Last September, United started operating its New York-London routes with its freshly reconfigured Boeing 767-300ERs. However, this revamp is one part of a wide-scale overhaul for the Chicago-based carrier. All of its international fleet is expected to be converted to hold Polaris cabins by the beginning of 2021.
Simple Flying recently spoke with Bob Schumacher, United’s managing director of the UK and Ireland. He informed us that the reconfigurations have been well received by customers.
Therefore, the airline is determined to get all of its intentional aircraft worked on as soon as possible. Altogether, United is converting airplanes at the rates of one every ten days.
“The view is that all the international fleet will go through this conversion and by the end of 2020 or very early in 2021, that should be heading towards completion across the fleet,” Schumacher told Simple Flying.
The businessman then informed us that the nose of a revamped 787-800 will poke out of a hanger this week. The airline is now working through its Boeing 788 fleet, which will be followed by the completion of the 789s. Alongside this, the 777-200s are also being kitted out.
It’s not only Polaris cabins that are being fitted on these planes. Additionally, United Premium Plus (UPP) seats are being placed in each of the aircraft. This is the airline’s take on an economy plus offering, which Schumacher states is also garnering positive feedback on the routes that it’s currently offered on.
“The customers are hunting down this aircraft type. We know it. Of course, we can guarantee it on New York, on Chicago, on San Francisco now. It’s really just a case of getting the rest of the fleet done so that we can guarantee it across all of the services that we operate across the Atlantic.”
Focus on comfort
The emphasis on premium seating was evident while on the Boeing 767s that Simple Flying had the opportunity to board. There are 46 Polaris business class seats on the aircraft. This gives United the honor of having more business class seats between Heathrow and the New York area than any other US carriers.
Additionally, there are 22 UPP seats. Altogether, well over half of the aircraft is filled with these two types of seating.
United has been busy expanding its services while revising its fleet. However, the two initiatives go hand in hand and will help the carrier on its mission to continue reaching new segments this year.
Have you had a chance to fly on one of these reconfigured planes yet? Let us know what you think in the comment section.