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).
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.