United are bevering away, and have stumped up a new PR. Lets break it down:
More Long Haul Flat Seats – New seats are going in with all-new flat-bed seats in the premium cabins on 26 Boeing 767s – 12 Continental 767-400 aircraft and 14 United 767-300 aircraft (yes, the domestic birds are getting a tidyup at last). For these birds will also have AVOD and inseat power too.
The Three Cabin 777’s (the original United birds) are being refitted (with those ghastly hard slimline seats down the back and the dormitry style Business Class seats) – 17 of 46 aircraft complete and another dozen added to that by year-end. Again AVOD and inseat power will feature in these birds.
Economy Plus is being rolled out on the Continental fleet, with an aim to get 38 birds reconfigured this year (with the 767-400’s targeted), with 100 by next spring. When the rebuilds occur, they will be removing Economy class rows, rather than stripping out business and first class seats
Meanwhile, in regional land, all the Dash8-Q400’s are having E+ and F installed too. Oh well.
On the A319/A320 fleet (Original United fleet) are getting new overhead bins. Considering the average sink that is brought aboard a domestic UA flight thanks to the luggage charges, this is not a bad thing. In addition, the interiors are getting a sprucing up too.
IFE goes streaming – It seems United are doing a AA, and introducing Streaming IFE on the 747-400 birds. For those in First and Business, that’s great. For those in Economy, it’ll make a change. However, good luck in finding anywhere to charge your device whilst watching the streaming data. Vendor selection is in progress.
Meanwhile, Wi-Fi installation seems to picking up with LiveTV to deliver Wi-Fi over Ka satellites with the ex CO 737 and 757 birds aircraft equipped with DIRECTV. If this ever comes over to the UA Airbus or Boeing birds is another matter.
United PS will get a tarting up, dropping the First Class cabin, and switching to a Two Class service offering 26 flat beds in business, at 114 Economy Seats, all with AVOD, Power and WiFi
But most importantly to us aviation geeks, CHANNEL 9 WILL REMAIN (at pilots discretion). The feature will be added to ALL Continental Birds except the 737-500’s (so will be installed with all birds that have IFE installed). First birds to get it will be the tarted up 767-400’s, starting in what they call “Fall” (what the rest of us call Autumn)- Oh and United Pilots, here’s a hint pilots, switch it on the LHR runs please!
There are some actual positive changes here. However, this is 1) going to need to be monitored and 2) I wonder how much of the IFE services (such as the new Wireless IFE and New AVOD) will have “Paid For” content.
One to watch in the future I suspect.