UPDATE: United Airlines has revealed the configuration of its retrofitted 767-400 aircraft.
- 34 United Polaris Business seats (all seats will have direct aisle access)
- 24 United Premium Plus seats
- 48 United Economy Plus seats
- 125 United Economy seats
Currently, the 767-400s feature 39 seats in business class, 70 Economy Plus seats, and 133 in in United Economy. The addition of 24 United Premium Plus (premium economy) seats will come at the expense of five business class seats, 22 Economy Plus seats, and eight United Economy seats.
In addition, the retrofitted 767-400s will feature:
- Refreshed lavatories
- In-seat AC & USB power throughout the cabin
- Updated Panasonic IFE
- Refreshed Jumpseats
- New LED lighting throughout the cabin
The original article appears below.
By next summer, United Airlines plans to complete the retrofit of its Boeing 767-400 fleet, which thus far has been the last aircraft type in the fleet not to receive updated Polaris business class seats.
With 767-400 Retrofit, United Airlines Will Complete Widebody Polaris Conversion
During the pandemic, United mothballed its fleet of Boeing 767-400 jets and even contemplated retiring them. But the longterm grounding of the Boeing 777-200 subfleet with Pratt & Whitney engines resulted in a change of plans and bringing the 767-400s back into service. Now those 16 aircraft will receive a retrofit with the latest Polaris business class seats.
The news was revealed during a telephone call with Patrick Quayle, United’s Senior Vice President of International Network and Alliance, on United’s international expansion for summer 2022. As noted by Zach Griff, Quayle explained:
“The retrofits for the 767-400ER, the first one should be either in the hangar or going in the hangar within the next week or two. So the first one, which is a prototype, will be done this summer.”
However, United has not noted how many business class seats will be added. Currently, the 767-400s have 39 business class seats in a 2-1-2 configuration (I’ve reviewed the aircraft here).
> Read More: United Airlines 767-400ER Business Class Review Barcelona – Washington, DC
The new configuration will likely be in a 1-1-1 configuration like the 767-300 fleet, though because of the dense seating arrangement capacity is not sacrificed even while ensuring every passenger has aisle access.
United has two versions of its 767-300, one with 30 seats in Polaris business class and zero in Premium Plus (premium economy class) and another with 46 seats in business class and 22 in premium economy class.
The 767-400 has typically been used to destinations such as Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, and Buenos Aires, which represent a hybrid of leisure and business travel. My guess would be that planes will have around 35-40 seats in business class as well as a premium economy product, which has proven quite popular.
But all of this is speculation at this point: United has remained tight-lipped about the specifics of its plan.
United Airlines will retrofit its 767-400 fleet with new Polaris business class seats and promises to have that retrofit complete by the summer of 2023. However, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to learn the specifics of what the new premium cabin(s) will look like.
Good! Love the 767s, especially for the 2-3-2 coach seating. Prefer them over the 787s & 777s. Still amazes me that Boeing doesn’t try to come up with new 767 version. Especially since Boeing is still building the 767 airframes for the KC-46.
Boeing couldn’t get their head out of their asses with the MAX and the 777x (delayed to 2025 now), there’s no way they could afford resources to even look at the 767.
It’s a shame.
@jon The KC-46 exists only as a subsidy to keep inept Boeing afloat. When was the last time Boeing designed and built a clean sheet civil aircraft that was delivered on time and air-worthy? It might actually be the 767! I’m old enough to remember when Boeing was an engineering company admired by everybody, rather than the subsidy sucking shitsh@w that survives on selling obsolete junk to the least demanding customer in the world — the Pentagon.
Boeing has lost billions on the KC-46 program, and is on the hook for any additional repairs to be done (and by all accounts, there are still things to be fixed). For once, the contract is a fixed cost for the government. So with all the problems Boring has had to fix, they’re losing billions on it, and will lose billions more.
Airbus would have been a better choice, and were during the first bidding of the contract. And those aircraft would likely be flying by now. Alas…
The 777 is a clean sheet. It’s airworthy and there was barely any delay.
Patrick Quayle is a legend. Look what a better spot UA is in this summer compared to DL and AA. Having good management is super important, and the UA team is by far the best in the US.
Delta and American are missing their 777s and 767/330s right about now!
You seriously think UA is in a better position than DL and has better management? Have you seen any industry metrics over the past decade?
I didn’t say UA was in a better position over the past decade, but going forward in the next decade, UA absolutely is in better position.
Previous UA management right after the merger wasn’t good, but ever since Munoz and now Kirby it’s been great leadership.
United management before the merger wasn’t good either.
