United Introducing Premium Economy This Month

United has been slow to retrofit its fleet with new Polaris business class seats. According to the Polaris Tracker website United maintains only 11 planes have been retrofit with these seats since the program was announced two years ago.

They now say they’re going to be introducing a plane with Polaris business seats every 10 days.

But that doesn’t mean they’re doing this now. There’s a spreadsheet somewhere that suggests a plan exists which adds a lot of Polaris-equipped planes later, such that adding up planes brought into the fleet with the new seats divided by days gets them an average of 10 days. But it’s seems pretty clearly backloaded.

It’s also worth noting that there is no announced plan to ever put these seats in Boeing 787s and those are the planes that fly really long distance routes like Los Angeles and San Francisco – Singapore, and Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco – Sydney.

So far United says only 3 Boeing 777-200 planes have the new seats. This is the workhorse of the fleet:

This is the aircraft that’s getting international premium economy first, and that product will become available this month.

Credit: United

As they retrofit more 777-200s they’ll have both Polaris business seats and premium economy, which helps incentivize them to start rolling Polaris business on these planes it seems.

American and Delta already have a premium economy product. American has it on most of its international fleet. Delta has it on Airbus A350s.

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. United doesn’t fly Houston-Singapore (can any aircraft fly this route?) but I agree the Polaris roll out has just been sub-par.

  2. As you are fond of reminding us, it’s all about the seat. And UA has had E+ for eons – much longer than DL or AA MRTC->LRTC->PE. UA was also the first US airline to have lie flat biz class throughout the fleet.

    Nobody cares about the crappo food or free drinks. The only real innovation was NZs 3 across coach seats that reckoned into a tight bed for two.

    The airline that brings back wider seats will certainly deserve a premium, but the trend seems to be the other way

  3. Gosh, I really hope GPUs will still go economy -> Polaris/business and not economy -> “Premium Plus.” Also, seems like a poor marketing choice to keep “Premium Plus” and “Economy Plus”

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