United Airlines seats
Courtesy: United Airlines
United Airlines“The plan to refurbish cabins on its aging narrowbody planes is behind schedule due to supply chain strains,” the carrier told CNBC this week. Upgrades include larger luxury cabins, seatback entertainment screens throughout the aircraft, Bluetooth capabilities and other amenities.
The Chicago-based airline previously expected to retrofit 100 of its narrowbody planes with the new interiors by the end of the year, but now expects 60 to be completed by then, a spokeswoman said.
“The reality is supply challenges across the board be that as it may [inflight entertainment] Systems, chips, seats and many other things are more challenging than they’ve ever been in our business,” Andrew Nosella, United’s chief commercial officer, said on an earnings call last week.
United unveiled the overhauled cabins in June 2021 following an order for 270 new Boeing and Airbus’ narrowbody jets, in an effort to refresh its brand as airlines compete for passengers in the travel boom, especially big spenders.
United also said it expects to have more premium seats for sale per outbound flight than any other North American airline by 2026 as travelers compete for what could be elusive upgrades and the ranks of elite travelers with piles of frequent flyer points swell.
United’s Nocella said last week that the carrier will have multiple production lines to refresh the interiors of its narrow-body jets this summer, helping to pick up speed.
The company expects that one in three aircraft in its narrow-body fleet, including new aircraft, will have had an in-house upgrade by the end of the year.
“It’s going to take a little longer than we originally expected,” he said. He added that the United Airbus A319 was recently modified and is scheduled to fly soon.
The airline has targeted 2025 to complete the narrowbody upgrades, but it’s unclear if United will meet that target.
Separately, United said all of its wide-body aircraft will be equipped with premium economy seats and Polaris seats, the carrier’s first class on international and other long-haul flights, by August.
Other airlines such as Jet Blue And Delta Airlines They have also added amenities on their aircraft in recent years, upgrading their first-class classes, installing new seats and adding some services, including free Wi-Fi.
Delta executives said revenue growth for premium seats such as business class or premium economy has outpaced sales from the standard coach.
“We’re seeing a high degree of stickiness with these products,” Delta president Glenn Hounstein said on the company’s quarterly call earlier this month. “So once you start flying in those cabins, you don’t tend to go back.”