On this morning’s United earnings call Executive Vice President Andrew Nocella announced that they’ll be adding a plane with new Polaris business class seats every 10 days through 2020. If that turns out to be accurate it’s a real acceleration of pace for an airline that’s only retrofitted half a dozen planes in the two years since the product was announced. I’ve asked United for the timetable that tiers to this claim.
United Polaris Business Class Seat, Boeing 777-300ER
Days ago United told me that there are two Boeing 767s in Hong Kong for retrofit currently, with the next one scheduled to go in there in June. They have brought one 777-200 back from retrofit in Xiamen, China and two are there now. They haven’t shared when the next one will go, but when it does it will get premium economy as well as new business class seats. It’s unclear why they’re retrofitting 777s without premium economy now, or how this squares with Nocella’s “one every 10 days” claim although it will presumably speed up as they take new aircraft e.g. 3 Boeing 787-10s this year.
Update: United confirms with the statement, “On average, United will be adding at least one aircraft with Polaris seating every 10 days from now through 2020.” On average seems to be doing the work here and they don’t suggest they’re going to be adding a plane to the total with Polaris seats every 10 days now.
With Polaris and premium economy retrofits happening together it’s expected to take 3 years to update all of the planes that will get those, though they believe they’ll start selling premium economy later this year.
With the United Polaris lounge in San Francisco opening at the end of this month, Nocella also shared that Newark and Houston will open in May. Update: the earnings call isn’t yet archived to re-listen to verify what I thought I heard from Nocella, but United tells me Newark and then Houston will open in summer and not in May.