One upside to the pandemic is that it allowed airlines to accelerate planned maintenance and retrofits. In the case of United Airlines, it has retrofitted more aircraft to feature its latest Polaris business class seat and is drawing closer to completion. Here’s the current breakdown of retrofits completed and in progress.
United Airlines Polaris Retrofits – Which Planes Feature New Business Class?
As of today, the following aircraft feature United’s latest Polaris business class seats:
- GE engines – 21 complete, last one now undergoing modification
- Pratt & Whitney engines – 29 complete, all currently grounded
- 10 complete, last tw0 currently undergoing modifications
- 14 of 38 complete
My source is the very reliable @UnitedFleetWebs on Twitter:
763 High J, 19 complete, last 2 now in mod
772GE, 21 complete, last now in mod
788, 10 complete, last 2 now in mod
78X/77W, all delivered with Polaris/PP
763 30BF Polaris, 14 of 17 complete, 3 stored
772PW, 29 complete, grounded/fan blades
789 14 of 38 complete
— United Fleet Website (@UnitedFleetWebs) May 3, 2021
The 787-10 and 777-300ER were delivered with Polaris seats and thus are not undergoing retrofits.
The 767-400, which is returning to service for the ramp up in summer travels, will not be retrofitted at this time. United also maintains a subfleet of 777-200 aircraft dubbed HD for high density that it uses for leisure markets like Hawaii. These continue to have 2-4-2 seating in business class.
United’s Polaris business class seats are not industry-leading, but a substantial leap forward from the last generation of business class seats, which did not include direct aisle access for passengers seated in window seats and in the case of legacy United’s former 777-200s, had eight seats across in business class.
These seats do a great job of keeping cabin density intact while providing more privacy and comfort. It is nice to hear that the final 767-300s, 777-200s, and 787-8s are now undergoing modification. Hopefully the remaining 787-9s will also be expeditiously completed.