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United's new A321XLR jets will get revamped Polaris, premium economy cabins

Jan. 06, 2022
4 min read
United's new A321XLR jets will get revamped Polaris, premium economy cabins
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United's Polaris and Premium Plus cabins will soon make their debut on a single-aisle jet.

The Chicago-based carrier is working on designing revamped business-class and premium economy cabins for its new Airbus A321XLR, or "extra long range," when the planes join the fleet in 2024, according to Executive Traveller.

“It will be comparable to what you have now with Polaris, and it will be called Polaris... We’re also going to put Premium Plus, our premium economy product, on there," Patrick Quayle, United's senior vice president of international network and alliances, told the publication.

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Quayle didn't mention any specifics about the new product or what it'd look like. "I would just say it is a Polaris business class seat that works well on the narrow-body aircraft," he added.

United Polaris on the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

To date, United's Polaris and Premium Plus cabins are only outfitted on wide-body jets. The airline will need to modify the business-class product to get it to fit onto a single-aisle plane like the A321XLR. Given that Quayle has confirmed that it'll be a Polaris seat, flyers can likely expect an all-direct aisle access configuration in the pointy end of the plane.

United will likely need to make fewer, if any, adjustments to its premium economy product to get it to fit on a narrowbody plane. After all, the product is nearly identical to a domestic first-class recliner.

United Premium Plus on the Boeing 767-300ER (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

TPG reached out to United for confirmation and will update the story when we hear back.

United ordered 50 Airbus A321XLRs in December 2019, with the first deliveries scheduled for late 2024. They'll replace United's aging Boeing 757-200 fleet, with the carrier expected to deploy these jets on similar routes to the ones that the 757 typically flies. This includes point-to-point service to secondary European markets, like Glasgow and Edinburgh from Newark, as well as some Latin American cities, too.

Before the pandemic, United flew a mix of 757-200s with two different configurations. The premium-heavy configuration flew with 28 lie-flat pods in a 2-2 configuration, along with 42 extra-legroom coach seats and 72 standard coach ones. These jets were retired at the outset of the pandemic, leaving United with 40 Boeing 757-200s outfitted with 16 business-class pods and more than 150 coach seats.

Business class on United's Boeing 757-200 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While the seat itself and the configuration for the A321XLR are yet to be determined, it'll be interesting to see a three-cabin narrowbody plane return to the skies for United. The airline used to offer a p.s. (premium service) experience on its Boeing 757s, which included a first, business and coach cabin for flights between the New York City area and Los Angeles and San Francisco. These products were retired in favor of the two-cabin configuration that still flies select premium transcon routes today.

Along with United, American Airlines and JetBlue are two other U.S. carriers that have ordered the A321XLR. The former has already announced that Thales will be the provider of the inflight entertainment system and onboard connectivity.

JetBlue hasn't unveiled any details of its A321XLR cabins, though it'll likely be configured with its new award-winning Mint business suite and studio products.

Featured image by A rendering of United Airlines new Airbus A321XLR. (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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