United Airlines has reached a pretty exciting milestone when it comes to the availability of Polaris business class seats…
United finishes reconfiguring 787s with Polaris cabins
United Airlines’ final Boeing 787-9 has just been flown to Xiamen, China, to be reconfigured with new cabins. This means that effective immediately, all United Boeing 787s in service feature new Polaris cabins.
For context, United unveiled its new Polaris business class concept back in 2016, but as is the case with so many airlines, actually rolling out the product on a consistent, widespread basis, has taken quite some time. For the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, United flies the 787-8, 787-9, and 787-10 variants:
- All Boeing 787-10s were delivered to the airline with new Polaris seats, as those planes only joined United’s fleet starting in 2018
- For the 787-8s and 787-9s that weren’t delivered with the new seats, United reconfigured its first 787 with the new cabins in early 2020
- While United’s plan was initially to reconfigure all 787s by the first quarter of 2021, the pandemic delayed that quite a bit
But anyway, that major milestone has now been reached, and at this point passengers booked on the 787 won’t have to worry about a last minute aircraft swap that could land them in the carrier’s old business class cabin.
How’s the rest of United’s Polaris retrofit program going?
Roughly six years after the Polaris concept was announced, United is finally in a pretty good spot when it comes to consistency. At this point the only planes that will still be reconfigured with new cabins are the Boeing 767-400s. United has 16 of these in its fleet, and the plan is for them to all be reconfigured by the summer of 2023.
With the exception of the 767-400, at this point United has completed its Polaris retrofit program. The one thing to keep in mind is that United has a subfleet of Boeing 777-200s that have the old legacy United business class product, featuring flat beds in a 2-4-2 configuration.
However, these planes aren’t used for long haul international flights. Rather they’re primarily used for high capacity domestic flights, including hub to hub, as well as to and from Hawaii. There are no plans to reconfigure these planes.
Going forward, all United Airlines Boeing 787s in service will feature new Polaris business class seats. This comes as the final 787 with the old cabins is in the process of being reconfigured.
At this point United’s Polaris retrofit program is done, with the exception of the 767-400, as that project should be complete by the summer of 2023.
What do you make of United finishing its 787 Polaris retrofit program?
Article is correct. 10/18 was the last flight from sms
I think Polaris seats are comfortable and easy to use. I hope they update their catering though.
This article is false. I just flew a -9 from Amsterdam (10/18/2022) that was NOT Polaris.
Congratulations! You were on THE LAST NON-POLARIS 787 FLIGHT from AMS! That bird left AMS on 10/18/2022 ... same flight date as what you said you were on. (This embedded Tweet was in the article...) https://twitter.com/UnitedFleetWebs/status/1582353643805679616
Speaking of which, United needs to have a 2-4-2 economy class on that subset of long range 787-9s that they were going to have for routes like SFO-BLR. And so does Qantas. The configuration that only JAL has currently. Honestly it’s kind of a waste for JAL because they don’t have any ultra long haul flights, and probably won’t ever due to JAL being very conservative and Japan’s geography. They use the 777 on almost all of their longest flights.
"Needs" to have it, why?
First, they can get 7abreast in UA economy, if they simply pay for Premium.
Though if you're speaking in terms of range: Boeing tweaked UA's 789s with fuel management software that'll get them extra range in winter at 254tonnes; and while Boeing confirmed in January that they're working on a 260tonne MTOW for the 781, it's no secret that they're going to make it an option for the 789 as well.
Reconfigured in China? Screw you United.
....wait 'til you find out that American, Delta, Air France, Lufthansa, Finnair, Virgin, Qantas, Air Canada, etc etc all do the same.........
Now they need to think about those domestic widebodies. Flew a 777-200 recently DEN-ORD and that cabin was tired, not just in first.
Some of those are getting up there in age, but considering the rest of their planes (both narrow and wide) have been updated recently or are planned to be soon, I'd love to see a cabin overhaul for any that won't be retired anytime soon. Maybe a new "medium-haul" widebody first product somewhere between Polaris and PP?
Sadly, some dreamliners have Polaris seats that are only 20.5" wide instead of the usual 22". Very uncomfortable and not competitive.
I suspect the 777-200 non-ER's will be removed as the A321's and 737-10's come online.
I work right next to United and the 787 looks amazing with Polaris, I’m glad they scheduled those Dreamliners for work. Now they just need to do the old 777 fleet that is still in the massive economy set up. Looks awful, crews hate those aircraft so much as well.
I think there’s a typo here:
“At this point the only planes that will still be reconfigured with new cabins are the Boeing 767-400s. United has 16 of these in its fleet, and the plan is for them to all be reconfigured by the summer of 2023.”
That statement is correct. The 764s are just starting reconfiguration with the first completed and expected to leave HKG in under an hour. They are the last widebodies in international configuration without Polaris.
Ok now let’s work on reconfiguring the catering.