- Supply chain challenges delay United Airlines' cabin upgrade plans for older narrow-body planes
- Revamped interiors include premium cabins, seat-back entertainment, and Bluetooth capabilities
- United targets offering more premium seats than any other North American airline by 2026
United Airlines' ambitious cabin upgrade project for its older narrow-body planes is facing a bit of turbulence due to pesky supply chain issues, as reported by CNBC. The facelift involves swanky premium cabins, seat-back entertainment screens, Bluetooth capabilities, and other luxuries to pamper travelers.
The Chicago-based airline was initially aiming to have 100 aircraft revamped with the snazzy interiors by year's end. However, the target has been revised to just 60 planes, according to a spokesperson. Andrew Nocella, United's Chief Commercial Officer, admitted on a recent earnings call that supply challenges for inflight entertainment systems, chips, seats, and other components are more daunting than ever before.
United first showcased the revamped cabins in June 2021, following an order for 270 new Boeing and Airbus narrow-body planes. The goal was to refresh their brand and outshine competitors as the travel industry bounces back, with a focus on attracting high-rolling passengers.
By 2026, United plans to offer more premium seats for each departure than any other North American airline, catering to the growing number of elite travelers with mountains of frequent flyer points. To speed up the process, United will have multiple production lines working on the cabin upgrades this summer.
While it's unclear if the airline will meet its 2025 target to complete the narrow-body upgrades, United does expect about one-third of its narrow-body fleet to boast the new interiors by year's end. Meanwhile, all wide-body aircraft will be fitted with premium economy and top-tier Polaris seats by August.
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