (quite literally) and after checking into my hotel near Times Square I was itching to get out and explore.
Stupidly I hadn’t booked anything. I wanted to visit the top of the Rock at the Rockerfeller Centre but could only get tickets when I had another event! Same with SUMMIT One Vanderbilt which opened in 2020 and is already one of the most popular new experiences in the city.
Kicking myself I headed to the beautiful St Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s a stunning Gothic building, surrounded by the city’s high rises.
For lunch I headed to Urban Space just steps away from Grand Central Station. It’s a unique food hall and was mobbed with New Yorkers out to grab a quick lunch from one of the many booths.
You can get everything from Indian to Mexican, Greek to Chinese. I highly recommend it, as I do taking time to step inside the station and admire it’s beauty.
More food was on the cards when I checked in for my return flight and got to try out United’s Polaris Lounge at Newark airport.
This place is HUGE, and even has a full-service restaurant, as well as a big buffet section, lovely bar (serving my fav Whispering Angel rose), shower rooms, day bed rooms and even Therapbody massage chairs.
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Then it was time for that mile-high sleep. Cocooned in my Saks duvet, I drifted off imagining flying in style always. Dream on Heather, dream on.
GO: NEW YORK
GETTING THERE: Return fares from Edinburgh to New York start from £590pp, including baggage. Polaris Business class tickets from £4082pp. See united.com
STAYING THERE: For hotels and rates in New York City see hotels.com
MORE INFO: For more on visiting New York see iloveny.com and for Summit One Vanderbilt see summitov.com and for Top of the Rock see rockefellercenter.com
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