United's Considering Adding Lie-Flat Seats to New 737 Fleet
United's already operating the 737 MAX 9, the largest of Boeing's new single-aisle jets currently flying passengers today. The airline's planning to add 100 of Boeing's extended-length 737s, too, the MAX 10, with deliveries expected to begin in 2020. If an upcoming experiment goes as planned, that longer MAX could end up looking far different from its slightly smaller sibling.
Speaking at a conference in Denver, United President Scott Kirby told reporters that the airline is considering adding lie-flat seats on its MAX 10s. As FlightGlobal reports, United may even begin testing a prototype lie-flat seat with passengers beginning in the fall. If the seat is well-received, a version could be installed on some of United's MAX 10s.
The airline could then offer lie-flat seats on additional transcontinental routes, such as Seattle (SEA) to Newark (EWR) or San Francisco (SFO) to Washington, DC (IAD) — both of which do have lie-flat seats on select frequencies now, operated by Boeing 777-200s or 757-200s.
United wouldn't be the first to offer lie-flat seats on the 737 MAX, though — FlyDubai's operating staggered lie-flat seating on its MAX 8s now, and Malaysia Airlines is planning to install a comparable product on its MAX 10s as well. In the US, United's lie-flat MAX would join similar recent additions from American Airlines and JetBlue, both of which offer competing products on the Airbus A321, rather than a 737.