United Airlines will bring its all-new Polaris business class seats to the airline's Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 fleet, although those relatively new aircraft will to take their place at the back of the refit queue.
"We are still working on plans for the Boeing 787-8 and -9, and the Boeing 767-400" United Airlines' spokesman Koji Nagata confirmed to Australian Business Traveller. "We are first reconfiguring the 777-200 and 767-300 fleets."
The Boeing 787-8 and -9 refits will see these 'Business First' seats...
... replaced by this new Polaris design.
Right across the fleet, in fact, Polaris will become United's new business class brand, while also replacing first class as each of the Boeing 767s and 777-200s roll into the factory for their mod make-over.
"As we update our fleet over the next several years to incorporate our signature United Polaris direct-aisle-access seating, we will be phasing out the first class cabin and moving toward a two-cabin experience for international travel," United explains.
In the same way, Global First first class lounges will be revamped to become exclusive business class-only Polaris lounges – with no entry for top-tier MileagePlus or Star Alliance frequent flyers travelling in anything less than the pointy end of the plane.
The rolling upgrade is the sharp end of a sizeable investment by United, which starts with the new Polaris seats making their debut on the airline's factory-fresh Boeing 777-300ER by year's end.
UA spokesman Nagata also confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that there would be no price differentiation between Business First and Polaris aircraft flying on the same route, saying "business class fares will be what they are, notwithstanding whether flights have our current flat-bed product or the new one."