Two years after United Airlines debuted its ambitious “United Next” program, the first narrowbody aircraft retrofit with modern interiors has entered service.
First A319 Retrofit With New Interior Enters United Airlines Fleet As “United Next” Ramps Up
Linda Jojo, United’s Chief Customer Service Officer shared a trio of pictures on LinkedIn, explaining:
“Flying this weekend on an United Airlines Airbus 319? Maybe it will be on our 1st aircraft that has been retro fit with our Signature interior! Yes — an overhead bin spot for everyone’s carry on. And yes! Seatback entertainment in every seat — complete with Bluetooth connectivity.”
In June 2021 United Airlines announced a plan to retrofit its entire narrbowdy fleet with a new “signature interior” that would include:
- seat-back entertainment in every seat
- Bluetooth technology for easy connections between wireless headphones and the seat-back entertainment screens
- USB and electrical charge ports at every seat
- larger overhead bins to provide space for more carry-on bags
- industry’s “fastest available” in-flight WiFi
- LED lighting
> Read More: United Airlines Will Modernize Mainline Jets With New Interiors
Since then, United has taken delivery of a number of Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft with new interiors, but it has not introduced a single retrofitted aircraft into service…until now.
N801UA now features the new itinerary and has entered the service. With LED lighting and large seatback monitors, the 25-year-old aircraft now appears quite modern. Today it will be flying from Burlington (BTV) to Chicago (ORD) to Rapid City (RAP) to Denver (DEN) to St. Louis (STL) to Chicago to Colorado Springs (COS). Quite a day!
Training passengers to place their bags upright in the bin will take some time, but the theoretical possibility of fitting everyone’s carry-on bag into the overhead bin is just as important as the mood lighting and IFE screens.
Certainly, it will not take another two years before the next retrofit enters service, but it is not clear yet how fast United will be able to proceed with its retrofit program. There are hundreds of jets to retrofit, including 80 more A319s.
The first United Airlines aircraft has been retrofitted with a new interior, as part of the United Next rollout. This marks an important first step, but now it is time for United to run with this and get the project done. In the meantime, I just flew on a 737 MAX 8 last month with the new interiors and can say that they make a huge difference. These interiors are quite attractive and in the case of the A319, make an old plane look very new.
Considering how much time one has to spend on a United plane of any size, at Newark, on the ground, thanks to endless delays, it is nice to be able to do it in a refreshed cabin.
Slightly off topic, but can anyone help me with some advice on an economy class seat on a UA 787-9./777-2 It’s my first time travelling UA and I’m flying BNE-SFO and then a few days later SFO-LHR.
On the 787-9, I’d chosen 57B (as it’s in a set of 2, and has a window) but seatguru marks this as ‘red’. is that warranted? should I change?
On the 777-2, I’d chosen 48L (as currently it shows with an open middle!) but I’m open to any advice!
It’s my first time flying UA, I’m normally a OneWorld BA loyalist but I couldn’t ignroe how much cheaper UA were – any tips gratefully appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Ralph, are you traveling solo or with someone?
Thanks so much for your reply, and whilst I’ve got you – a huge thanks for your a constant through the ups and downs of life and I read every article with great anticipation!
Would love to see the breakdown on cost between this and a new Max. Along with the estimated fuel savings over time between the Max and the retro A319’s. Seems like a great way to offer a superior product to your customers at a fraction of the cost.
Flew on an old USAir A319 this week and it is embarrassing that American is still using these in this condition. But even as an American defender, I’m not surprised.
Congratulations to United for making this investment.
It’s nice to see a 319 with a reasonable sized F cabin. AA has so many with only 8 seats which not only means upgrades are a joke, but even paid F seats are hard to come by last minute.
Some may remember several years ago when the expanded the A319 to 12 F seats, they also promised 4 more seats on the A320 – that was silently forgotten!
A319s also have a new first class seat design. This will be a point of inconsistency with the MAX, and it will be further interesting to see what they do with the NGs and 753s.
They do? I thought they were the same basic design as the MAX and 737-700s…
They do because apparently, as pioneered by Delta, hard-shell seatback is the new wave.
I just noticed that – ugh…
@Matthew, question about these retrofits, do you know if they are also doing frame checks at the same time?
It is a very good question that I do not know the answer to but will attempt to find out.
It’s a separate work package separate from normal checks.
Thanks Mike – makes sense. Do you work for United?
Yes sir, at the NOC
Thanks! I DO LIKE AIRBUS over the MAX and I hope they keep them!
About time lol
Last time I went on the United mainline fleet it was the worst cabin I’ve ever sat in. Old 737 and 757 cabins.
That was 10 years ago, so things mightve changed since then, with the 737MAX and all.
To be honest, they’re the only ones IMHO out of the big 3 that haven’t changed their cabins in existing aircraft besif3s their MAX in the narrow body department. Doing good though in wide bodies.