As part of its largest ever order for 270 Boeing and Airbus jets, United Airlines will undertake a nose-to-tail transformation of its fleet and offer a new and improved in-flight experience for passengers.
“We’ll deliver a better, more consistent experience, with more features for more customers, faster than ever,” United chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said in a statement. “Our new, signature interior creates a more consistent product across our mainline fleet – with a focus on the amenities that customers value most like seat back screens, fast WiFi and extra storage – to further set ourselves apart.”
United’s new narrow-body jets will help increase the airline’s total seats per departure for North American flights by 30 seats, or nearly 30%, by 2026. It will also offer more choice to United customers when selecting their onboard experience and provide United’s MileagePlus members with more opportunities for upgrades.
United’s 737 Max 8 features 16 United First seats and 54 Economy Plus seats, more than double the number of extra leg room seats offered by competitors on similar-sized aircraft. The 737 Max 10, which makes up the majority of United’s new order, will include 20 United First seats and 64 Economy Plus seats. The new A321neo aircraft will also have a seat count similar to the 737 Max 10.
Meanwhile, the airline’s new in-flight entertainment experience will feature 13-inch high-definition seatback screens in every first class seat and 10-inch HD screens in every United Economy seat on the 737 MAX.
Customers will have free access to more than 2,800 entertainment offerings, including movies, TV shows and international selections, as well as audio playlists, podcasts, and games. They can also watch documentaries and live concerts through United’s exclusive collaboration with the Coda Collection.
In addition, passengers traveling aboard each new 737 Max and A321neo can also use United’s in-flight wifi to stream content from online services as well as Bluetooth technology to connect wireless headphones. Every seat will also have access to electrical power and USB charging ports as well as accessibility features for customers with hearing or visual disabilities.
In addition, United’s new significantly larger overhead bins will provide space for one carry-on bag for every person onboard, which the airline says will help alleviate gate crowding and anxiety, reduce the number of gate-checked bags and decrease the time it takes to board.
According to United, the transformation is expected to be 66% complete by 2023 and 99% complete by the summer of 2025.