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On a recent connection through Newark, I was lucky enough to visit United Airlines’ Polaris Lounge. This lounge is, in my opinion, the best at Newark Liberty International Airport by a mile, with a gorgeous design, excellent table service restaurant, and exclusive entry requirements that prevent crowding. More than that, I think that Polaris lounges, which since opening in Chicago in 2016 have steadily spread across the country, cement United’s status as having the best business class lounge of any US carrier, beating out Delta Sky Clubs handily and even American Airline’s Flagship Lounges. Let’s get right into the review.
United Polaris Lounge Newark location
The United Polaris Lounge Newark is located in Terminal C, between Gates C102 and C120. Below is a map of Terminal C and the Polaris lounge highlighted by the bright red box.
To get there, just turn left after clearing the main security checkpoint in Terminal C and walk a few hundred feet. You’ll see the beautiful Polaris Lounge entrance on your left.
United Polaris Lounge Newark hours
The lounge is open from 5 AM to 10:30 PM seven days a week. You check the lounge’s hours, which change periodically, here. If you want the lounge at its quietest, go in the early afternoon, around 12-3 PM, after United’s flights to Asia depart and quite a bit before its European flights depart.
United Polaris Lounge Newark entry requirements
To use the United Polaris Lounge in Newark, you must meet one of two requirements:
- You’re flying long-haul business class on United the same day you access the lounge. For example, if you’re flying Newark to Chicago to Tokyo, you can use the Polaris lounge in Newark (and Chicago).
- You’re flying long-haul business class on a Star Alliance carrier (other than United) and your flight out of Newark is a direct long-haul. For example, if you’re flying Newark to Chicago to Tokyo on ANA (a Star Alliance carrier) you cannot use the Polaris Lounge in Newark, but you can use it in Chicago. Or, if you flew Polaris from London to Newark and have a connecting flight to your final destination, you cannot use the Polaris Lounge
Having status with United (even Global Services) or any other Star Alliance member does not, unfortunately, grant you access to Polaris lounges.
United Polaris Lounge Newark seating & layout
The Polaris Lounge at Newark Airport is spread out across an impressive 27,000 square feet. When entering the lounge, you’ll come upon an impressive foyer, filled with marble and LED backlighting, as well as a front desk with employees ready to check you in.
Immediately past the entrance to the right is a long seating area with armchairs and end tables, as well as loungers lined up facing each other. Though the lounge’s decor is undeniably modern and functional, it also feels slightly cold and corporate, like the lobby of a conference center hosting a life insurance trade show. I suppose that’s to be expected of an airport lounge, but it would’ve been nice to see United take a risk on something less bland and more exciting, like Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouses.
Nearby, you’ll find offices with desk chairs and large desks, as well as four phone booths where you can take calls or meetings.
If you walk directly into the lounge instead of turning right, you’ll see more seating and a surprisingly comfortable three-sided couch.
Walking further into the lounge you’ll find my favorite seating area, which flanks floor-to-ceiling windows and affords amazing runway views. There are also more private partitioned seats in this area.
Walk further down and you’ll find the a la carte dining room with lots of tables and more great runway views.
Behind the dining area is a beautiful bar with even more seating.
United Polaris Lounge Newark food & drink
The lounge features both an a la carte dining room, and a totally separate buffet area. The buffet is large and well-stocked with a selection of dishes that rotate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The selection generally comprises hot foods as well as sandwiches, fruit and vegetables, and meats and cheeses.
I sadly didn’t have time to hit the dining room before my flight, but the menu looked good, featuring dishes like pan-seared Arctic char and duck breast from Long Island.
Overall, the buffet food was good, though not outstanding. In the past, I’ve thought similarly of the a la carte service, so no surprises here. In terms of drinks, the lounge has an espresso maker for freshly made espresso drinks, as well as a bar with a selection of signature cocktails, wines, and spirits. There was nobody attending the bar when I visited and, given it was 7 AM, I probably wouldn’t have ordered anything even if there had been.
United Polaris Lounge Newark bathroom & showers
The lounge has several large shower suites, equipped with Sunday Riley toiletries, several fluffy white towels, and a heated floor, which I love.
The bathrooms in the lounge are all singles, which is generally a much nicer experience than having to use stalls.
This was yet another, unsurprisingly, excellent visit to United’s Polaris Lounge. Any criticisms I have are pretty nit-picky, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself throughout my stay. Given that Polaris Lounges seem to be steadily opening across the country, this experience is more accessible than ever, and I can’t recommend it enough.