United Airlines is in the process of retrofitting its current 767-300 and 777-200 fleet to install new Polaris Business Class seats. The first 767 is now out of the factory and will enter service this summer on an unspecified route. How does it look?
The current 767-300 layout is:
- 30 business seats (1-2-1 configuration)
- 49 Economy Plus seats (2-3-2 configuration)
- 135 economy seats (2-3-2 configuration)
The new 767-300 layout is:
- 30 Polaris seats (1-1-1 configuration)
- 46 Economy Plus seats (2-3-2 configuration)
- 138 economy seats (2-3-2 configuration)
Yes, despite going from 2-1-2 to 1-1-1 in business class, United is keeping the seat count identical. How is this possible?
Here’s the seat map now posted on united.com:
For comparison purposes, here are the other two 767-300 configurations currently in service (one three-cabin, one two-cabin).
Compared to the old seat map it just looks like a bigger plane, doesn’t it?
But it’s not. The dense configuration of the cabin allows for squeezing. It’s an optical illusion. But be warned: these Polaris seats will be tighter than on the 777.
Polaris Seat: 767 vs. 777
The United 777-300 with Polaris seating features seat pitch of 23″ (58.4 cm) with a sleeping area of 6’6″ (198 cm). The 767-300 will feature 20.6″ (52.3 cm) seat pitch and a sleeping area of 6’3″ (190 cm).
So three about three inches shorter and three inches narrower. How much of a difference will that make? For comparison purposes, the existing 767-300 (three-cabin) business class seat has 18.8″ (47.8 cm) seat width and a 6’4″ (193 cm) sleeping area. The existing two-cabin business class seat is identical to the dimensions of the new Polaris seat.
The general consensus among United flyers is the 767-300 is best for economy class rather than business class. While that won’t change, what we do not know yet is how much room will be in the footwell. That will likely be the ultimate determiner of how comfortable the new seat is.
Avoid for Couples?
Some are already complaining that the 1-1-1 configuration makes the 767-300 problematic for couples traveling together. I suppose it does, but surely a few hours of separation won’t break a relationship…
The first 767-300 retrofit is ahead of schedule. Hopefully United will be able to accelerate its retrofit program in the months and years to come so that its new seat will remain competitive by the time retrofit is complete.