United Has to Mothball Brand New Boeing 777s Because of Polaris Business Class Seat Delays

Two weeks ago I wrote that United’s slow roll out of new business class seats is being delayed even further because seat manufacturer Zodiac hasn’t been able to deliver seats on time. It’s reached the point where United is taking aircraft that it cannot put into service.

United’s new Polaris soft product is now on their international flights but the new seats — which are ‘good enough’ so that you no longer will want to actively avoid United internationally — will take years to phase in.

United debuted new seats on an international route for the first time flying San Francisco – Hong Kong. In May they’ve said they will begin flying real Polaris lie flat direct aisle access seats Newark – Tel Aviv.

Zodiac’s delays delivering seats now mean that United is mothballing aircraft.

According to Woody’s Aero Images on Twitter, two of United’s new aircraft are going into storage rather than out into operation thanks to a lack of available Polaris seats.

@woody2190 has details:

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. Any chance UA might dump Zodiac and switch to something better than ‘good enough’? Granted, Polaris is a big leap forward for UA (if and when it actually happens in full), but it’s still not even up to par with other carriers nextgen J products which will be in place well before UA’s 5+ year (and maybe even longer now) rollout. Considering all the additional grief and expense dealing with Zodiac’s situation, one would think UA would have good justification to exit the contract and source something better and faster?

  2. Apex suites would be most ideal – even the Cirrus or Super Diamond would be better than the Zodiac seats

  3. How does Zodiac maintain any contracts? At what point does UA decide that their ‘pre’ marketing was a bad idea and move on to a new seat?

  4. This is really heartbreaking. We have polaris first class reservations in october for ord-hkk-sin. It will absolutely suck if i have to get on the old plane with the old seats, and a new pillow. In fact, I will probably cancel the flight and see where AA would like to take me, at least they would be delivering what they promise even if it is nothing.

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