A single picture may just be anecdotal, but United Airlines must not let its cabin interiors deteriorate even with “United Next” retrofits planned.
Aircraft Interiors Must Be Maintained Ahead Of Retrofits At United Airlines
View From The Wing shares the following tweet:
— ¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@shirlalalaley) September 4, 2023
That’s simply unacceptable – I think we can all agree. Sure, maybe taping this up is better than delaying the flight, but this is really an embarrassment.
And while I have not encountered a broken table myself, I have heard from readers that aircraft interior maintenance has been lacking lately. One told me about a burnt-out overhead reading light on a recent flight. Another told me about a cracked window shade. I’ve heard several complaints about wi-fi not working.
I have some of my own, too. These photos are from my last 757 flight:
Again, these are anecdotes, but it is not so unreasonable to wonder if United has decided it will defer some “non-essential” maintenance on narrow-body aircraft because these aircraft will soon be retrofitted anyway.
Whether policy or not, United must ensure that it gets the basics rights onboard, including:
- clean aircraft
- functional seats, including tray tables and power ports
- functional wi-fi
These are absolutely fundamental.
But here’s the thing. When I flew back from South Africa last year, what immediately struck me was the poor condition of the aircraft. This was a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner–hardly an old aircraft–and had the latest business class product onboard, but the cabin was in a dreadful state.
For example, my side console was cracked and taped up:
The siding was torn:
In the lavatory, the flight attendant call button was broken:
And my napkin had a large hole in it (certainly not intended as a buttonhole…).
Overall, I’ve noticed that the Polaris seats are not aging well, which is perhaps an even greater concern.
There’s no smoking gun policy that United is deferring interior maintenance on its older aircraft or anything like that. However, I am concerned that United is not placing adequate focus on the importance of presenting a clean and functional cabin interior on its older jets (and some newer ones too). If United wants to catch Delta Air Lines and command a revenue premium, it is essential that the onboard experience meets such a baseline standard of functionality.