Basically: while refurbishing a fleet the size of UA, indeed there will be a few years of inconsistency, but as UA nears competition, I think it’s a mistake to have a dozens of old birds in the “just leave them ‘as is’ till they die” look and condition BECAUSE those untouched birds will still be flying many hundreds of thousands of passengers in the years ahead, leaving those hundreds of thousands of “less than good” brand impressions, foiling (in part) all the brand building efforts being made at great cost. I’m assuming it will still be many years until they are all finally replaced.
I get what you are saying but the truth is domestic aircraft do not need Polaris. Look at some of the worlds top carriers like SQ, NH, and others they have their long haul international product and they have their short haul product. In my opinion this is what UA should do Polaris should be reserved for international aircraft only, and our domestic widebodies should be configured differently. Its doesn't have to be refurbished diamond seats (I'm suggesting that because it would save money) UA could come up with a different all new lie flat seat but I firmly believe Polaris shouldn't be on domestic aircraft. Polaris is a international product and should remain as such.
I wasn’t saying that the international new Polaris seat should become the transcontinental and Hawaii First hard products. I think the Diamond seat is fine for domestic flights where there is a lie flat market and a darn good new regular F seat. (I just made one point about the fairly soon to be removed Diamond seats on the current 787-8/9’s and are newer and may not require that much refurb)
I think the true Polaris seat should ABSOLUTELY remain only on international WB aircraft only. (I don’t have a clue about what to do in the future IF there is a single aisle narrow body doing international routes like the 752 does today)
My point was ONLY that the interiors OVERALL, IN THEIR ENTIRETY after replacing ITPE on domestic with Diamond seats also needs to be updated. Don’t just stop with swapping for a better hard product seat.
Example: today a 737-8/9 interior doesn’t look or have nearly as modern, stylish and branded UNITED brand feel as the refurbished new (but used) A319/20. The 737-8 especially looks like “old, yesterday United” while the new interior design which pax will really start experiencing once 150 737MAX’s are flying along side the newly refurbished used Airbus A319/20s.
The HD 772s, and 752’s, for as long as the both will be flying filled with pax, will be far, far better with Diamond seats up front, but if EVERYTHING ELSE, the walls, bulkheads, carpeting, lavs, etc still won’t have that “new car look & smell” (despite their old age) like the old refurbished A319/20.
It’s abundantly clear that UA knows how to make an old bird feel factory new inside.
Today there a basically 2 interior designs that fall under the “new, today and into the future” look/design/style and atmosphere, both feel very branded and uniquely UNITED:
1: The international new Polaris/PE (77W, 763, now many 772ER, and 787-10)
2: The new domestic interior design that takes “some” inspiration from international Polaris, but not the whole Polaris enchilada. (As seen and “felt” on the newly refurbished used Airbuses.
For a domestic narrow body (or domestic WB) I strongly believe that there is a day sometime in the future when UNITED “can” have its International Polaris, and a domestic interior that really does do away with the “old, yesterday bland look”
I think (both personally and professionally) having a domestic mix of brand NEW, some half baked interiors or some left “as is” domestic interiors is not a good idea.
Lufthansa for Example, if you fly a WB to FRA, then connect to an A320 to wherever, the A320 doesn’t look exactly like First or Biz on the 748i or A340, A350 etc.
Lufty’s NBs have their own toned back but nice look, however there is a feeling of consistency from 787i to A320 that consciously or subconsciously imparts a consistent brand that is unmistakably Lufty, and feels tightly thought through and bolsters their efficient brand reputation.
When there is a hodgepodge spanning a fleet of brand new, half baked and just plain old (and potentially worn) aircraft it just undermines EVERYTHING. The UA BRAND points of look & touch will feel dissonant. Less tight, less impressive.
I personally believe UNITED has an opportunity right this moment, a window of opportunity, because so much is in flux, to really execute flawlessly- because if they think based on a “long term” ROI, they can achieve a consistent front to back, airport to airport NEW UNITED. Macro and Micro NEW UNITED BRAND experience and achieve powerful brand affinity.