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United recently announced plans for a cabin update on their entire Boeing 757 p.s. fleet, which serves their transcontinental JFK-LAX/SFO routes. The first aircraft to be reconfigured is currently in modification and will begin flying in March.

United will be replacing the current first and business class seats with its BusinessFirst lie-flat product.
United will be replacing the current first and business class seats with its BusinessFirst lie-flat product.

Here are the new features of United’s refreshed p.s. product:

  • 28 United BusinessFirst seats with 180-degree flat-bed seats
  • 48 seats in Economy Plus with even more legroom than before (36 inches)
  • 66 seats in United Economy
  • Complimentary in-seat audio/video on-demand entertainment
  • USB and standard 110v power outlets accessible from every seat
  • Gogo Wi-Fi (coming later this year: connection speeds up to 3x faster)

Over the next 8-9 months while United is completing the transition, there will be a mixture of Boeing 757 aircraft flying on these routes. By the summer, United expects to have already reconfigured several Boeing 757 aircraft. However, in order to minimize the impact of unexpected substitutions, they will only sell p.s. flights as two-cabin flights, regardless of actual configuration, and will update their systems starting the weekend of June 6 to reflect this change. To determine who will get First Class on flights that still have not been updated from the old three-cabin configuration, United has put a few measures in place.

United's current premium services business class seats.
United’s current premium services business class seats.

Once the two-cabin occurs, the previous First Class cabin will be reserved for customers who had previously booked in United First, as well as Premier members who are already confirmed in United Business. Specifically, Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum and Premier Gold members can select one of these seats at any time if available, and Premier Silver members will have access to them at check-in. Note that during the transition, these seats will be branded as United Business, rather than United First.

United's current premium services first class product.
United’s current premium services first class product.

The best way to tell if you are on a reconfigured plane is to look at the seat map on united.com, which would show 28 seats in United Business. The seat maps will generally reflect the older configuration until a few months before departure, when they will have a better idea of what kind of aircraft will be scheduled for a specific flight. Keep in mind this is always subject to change though.

The Global First Lounge at JFK is scheduled to remain open after June 6, welcoming Global Services members seated in United Business on p.s. flights, as well as customers on connecting United Global First itineraries.

Upgrade policies are the same. You can still request an upgrade on p.s. using RPUs, GPUs and with miles. United, will continue to waive the co-pay for Premier members requesting MileagePlus Upgrade Awards.

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