United Airlines Will Put Lie Flat Seats on Boeing 737s

United Airlines President spoke at the Boyd Aviation Forecast Summit and shared that they’re planning to offer lie flat seats on new Boeing 737 MAX 10s.

“It’s been really successful in the markets that we have it in,” he says on United’s lie-flat domestic offerings today. “There are other markets out of Newark and [Washington] Dulles that we would like to have it but we simply don’t have airplanes to do it today.”

United would use these planes to replace the current Boeing 757s operating domestically with lie flat seats which are deployed on routes like Newark – Los Angeles and San Francisco, and also to expand the number of domestic routes offering a premium service.

It’s not clear what those routes will be, but most likely cross country flights with strong premium demand.

“Would San Francisco to Washington DC work? Probably. That’s part about creating a fleet we can experiment with and see which markets work and which don’t,” says Kirby on United’s plans to expand its premium transcontinental offerings with the 737-10.

They have a “second prototype” for a lie-flat seat that they would use on the plane which they’ll begin to test in the fall.

The 737 MAX has the same fuselage width as existing 737s, these are narrow planes. So you’re likely looking at a seat that’s similar to what United offers on their current premium 757 transcons, which is also the legacy Continental business class seat that the airline is replacing with new Polaris seats. It’s the B/E Aerospace Diamond (which American uses for its premium transcon business class).

However it’s possible to do something more premium, for instance Malaysia Airlines has indicated they’ll put lie flat seats with direct aisle access on their Boeing 737 MAX 10s.

United has 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10s on order and will begin taking the aircraft in 2020. I do not believe there is any universe in which they configure all 100 with lie flat seats.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I would guess Ewr-phx Ewr-pdx to start…kind of ridiculous that there re no decent biz seats n such long flights

  2. There is a middle ground (such as the super recliner seats in Virgin America first class) which I wonder if United has explored.

  3. Complete opposite as AA. If UA adds these seats I would definitely choose them over the AA product.

  4. The real question is whether the MAXs will get their new lie flat seats before United updates its 787s with Polaris seats? I’m not holding my breath…

  5. But Gary, there are Biliiions and Billions of universes. Surely one of them…… oh , well , you’re likely correct

  6. I’d hope they do some sort of new generation stagger that allows them to keep density, but allows better access.

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