UA has the savviest management in the industry today on the planning and operations front
Now to get the soft product in better shape and it’s a real winner
If nothing else that man loves a photo op!
UA isn’t in a better spot than DL. UA has had to cancel routes because 55 of its 777-200s are unable to fly currently. Furthermore, DL replaced nearly 100% of that capacity it lost from retiring the 777s with A339s and A350s. DL is actually the only one of the Big3 that hasn’t had to cancel any long haul routes this summer due to fleet issues.
They haven’t had to cancel many because they outsource a lot of their international flying to foreign carriers. United does not. It’s united planes flying most of their international flights. With delta you will most likely end up on a code share. They’re very limited internationally on actual delta metal. Look into it like I did and you will be surprised what you find out! I was!
Every single US carrier codeshares with international partners, United is no exception to this rule. United codeshares with Singapore, Lufthansa Group, ANA, etc. Furthermore, this isn’t “outsourcing”- airlines have been code-sharing for years and actual outsourcing would be a violation of its contract with pilots. Delta also operates plenty of its own international flights- Delta actually operates more transatlantic flights than both United or American.
I just flew EWR-DUB last night on a 767-400 in one of the single “middle” Business seats. My God, it was so uncomfortably narrow, has a tiny foot well, not to mention very exposed and a ridiculous lack of storage anywhere. I would never pay cash or miles for this again, so the retrofit is very welcome news!
+1 on never again paying for the old continental polaris. Now United needs to refit the 757s with those awful seats I can’t sleep on.
When I fly economy, this is my preferred aircraft. Just me and my wife.
Mathew – TPG had an article that the new LAX T9 will be used by Star Alliance, will United get access to any of these gates, or is it strictly international ?
I don’t think anything official has been said, but I assume so yes. UA management has mentioned that they will be the largest carrier at all their key airports once they take on the 300+ new planes in the next few years, and LAX is currently their only hub where UA isn’t the dominant carrier, so I would assume they are getting access to these gates.
Also don’t think the Star international carriers need a full terminal to themselves, maybe at peak times but assume UA will use it otherwise. LAX CEO specifically mentioned the importance of it being next to T7/T8 for UA connections.
I’m going to research this. I can’t imagine all the Star carriers moving over, though it makes sense, because of the tremendous investment in the Star Alliance Lounge. But that may be a weak reason not to consolidate Star Alliance in T6-9.
From Airline Weekly:
Terminal 9 is the biggest piece of the expansion. Located east of Sepulveda Boulevard — the existing eastern border of the LAX terminal complex — the facility will include 12 gates for large aircraft as well as a new station on the airport’s under-construction automated people mover. United Airlines has its eye on the facility, which will be adjacent to its current gates in Terminals 7 and 8, for its own operations and those of its Star Alliance partners.
“We need more gates,” United CEO Scott Kirby said of LAX at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Boston on September 4. “I think [Terminal 9 will] be great for us. [But] it’s taking a long time.”
Kirby did not express any doubt that Terminal 9 would become a United and Star Alliance terminal.
Matthew, are you saying that all United 777s and 787s have now been fitted with Polaris?
No, there are still 3-4 787-9s that feature the old seats, but those will be done long before the 764 project is done.
Also, there are no immediate plans to reconfigure the leisure configuration 772 P/W planes, which will remain eight across in business class and be used for hub-to-hub and Hawaii flights.
Is Polaris going to be in a 1-1-1 configuration like the 767-300s or is it going to be 1-2-1? I just assumed they would be 1-1-1 like the 767-300, but if it has 34 seats in Polaris, that has to be 1-2-1 doesn’t it?
The standard non high-J 767-300 right now has 30 Polaris pods, so if you added one more row it would be 33. So the 767-400 has to be in a 1-2-1 configuration? Are these planes a lot wider than the -300?
1-1-1 like 763s.
Scott Kirby says “show me the money”… and UA employees scramble to add UPP to aircraft.
@Matthew, I believe the aircraft will be fitted with the Adient seats with the sliding doors, but can you confirm?
What is it with the sliding door trend that has completely taken over most airlines business class? Suites like those on Emirates or Singapore I understand the door because there is total privacy but a privacy door on a business class seat is ridiculous. I’m over 6 feet tall, if I wanted I could still look over and see what the person next to me is doing while seated let alone everyone can see what’s going on when walking down the aisle.
I actually like this aircraft and it’s curren configuration when traveling with my partner in economy, since the window seats are in rows of 2 instead of 3, so it is very comfortable, especially if we pay for the bulkhead or emergency seat.
Anyword on what happened to these retrofits? Does not appear any of them have been done?
One is done.