United Won’t Retire Its Boeing 757s Any Time Soon – Here’s Why

There have been several reports of United Airlines looking to retire its Boeing 757 aircraft. Even though it is expected to be next the fleet member to retire, the carrier is not in any rush to wave a final goodbye to the jet.

United Airlines 757
United currently holds 72 Boeing 757 airliners within its fleet. Photo: Getty Images

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Simple Flying had the opportunity to discuss the future plans of United with Bob Schumacher, the firm’s managing director of UK and Ireland. During the conversation, he shared that the airline isn’t focusing on retiring any members within its fleet.

The director referred to United’s Q3 results for 2019, stating that over the next five years, there’s really no need to retire any of the widebodies currently flying. Altogether, this is not a priority for the operator.


New additions

Last month, United confirmed a sizeable order for the Airbus A321neo aircraft. The Chicago-based airline is expecting to receive 50 A321XLRs in a deal that would be worth $7.1bn at list prices.

Airbus hopes to bring 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation aircraft with the introduction of the A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

It is these units that could steer the direction of the fate of the 757s. The A321XLRs will start to arrive from 2024 and these deliveries will naturally guide the airline to replace some of the older 757s.

“So what we’ve seen of course with the A321XLR announcement in December, 50 of those coming into the fleet from 2024 is exactly that succession planning,” Schumacher told Simple Flying.


Once United gets to grips with the new planes, it will be able to better analyze its fleet and consider what further changes need to be made. However, by this point, we will already be halfway through the decade. Therefore, there is plenty of time for the 757 to continue serving United passengers.

“It will give us the opportunity to reassess. The range of that airplane is significant and certainly can take over the 757 has done. You can also look at new markets in near and central Europe.

“We may look at that but that will be for another day. The world will be in a different place in 2024, so I guess it will be looked at in that context, but a very exciting replacement.”

United Airlines Bob Schumacher
United’s Bob Schumacher is excited about the prospects that the A321XLR could bring for the airline. Photo: United Airlines

Fit for purpose

The A321XLR has a range of 4700 nautical miles, opening up a range of possibilities for United. The airline has been busy expanding on its services over the last year by reaching new business segments and doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

With United continuing to introduce new routes and increase its frequencies, it will be reluctant to let go of any aircraft that will help it fulfill these operations. Therefore, it will make sure to say goodbye to older models in its fleet only when the time is right.

What are your thoughts on the plans for United Airlines’ Boeing 757 aircraft? Let us know what you think in the comment section.


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I hope the A321XLR makes connecting flights obsolete.

High Mile Club

The plane is too small to make that a reality. It may reduce the need for them in some places, but it’s meant to serve thin routes.


757 is a favorite plane for me.


In-flight, it reminds me of the elegant DC-8. Wish UAL would do one in the 1960’s scheme and another in the 1980’a “rainbow” colors!


and the 1960’s legroom and comfort!

Scott Herzer

I hate that plane. Hands down worst legroom of any United mid- to long-range plane. Every time I fly on it I end up with bruised knees.

Pj mc cabe

756 is getting very old move them on

Andy Richards

Right thing to do. The 757 is a brilliant workhorse. Probably Boeing’s best ever aircraft and one Boeing should never have cancelled. It should have been upgraded instead of the ridiculous 737 stretches


Does the return of the 797 to the drawing board mean that Boeing is worried about the A220-500 or potentially larger versions. Don’t know if the two are in the same window? Comments.


There should have been a 757 Max. This would have made the 737 Max 10 a dumb idea and the A 321 XLR a come from behind competitor


There is no replacement for the 757 yet. The problem is people compare the number of seats and the range to compare planes. There is more to it than that. The 757 has performance capabilities with the number of seats and cargo that no other plane has yet. It can haul allot of people a long way and it can take off and land at high altitudes with relatively short runways which no other plane can. It is a big wing long legged big powerful engined hotrod which most don’t realize. Yes there are 321 versions that can do those… Read more »

Uncle Q

I agree. I flew the 757 into and out of Orange county ( John Wayne ) airport, quite a few times, and it was no problem, and a lot of fun.


“The director referred to United’s Q3 results for 2019, stating that over the next five years, there’s really no need to retire any of the widebodies currently flying”

First I knew that the 757 is a wide body.


I love the 757! I’m glad to hear it’s not being rushed out of service, its a great aircraft


I’d rather fly a 757 over any airbus narrow body anytime.

Uncle Q

The 757 is a great aircraft,both from a passenger perspective and a pilots perspective. Boeing should have up graded the 757 instead of another stretch of the 737.


I quite like the 757, it’s a good plane, despite being old, I would like to fly on it another time. I don’t think highly of airbus as their systems are too complicated. This is my opinion.