MIAMI — From scimitar winglets to more slimline seats to aircraft retirements, we break down what planned changes are coming to the United Airlines fleet in 2017. It is important to note that this information is tentative and can change
United currently has 738 mainline aircraft in the fleet (including one 787-9 delivered at the beginning of January). This year, the airline will take delivery of an estimated 22 aircraft this year and retire approximately eight aircraft.
Airbus A320 Family Aircraft
A319: United has 61 A319s in its fleet. Last year, the carrier began adding some former China Southern birds to the fleet, and as of early January, four of these six aircraft have not yet entered service but will soon. Two more ex-China Southern A319s are expected to be delivered to United during the first half of the year.
United has also been installing new first class seats and adding power outlets to United First and Economy Plus seats on all of its A319s; less than 10 have yet to receive these modifications, but all should be completed by the second half of 2017.
A320: United has 97 A320s in its fleet. Around half of this fleet has already been outfitted with the new first class seats as well as power outlets to seats in United First and Economy Plus. United will continue working on these modifications throughout 2017.
Boeing 737 NextGeneration family aircraft
737-700: United has 40 737-700s in its fleet. Four of these 40 aircraft are currently based out in Guam. The -700s recently began receiving slimline seats in economy, as well as the new first class seats. United will be working on these seat changes throughout the year. So far, only one aircraft (N13718 • MSN 28937 • LN 185) already features these modifications.
The slimline seats will increase the total seat number in economy from 118 to 126. It is interesting to also note that the emergency exit row is now a full three-seat row instead of the beloved two-seat row, and there are now two rows of Economy Plus past the exit row.
737-800: United operates 137 737-800 aircraft with seven currently based in Guam. The airline is currently outfitting all of its -800s with slimline seats in economy, and approximately 17 are left to be retrofitted. The airline will also be completing the installation of split scimitar winglets on all of its -800s soon.
Also, United is planning to take delivery of four additional aircraft this year as the airline converted four aircraft that were part of its original order of 65 737-700s to the -800. The rest of this order will be 737 MAX aircraft, per the Wall Street Journal.
737-900/900ER: United operates 148 Boeing 737-900/900ER aircraft in its fleet. The airline is nearing the end of installing slimline seats and split scimitar winglets on its entire -900/900ER fleet; only about 17 aircraft are left to receive these modifications which will be wrapped up soon.
United has 20 747-400s in its fleet. The airline plants to retire the entire fleet by October 2018. Eight aircraft are expected to be retired in 2017. One will be retired in March, June, and September. Three will be retired in October as well as one aircraft in November and another one in December.
Boeing 757 Family Aircraft
757-200: United operates 56 757-200s in its fleet. The only expected changes coming to the fleet this year is the installation of scimitar winglets to the ex-Continental 757s-200, which is expected to start in January.
757-300: United operates 21 757-300s. It is estimated that the airline will begin installing slimline seats and the new first class seats on this fleet type during the second half of 2017.
Boeing 767 Family Aircraft
767-300ER: There are 35 767-300ER aircraft in the United Airlines fleet; 21 of these are in a two-class configuration, while the remaining 14 are in a three-class configuration. The three-class 767-300ERs are expected to begin receiving the new United Polaris hard product this year as the airline continues to phase out Global First.
767-400ER: United operates 16 767-400ER aircraft; there are no major fleet changes expected.
Boeing 777 Family Aircraft
777-200/200ER: United has 74 777-200/200ER aircraft in its fleet (22 are ex-Continental-configured 777s; 36 are in the United three-class International Premium Travel Experience (IPTE) configuration; eight are in the domestic/Hawaiian configuration without lie-flat seats; and the remaining eight are in the new domestic/Hawaiian configuration with lie-flat seats).
United is currently in the process of installing lie-flat seats on all of its domestic 777s as well as converting three three-class 777s to the domestic configuration. It is expected that all domestic configured 777 aircraft will be reconfigured with lie-flat seats by the end of the first half of 2017, but this is subject to change. Once all are re-fitted, United will have 19 777s in its new domestic configuration.
No other significant changes to the 777-200 fleet are expected during 2017.
777-300ER: Two 777-300ERs were delivered just before the end of 2016; 12 more are expected to arrive before the end of this year. Two additional -300ERs are expected to join the fleet each month in January, February, and March. Four are estimated to be delivered in April, and two more are expected to be delivered in May. The 777-300ER is the first aircraft to feature the new United business class hard product known as United Polaris.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner Family Aircraft
787-8: There are 12 787-8 Dreamliners in United’s fleet. No major fleet changes are expected in 2017.
787-9: There are 19 787-9 Dreamliners in United’s fleet, including one that was delivered at the beginning of January. Four more -9s are expected to be added to the fleet with at least two more deliveries expected in 2017; one is expected to be delivered by the end of February with another expected in August. There will still be two on order that were placed back in March 2016, but it is not currently known if they will be delivered in 2017 or 2018.