United Airways simply hit a significant milestone that is certain to excite many frequent vacationers.
As of July 11, each long-haul worldwide United flight operated on a wide-body plane will supply lie-flat Polaris business-class pods.
That wasn’t the case till only a few days in the past when the final of United’s Boeing 767-400ERs was taken out of service and ferried to Shanghai for a nose-to-tail retrofit.
Need extra airline-specific information? Join TPG’s free biweekly Aviation publication.
The 22-year-old jet, registered N66051, final operated a income flight from Madrid to Newark on July 8, earlier than being ferried to Honolulu, Hong Kong and eventually, Shanghai, the place it should stay till new cabins are put in.
Upon modification, United could have 197 whole worldwide wide-body plane outfitted with Polaris. All long-haul worldwide flights now function the “true” Polaris product, and only a handful of wide-body planes primarily flying home missions do not sport these seats (extra on that under.)
That is undoubtedly thrilling information for vacationers since you may now not must play the guessing recreation of what plane configuration you may expertise.
The final jets to be reconfigured are the 16 Boeing 767-400ERs, which had been parked indefinitely on the outset of the pandemic. They had been lately reactivated and had been initially flying round with their previous and outdated cabins. United launched into a retrofit mission final yr to carry these planes to the newest onboard expertise requirements, and the end line is lastly right here.
Whereas it is little question an thrilling second for United’s onboard expertise, the Polaris retrofits have hit loads of turbulence over the previous seven years.
Join our day by day publication
The product was first introduced again in 2016, and the following months had been nothing in need of chaotic for the provider’s business-class providing. A number of Polaris Lounges suffered yearslong delays, the retrofit technique wasn’t clear and the onboard service stored getting tweaked.
Add on a pandemic, which briefly halted the retrofit mission, and right here we’re — seven years later — with a accomplished rollout.
Although the Polaris retrofits would possibly’ve taken (what appeared like) perpetually, the airline appears to have discovered its beat with the introduction of Premium Plus, United’s tackle premium financial system.
The product first began rolling out in 2019, and because the cabin has grown in reputation, United has been fast to satisfy that demand by introducing an all-new flight expertise throughout its whole worldwide wide-body fleet — all in simply 4 years.
Fleet-by-fleet Polaris and Premium Plus retrofit replace
United splits its 37 Boeing 767-300ERs into two totally different layouts. There’s a premium “high-J” model with a whopping 46 business-class pods, 22 Premium Plus recliners and 99 coach seats, in addition to a revised “commonplace” structure with 30 Polaris pods, 24 Premium Plus recliners and 149 coach seats.
13 of United’s 767-300s sport the “commonplace” structure, whereas 24 of the jets function the “high-J” model.
There is only one “commonplace” 767-300 that is at present being retrofitted with Premium Plus.
As soon as full, all 767-300s will function a three-cabin expertise.
That is the ultimate main fleet kind to obtain the Polaris and Premium Plus cabins.
United has 16 Boeing 767-400ERs in its fleet, and 12 of them already function the up to date three-cabin structure. 4 of them are at present present process modifications in Asia, however all flights at present operated by the Boeing 767-400ER function each Polaris and Premium Plus.
All United Boeing 777-200s that function long-haul worldwide routes have already been up to date with the newest cabins.
The provider has a subfleet of 777-200s that primarily serve home locations, together with Hawaii, and different short-haul markets. These planes have a really outdated 2-4-2 “dorm-style” business-class cabin, and there aren’t any plans to improve these cabins with the Polaris and Premium Plus retrofits.
All 22 of United’s Boeing 777-300s are already outfitted with the Polaris and Premium Plus cabins.
Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
All 12 of United’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners have already been retrofitted with Polaris and Premium Plus cabins.
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
All of United’s 38 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners have already been retrofitted with Polaris and Premium Plus cabins.
Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner
All of United’s 21 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners function Polaris and Premium Plus cabins.