United Will Retrofit 787-8s and -9s With New Polaris Seats Starting This Year
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
It’s finally happening, United has announced its upgrading the business class seats on its widebody aircraft that are used on some of its longest international routes.
United said it will start retrofitting its Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with its new Polaris seats, replacing the current sub-par option that’s been on the aircraft since 2014. The airline says that the first -8 or -9 will be reconfigured with the new seat by the end of 2019.
Until now, United hadn’t announced when it would be upgrading its Dreamliners, the first being delivered almost five years ago. Currently, you’ll find these less private seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration.
In 2016, United announced an overhaul to its premium product offering, getting rid of first class and upgrading business class seats to its new Polaris business class product that features semi-enclosed suites with direct aisle access and upgraded amenities like Saks Fifth Avenue bedding.
United just took delivery of its first 787-10, which features the new seat, and it’s configured in a 1-2-1 layout. Since the -8s and -9s are the same width as the -10, it’s likely United will use the same layout.
“We’re trying to get the reconfigurations done as aggressively as possible.” United’s Vice-President of Marketing Mark Krolick told Australian Business Traveller.
The airline is currently flying 37 -8s and -9s with the old seats, but hopes to have the first aircraft refitted by the end of this year.
“By the end of 2020, we should have the majority of the international widebody fleet reconfigured… the only possible exceptions to that would be any aircraft that are slated for immediate retirement,” Krolick said.
According United’s Polaris tracker, the airline has already reconfigured 13 of 14 Boeing 767-300ERs, 13 of 51 Boeing 777-200s and all of its 777-300ERs and 787-10s were delivered to the airline with the new seats. However, United is still operating quite a few 767s with the older seats (these are not included in the Polaris tracker), it’s unclear if and when these will get reconfigured.
The changes will not just affect business class — the airline plans on rolling out its new premium economy Premium Plus seats on the -8s and -9s.
United’s just opened its fifth Polaris lounge in Los Angeles (LAX) and plans on building four more in the coming years. United is still taking -9 deliveries from Boeing, although all those will be delivered with the new seat.
United confirmed with TPG that 787 retrofits are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of the year.
For more on United Polaris, read our in-depth guide that explains everything you need to know about the product, from how to book with miles and which routes to find it on.
Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.