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Expanded Polaris Cabins Will Mean Less Elbow Room for More UA Economy Pax

Expanded Polaris Cabins Will Mean Less Elbow Room for More UA Economy Pax
Jeff Edwards

To make room for more premium class Polaris seats, United Airlines will reconfigure more economy class cabins to ten-abreast seating than previously announced.

United Airlines Polaris class cabins are billed as representing “a new era in premium air travel,”  but for those passengers not fortunate enough to enjoy the custom designed lay-flat seats with private cubicles inflight, that new era will likely feel a bit cramped. As United retires the last of its Boeing 747 jumbo jets in favor of Polaris-equipped Boeing 777 aircraft, economy class passengers will, in many cases, find themselves with much less elbow room. While the new Polaris cabin keep a similar footprint as the first and business class cabins it replaces, United is taking the opportunity to squeeze in a few extra economy cabin seats as it retools equipment with the new Polaris seats.

In March of 2016, the airline announced that it would reconfigure 19 of the 777s with economy seats in rows of ten-abreast rather that the previous configuration of nine-abreast seating. The move, which was intended to make way for new Polaris class seats, was, at the time, only to involve equipment used for domestic trips within the US. Now, however, the Los Angeles Times reports that United will begin introducing 777 aircraft with ten-abreast economy class rows regularly on long-haul international flights as well.

All told, the legacy carrier says it will eventually outfit 90 Boeing 777-200 planes with new Polaris class cabins. Media outlets originally reported that all of these aircraft would be configured with ten-abreast economy class rows, but last week airline officials said that at least some of the new Polaris-equipped aircraft would retain economy class rows of nine seats across. United points out that while an extra seat will be squeezed in to each row on some equipment, the overall seat pitch in economy and economy-plus cabins will remain unchanged.
United’s expanded plans to shoehorn an extra seat into each row may be a simple matter of keeping up with competition. Boeing confirmed in early 2016 that most new Boeing 777-300s are delivered with the 3-4-3 (ten-across) configuration. American Airlines, Emirates, KLM, All Nippon Airways and Air France use a ten-abreast economy cabin configuration on many of the Boeing 777s in their fleets.

For more Fly book on United Airlines, head to the forums.

[Correction: Fly book previously reported Boeing 777’s as Dreamliners]

[Image: Shutterstock]

View Comments (13)


  1. mike2003242

    November 3, 2017 at 3:13 am

    777 dreamliners?!?!

  2. NYTA

    November 3, 2017 at 3:38 am

    777 is not a “Dreamliner”

  3. rpjs

    November 3, 2017 at 4:10 am

    “777 Dreamliners”?

  4. warrenw

    November 3, 2017 at 5:40 am

    “90 Boeing 777-200 Dreamliners”

    1. There is no such thing as a 777-200 “Dreamliner”
    2. UA doesn’t even have 90 777-200’s.
    3. 787 will not go 10 abreast… fuselage is too narrow.


  5. HMO

    November 3, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Can 777 be Dreamliners?!?
    I had the impression only 787 had this nickname.

  6. cpdc1030

    November 3, 2017 at 5:54 am

    When did the 777 start being called a “Dreamliner”?

  7. wh6cto

    November 3, 2017 at 6:02 am

    “Boeing 777-200 Dreamliners”…this is not correct. Dreamliners refer to 787, which is a smaller aircraft.


    November 3, 2017 at 6:06 am

    The 777 is not the “Dreamliner”. The 787 Dreamliners are remaining 9-across. He had me scared there for a minute.

  9. Benj K

    November 3, 2017 at 6:11 am

    The author needs to correct this article. Boeing 777s are not “Dreamliners”. That name only applies to Boeing 787’s. That’s a surprisingly basic error for an air travel website, frankly.

  10. scnzzz

    November 3, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Jeez, at least try to get it right. The Dreamliner is the 787 which is staying at 9 across. The 777 is NOT a Dreamliner, and already has, for months, on the 777-300 at least, been 10 across in Y.

    And for the record, the Polaris implementation on the 772s has nothing to do with Y densification. The Polaris cabins occupy the same space as the prior J and F cabins. The Y densification is merely done concurrently.

  11. drvannostren

    November 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Ok we get all know 777 aren’t dreamliners.

    What I do wanna know is has anyone sat in both the 772 and the 77W and found a big difference? I’m looking at flights and have a decision between the two.

  12. warrenw

    November 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Also as I mentioned before UA does NOT have 90 777-200’s!!

  13. chrisboote

    November 8, 2017 at 4:56 am

    You’d think United would be aiming for 2-2-2-2 instead of 3-4-3 to make it easier to drag passengers from their seats?

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