United Airlines has reached an exciting milestone. At this point, all Boeing 767-400s in service feature the carrier’s new(ish) Polaris seats. This also means that United has completed its Polaris retrofit project, which is a pretty major feat.
In this post:
United Airlines 767-400s get new cabins
In 2016, United Airlines revealed its Polaris business class concept, though the airline sure has been installing the new cabins at a slow pace (in fairness, this is the reality of how things are done at most airlines).
The 767-400 was the last wide body fleet type that United worked on reconfiguring. United has 16 of these planes in its fleet, and during the pandemic there had been questions about whether or not United would even keep these planes around (if they were going to be retired, it of course wouldn’t have made sense to reconfigure them).
However, in mid-2022, we learned that United planned to reconfigure all 767-400s with new cabins, including new Polaris business class and Premium Plus premium economy seats. In addition to new seats, these 767-400s were expected to feature refreshed lavatories, updated Panasonic inflight entertainment, and new LED lighting.
The first 767-400 to be reconfigured entered service in October 2022, and as of this week, there’s an exciting development — all 767-400 flights going forward will feature updated cabins. The last 767-400 with old cabins has just been flown to Hong Kong to be reconfigured.
Reconfiguring the entire fleet of 767-400s in well under a year isn’t half bad. There are three 767-400s currently in Hong Kong being reconfigured, and once they’re back in service, United’s Polaris project will be complete. At that point only Boeing 757-200s as well as high density Boeing 777-200s won’t feature Polaris seats, and there are no plans for that to change.
How have United’s 767-400s been reconfigured?
How has the number of seats changed when United reconfigured its Boeing 767-400s? For context, previosuly United’s 767-400s featured a total of 240 seats, including:
- 39 business class seats
- 70 Economy Plus (extra legroom economy) seats
- 131 economy class seats
After being reconfigured, United’s 767-400s feature a total of 231 seats, including:
- 34 Polaris (business class) seats
- 24 Premium Plus (premium economy) seats
- 48 Economy Plus (extra legroom economy) seats
- 124 economy class seats
As you can see, United has “only” lost nine total seats per aircraft, representing a ~4% capacity reduction. The airline lost five business class seats and 22 extra legroom economy seats, but gained 24 premium economy seats, plus has a much more competitive business class product.
I’ve always found it interesting how United’s 767-400s don’t have any lavatories at the front of the cabin, as you can see on the above seatmap.
For what it’s worth, the airline is using the code “76U” internally to refer to these newly reconfigured jets.
United Airlines is completing the process of reconfiguring its Boeing 767-400s with new cabins. While three planes are still being reconfigured, the key thing to know is that all 767-400s in service now feature refreshed interiors, so there will be no more passenger flights with the old product.
With this update, not only do 767-400s feature new Polaris business class seats, but they also now feature Premium Plus premium economy seats.
Once 767-400s are fully reconfigured, that will be the end of United’s Polaris retrofit project, leaving the 757-200s and high density 777-200s as the only long haul planes without the new seats.
What do you make of United reconfiguring its Boeing 767-400s?