Question: has any other airline near the SIZE of UA ever implemented such a large nose to tail major refurbishment? I cannot think of another airline with close to equal a WB fleet - other than perhaps Emerates (that doesn’t need to refurbish?
I can't think of one that has done it quite the same. Some airlines like BA are happy to make incremental improvements and their latest J product is so similar to the previous one, that only frequent flyers would know the difference. AA and DL have both been much more comfortable with a fractured J product line up. I don't know if DL intends to make their A359 J seat standard or just on a few fleets, but they (and AA) were simultaneously installing completely different types of J seats on different planes, from staggered seats on their 767's to herringbones on their 777's.
It is more painful to get from start to finish with UA's approach, but they have a winning product, and when they're done, they will have one of the most consistent and predictable products flying...until the next generation of seats gets introduced and they start again. I still prefer UA's approach.
I agree with you wholeheartedly! I’ve been on the “nose to tail” 763 on UA and it really actually looks and feels and smells like a brand new aircraft. I recall ALL the incremental changes on UA over the past 28 years- and I think UA will ultimately lead the pack with the consitant, beautiful Polaris, PE, E+ and E WB refurbishments. It’s simply an enormous undertaking and “feels” like watching grass grow.
I also think it would be very smart to have just 2 different bed seats: the Polaris we see today (Eg; 77W) and something like Diamond on the single aisle 757 & 737M-10. In fact I personally think the Diamond seat would be fine on those narrow bodies- but I read here a whole NEW design is being developed...my hope is that they will be industry leading, and take design cues from Polaris- especially the brushed aluminum handles!
Also, once ALL the domestic 737s and A319/20’s look like the ex CZ A319, with the new interiors and domestic FIRST “chair” (which I personally LOVE) - yeah, UA days of a mixed up fleet with bad color combinations will be gone and replaced by something as consistent as LH has.
I also love the fact that all the WB’s old or new will have very large Polaris cabins. In some cases it looks like Polaris is half of the entire interior- making it much easier to get a seat last minute overseas, and hopefully upgrades, and provide UA with the premium brand positioning they are working hard for. (They just need to add more United Clubs at hubs that lost a lot of space to the Polaris Lounges.
I think what Pristman-Goode did for UA is some of the best work they have done (outside boutique airlines) - however as a design agency person myself, when something amazing happens (like a Polaris Lounge) UA gets more credit that the talent of the agency. Because in the end, you can present magnificent work to a client- but it’s the client’s decision to APPROVE it and cut the POs to make it happen. It’s VERY EASY for a client to kill that $150,000 light fixture in the entryway to save money. United is not cheaping out on Polaris (other than the greatly reduced aminity kits!)
I only wish is (and it will never happen) is to make regular Economy better. I don’t think it’s the folks up front doing the complaining.