United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has been touting his carrier’s new interiors. The United NEXT cabin includes internet that finally works, catching up to the rest of the industry, as well as larger overhead bins like many other airlines offer.
They’ve committed to seat back entertainment screens, something he eschewed when he was President of American Airlines. First class has wireless phone charging, and every seat has bluetooth connectivity. While the seats in coach are still too thin, the cabins are beautiful. While new delivery aircraft like United’s Airbus A321neos feature this cabin, they’ve been slow to retrofit the rest of their domestic fleet as-promised.
.@United hasn’t bought an @Airbus plane in 21 years…today UA321 will mark the first flight on its new A321neo aircraft. Biz seat has a wireless cell charger in the armrest and a privacy divider. Bigger bins should hold 200 bags (1 per passenger) and in the back self snacks pic.twitter.com/Fg5PLZvzM0
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) November 30, 2023
What’s striking to me, though, is how Kirby describes these new overhead bins because he – or whomever wrote this for him – does not know what the full sized carry on bags (which they ban passengers on basic economy fares from bringing onto the plane) are called.
Our first Airbus A321neo took its inaugural flight from Houston last night. Our new aircraft are the best customer narrowbody aircraft anywhere in the world with large screens with seatback entertainment with Bluetooth connectivity in every seat, large overhead bins that can accommodate a roller board for every passenger on a 100% full airplane, and faster Wi-Fi.
According to CEO Kirby, passengers bring small wheeled bags on board that are called “roller boards.” What on earth are those?
Like those people who thought Elton John sang about “my old goat Teddy and a place in Bayonne” in Crocodile Rock he’s clearly thinking about – and misheard – “rollaboards.” They “roll” because they have wheels. And they’re brought “aboard” the aircraft.
It’s not only the correct, coherent name – rollaboard is in fact the original trademarked name for a rolling suitcase, owned by Travelpro whose first use dates back to 1987. (Similar ‘Roll-Aboard’ was first used in 1985.) On the other hand a roller board might be a scooter made out of plywood? As best I can tell, its use as a reference to a wheeled cabin bag began as a way for knock off bags to get around the trademark.
Kirby isn’t the only senior airline executive to get basic terminology wrong. American Airlines Chief Operating Officer frequently refers to “lay flat” business class seats, instead of “lie flat.” Seymour used to work under Kirby at American Airlines and US Airways.
(HT: Andrew G)