United Is Getting Their First 777-200 With Polaris Seats Tomorrow

Things are finally starting to look up for United’s Polaris product… at least a little. We just found out that United’s San Francisco Polaris Lounge will be opening at the end of the month, which will be the first Polaris Lounge that the airline is opening in over 16 months (the only other Polaris Lounge is in Chicago, which was opened in December 2016). Hopefully the remaining lounges open as expected, in which case we should see three more Polaris Lounges by the fall.

When it comes to their onboard product, as of now all of United’s 777-300ERs have Polaris seats (since all these planes are newly delivered), while five of the 14 Boeing 767-300ERs have been reconfigured with Polaris seats. No 777-200s or 787s with Polaris seats are in service yet. That will be changing very shortly.

We’ve known that the 777-200ER is the next plane to be reconfigured, and the first such plane will be in service shortly. United’s first 777-200ER with Polaris seats, with tail number N786UA, will fly from Xiamen to San Francisco tomorrow. Presumably the reconfigurations on the plane are done and have been approved, and the plane can now enter service.

United is doing their reconfiguration work in Xiamen, and at the moment they have three more planes there, so hopefully within the next few weeks we’ll have four 777-200ERs with Polaris seats in service.

United will first be reconfiguring their three cabin Boeing 777-200ERs, which are the ones most in need of a refresh. These are the planes with eight seats per row in business class, and with first class cabins (which are being eliminated).

We don’t yet know on what routes United will fly the first few 777-200ERs, though I do imagine they’ll be assigned specific routes, since the configurations are very different than the aircraft they’re replacing.

In terms of the configurations of these planes, United’s three cabin 777-200ERs currently feature eight first class seats, 40 business class seats, and 221 economy seats. The reconfigured 777-200ERs will feature 50 business class seats and 242 economy seats, as they’re going from a 3-3-3 configuration in economy to a 3-4-3 configuration.

This reconfiguration is bad news for those in economy, though it’s great news for those looking to upgrade, because United is actually increasing premium seat capacity. United will have significantly more business class seats than their competitors — American is reconfiguring 777-200s with 37 business class seats, and Delta with only 28 business class seats.

(Tip of the hat to @UnitedFleetWebs & @asll001)

Comments

  1. Would love to see one of these on the EWR-DEL route. Business is always packed on that route.

  2. I personally like it to see the retrofitted 777ERs flying transpacific flights operated out of ORD. It may be bad for economy passengers, but huge improvement in the business cabin.

  3. I assume they’all also have the Y+ but that will be in the 3-4-3 configuration? My take is the 3-4-3 is not awful *IF* there is compensation in other forms (e.g., more legroom). Does anyone know how much of the additional seat space is provided by loss of seat width versus loss of aisle space?

    Is there a seat map of the new 772s?

  4. > Is it just me, or is it kind of funny one of their 777s carries the registration N787UA?

    What’s even more funny is that – if this post is to be believed – they actually have TWO aircraft with that same N number (both purported to be away in Xiamen for retrofit).

  5. “In terms of the configurations of these planes, United’s three cabin 777-200ERs currently feature eight first class seats, 40 business class seats, and 221 economy seats. The reconfigured 777-200ERs will feature 50 business class seats and 242 economy seats…

    This reconfiguration is bad news for those in economy, though it’s great news for those looking to upgrade, because United is actually increasing premium seat capacity. ”

    I am not sure this makes sense. The old config had a ratio of 48:221 premium to economy seats or roughly 18% of the plane. The new config has a ratio of 50:242 which corresponds to 17% of the plane…

  6. So, unless there’s more legroom, as adi_T mentions above, this is just really bad news for 80+% of the passengers.

  7. @ Kent Miller

    I agree with you on the EWRDEL J space, but doubt the plane will ever see that route (at least until the FA negotiations are done) . Even with the retrofit, the plane will still be a “pre-merger United plane” and thus can be only operated by pre-merger UA FA.

  8. Is United not retrofitting their 777-200s? Are they only retrofitting their legacy 777-200ERs and ex-Continental 777-200ERS?

  9. Wow, almost 2 whole lounges open worldwide, and now a 21 year old 777 is configured with a product that would have been competitive 5 years ago… United is really reaching for the brass ring!

  10. I have to fly United out of SFO next week, shame that they still haven’t finished their second Polaris lounge. The 777-200 business class is flaming garbage, but I guess it’s better than coach. If BA wasn’t more than double the price I would have done that. BA is also 8 across in business, but at least they have some privacy.

  11. “…..United is doing their reconfiguration work in Xiamen, and at the moment they have three more planes there (N787UA, N787UA, N796UA),”

    I guess they need cheap labor in Xaimen since they pay their entitled former
    CO Flight Attendants so much.

    Someone contact David Muir for his MADE IN AMERICA segment.

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