Earlier today United Fleet Website tweeted great news for United’s 767-300 fleet. United’s first Polaris retrofitted 767-300 aircraft will be on the air today between Newark and London. The seat map was originally divulged by United back in July.
For the last several weeks we’ve known that United had the plane ready and it was a matter of where and when the launch would be. Since the United/Continental merger there has been two United 767-300 configurations: 1) Legacy Continental 2-cabin (economy and business classes) and 2) Legacy United 3-cabin (economy, business, and first classes). Because United is completely eliminating First class from their international offering, they’re retrofitting 3-cabin configured 767-300’s. Most of these are based out of Chicago, so I was very confident that a route like ORD-LHR or ORD-AMS would be first. Then in FlyerTalk there was chatter that the first completed 767 was to be ferried to Newark, bursting my bubble.
I disagree with this move by United for one reason: the only open Polaris Lounge is in Chicago, so having retrofitted 767-300’s based out of Chicago would provide customers with the opportunity to enjoy the full Polaris experience and not just bits and pieces, how it’s been up until now. Perhaps United is looking at this from the opposite perspective: allow a broader amount of customers to experience parts of the Polaris experience. In my mind, that doesn’t help much, as it may just highlight what’s missing… or maybe I’m just being selfish and want it all in my home airport, Chicago.
In any case, United has already finished retrofitting a second 767-300, and a third is on its way to be retrofitted, so things are moving along quickly. United also announced a new route to Auckland on one of the new 777-300ER planes, so despite initial delays, the train is back on its rails. Also, United should also begin the 777-200 fleet retrofitting pretty soon, as the Polaris Tracker indicates they will be flying in the winter of 2017, however, United has adjusted milestones in the tracker before.
Rejoice if you have plans of travelling between Newark and London in the coming weeks/months. You may be flying on the brand new Polaris cabin. Let us know if you do!