United Airlines said it will add more than 1,600 seats in first and
business class as the airline introduces or reconfigures nearly 250 aircraft.
is retrofitting portions of its single-aisle and widebody fleets and will begin
taking delivery of 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 550 regional aircraft with a
United is the launch customer for the CRJ550, which will be
18-feet longer than the carrier's existing 50-seat aircraft. The two-class
aircraft will feature 10 United First seats, 20 Economy Plus seats and 20 economy
seats. That compares with the four Economy Plus seats and 46 Economy seats that
United offers on its existing regional fleet.
The CRJ550s will offer a self-serve beverage and snack
station in the first-class cabin.
United expects that regional partner GoJet will begin flying
the first of 50 ordered CRJ550s during the second half of this year. Those
flights will be flown under the United Express brand.
The carrier did not reveal the space between rows, or pitch,
for the various seats on the new regional jet.
United will first use them on flights out of its Chicago O'Hare
hub and will follow with flights from its Newark hub.
United will also retrofit Boeing 767 widebodies and Airbus
A320 and A319 planes to offer more premium seats.
The carrier expects to introduce the first of 21
reconfigured 767-300ERs in the next several weeks. The planes will offer 46
United Polaris business-class seats, up from the current 30. The two-cabin
aircraft also will have 22 premium economy seats, which the airline calls
Premium Plus. They'll be laid out in a staggered six-across formation. Further
back in the main cabin will be 47 Economy Plus seats and 52 economy seats
laid-out seven abreast.
The total seat count for the planes will be 167, down from
214 in the current configuration.
United will operate the reconfigured 767s on its
Newark-London route, and expects to have all 21 in service by the end of 2020.
Introduction of the first of nearly 100 reconfigured A320s
is slated to begin early next year. The aircraft will have a first-class cabin
of 16 seats, up from the current 12. The total seat count will remain the same
United expects to begin flying retrofitted Airbus A319s
early this fall. They'll have 12 United First seats, up from the current eight.
Total seat count on those aircraft will drop from 128 to 126 as United removes
one row of Economy Plus seats.
United did not reveal the pitch for the various seats in the
retrofitted jets, nor did it say whether the various classes will offer more,
less or the same amount of pitch as existing United aircraft.