United Confirms Plans to Retire 757s, Install Lie-Flat Seats on 737 MAX

Aug 22, 2018

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Tuesday, news broke that United was considering installing lie-flat seats on some of its new Boeing 737 MAX 10s, which the carrier expects to begin adding to the fleet in 2020. Now, just one day later, UA has confirmed those plans, and announced a timetable for retiring the 757-200s currently used for the airline’s premium transcon service.

Per an airline spokesperson:

“Starting in 2020, we anticipate retiring the 757 aircraft fleet that was original to United and replacing them with 737 MAX 10s with lie-flat seats in the first class cabin.”

Currently, the airline operates two versions of its 757-200 on transcon flights between Newark (EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO); and Boston (BOS) and SFO, with LAX service coming this fall, too.

United's current transcon business class. Photo by Zach Honig.
United’s current transcon business class. Photo by Zach Honig.

While 757s that originally flew for Continental are used for international flights as well, primarily from the East Coast to Europe, there are 15 757-200s that operated domestic transcons for United prior to the merger — it’s these planes, delivered between 1989 and 1999, that are scheduled to be retired beginning in 2020.

It’s not yet clear how many 737 MAX 10s will offer the lie-flat configuration, or which seat will be used. I imagine the carrier’s pick will sport a similar 2-2 arrangement, though — the aircraft being replaced currently offer 28 business-class seats, and given the strong demand, I wouldn’t expect that number to decrease in the future.

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