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United Airlines going (really) wide with new economy seating

United Airlines is installing unusually roomy new economy cabin seating. United Airlines' aging fleet of widebody Boeing 767s suddenly are taking on a whole new appeal — particularly for travelers stuck in the economy cabin who might like a roomier seat. United said today it has completed the first retrofit of 14 widebody Boeing (NYSE: BA) 767-300 aircraft scheduled for a makeover by the end of 2018. ( More...

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Nick Carlson 11
Great. The passengers deserve this. Unfortunately they deserve this even more on the 787-900 scheduled for the really long haul routes. What a glorious aircraft reduced to a flying cattle car with its 3-4-3 seating and narrow seats.
Randall Kimm 4
Maybe you are being too generous calling it a cattle car. I call it sardines seating.
klimchuk 3
3-3-3 to be fair but good point

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

myalias 8
According to the NASA Anthropometric source book, page III-92, the 5th, 50th and 95th percentiles of male bideltoid (shoulder) breadth are 17.8, 19.1 and 20.8 inches. This study was from 1978, when people weren't as overweight.

So it's not just people being overweight. The median fit man is still slightly wider than these new seats.
ringeralle 3
While the overweight passenger will spill across the divide between seats, I find the greater discomfort comes from the lack of shoulder room (bideltoid?). I fit in the quoted 95th percentile (21 inches across the shoulders), not because I'm overweight (I'm not), but because I'm just a tall person with a proportional body. My last US transcontinental flight (aisle seat) left me with a sore back because I was unable to keep a straight spine due to the middle seat passenger also having broader than average shoulders. I think an effective solution might be to stagger the seats in a row so there is no direct competition for shoulder space.
Peter McGrath 2
I agree with you and I thought this looked to be a pretty good solution to this problem.
RECOR10 -2
No matter what, it is not a ususal behavior for a human body to be in that position for that long. If the litmus test is a "sore back"...maybe we need to put some X-Country Ski machines on the flights...Nordic Track anyone?

These idiots who complain about United need to go tool around central Africa in a DC3 for a bit...
Tom Bruce 7
16.3 inches in some economy seats in 787? is that right?
Bernie20910 8
It's factual; whether it's right or not is up for debate.
Randall Kimm 8
That's an excellent plan, the 767-300ER is one of the best aircraft ever built. It is a really stable instrument platform.The innovations this aircraft made set the standards of the industry for more than two decades. Most noteworthy was its new FMS system. Air Canada uses them on their economy/vacation and no frills routes. Truly one of the best aircraft ever built.
eccsandiego 5
I used to fly United to and from the US during the 20 years when I lived in Paris, and always dreaded their economy class – not only the width (or the lack thereof) but also the pitch, among the worst of all the airlines that I've had to 'privilege' to fly on. Pretty soon I realized that it was worth the extra $$ to fly economy plus (or whatever it was called), in order not to add aches and pains to jet-lag upon my return home, 9 hours ahead of the US west coast.

But as the quality of UA customer service became increasingly abominable, I opted for other airlines and have never looked back. In short, it would take much more than a wider seat to get me to fly UA again, and I know I'm far from being alone...
Dianne Reimer 5
Lesley Child 4
Me too. I will do anything to avoid United. I'm not a business flyer, just a humble RN but hate traveling these days and cannot afford upgrades.
Ric Wernicke 4
Less than an inch wider? Alert the media so everyone can have a laugh.
No likey. I really enjoy flying on 767s, especially in the 2 seats by window. But I do not like leather. The cloth seats on 767 are very comfortable, and I doubt leather upholstery will match the comfort.
mike walker 2
IMHO, with so many carriers going the extra mile with customer service, it's going to take more than marginally wider seats and slick press releases/marketing to bring back former customers, yours truly included. For reasons to numerous to elaborate, I stopped flying UA 10+ yrs ago for those rare occasions I have to fly commercial. The company went from being at the top for both crew and passengers to the bottom. The recent highly publicized addition of blackeye flights to the redeye flights will assure the retention of their bottom ranking. There is still room in America for the management of large companies to balance the provision of good products and services to customers and to simultaneously establish an environment of employee satisfaction. This leads to loyalty and a good attitude for customers and employees alike, while at the same time, or as a result of, leads to profitability for the shareholders. So...UA..listen up....decrease the number of spin-writers at the ready to dish BS to the press and concentrate on the basics of exemplary care for your passengers and a great workplace for your employees. Enjoy the resulting favorable peer to peer marketing. That combination and attitude that once made you a top carrier is the first step in the move back up.
s2v8377 2
I am so happy to see United putting money into their 767 fleet. I'm thinking the 14 retrofitted aircraft will be primarily based out of EWR flying Europe trips. The 767 may be old but it's still a great plane for the routes it serves. Give me a 767 over a 787 any day!!!

United Airlines going (really) wide with new economy seating

From looking at UA's fleet I believe these are the 14 767s going through mod. All of the aircraft listed are United's newest 767 delivered between 1998 and 2001.

Jason Shank 2
All the ones you listed have already gone through a similar mod in economy. As s2v8377 pointed out this current round of mods is for the oldest 3 class 767s with IPTE. UA is keeping all of their 767s.
s2v8377 2
6444/N644UA was the first 767 to go through Mod and receive the new interior. If UA is keeping 14 767s it looks like they are possibly doing mod on more then 14 aircraft. 6444 was delivered in 1991 and was one of the remaining 3 class configured 767s.
tuba 2
Seat changes on the 767-300 would be good news for another reason, too... current seating includes a 6x6x8 box of electronics to support those tiny, antique video screens. A six hour ride in seat 31K shortened my right leg by three inches.
Joyce Cannon 1
Anyone know if the new seating is replacing Economy Plus seating?
AAaviator 1
Instead of an extra inch, I'd rather have a soundproof crying baby section, and an airlocked stench section for smelly disgusting people who've never heard of a bath or deodorant.
RECOR10 -3
Here Here!!! That is most of Europe, all of the Middle East and every bit of Africa (with an exception maybe for Dubai, :-)
David Searls 1
Good to hear. Some of those old 767s still had those tiny screens with giant pixels and worn-out controls in the arms. (Though a plus was "From the Flight Deck" on Channel 9.)

As for the United 787s, I finally rode one the other day from LHR to LAX. It's a good plane, but the experience wasn't ideal, at least for me. Here's my review: .
Gary Koenig 1
Interesting that you're mostly comparing these revamped 67's with 87's, while overlooking the 77's where UA has now crammed in 10 seats with even less seat width than the 87's (17" vs. 17.3")
ADXbear 1
Awesome.. ty you from us robust types..
Randall Kimm 0
What on earth are you trying to say? What you have in print is incomprehensible gibberish. Does this comment have anything to do aviation?
TL Spangler 1
This is AWESOME!!! I think travelers will FLOCK to this aircraft. I've thought for at least the last decade that any airline that would do this would really separate themselves from the pack and get much attention from the business traveler. Hope more airlines follow suit.
Randall Kimm 7
Airline's make money filling seats. Business travelers cannot concentrate and work in economy. Unfortunately, economy is essentially not conducive for the business traveler. Economy passengers have some expectations such as small screens to watch entertainment. Business Class is expensive because the airline's cater to and make more money charging for service's relevant to the business traveler. Hence the boom in corporate aviation. Personally I haven't had that experience. Being a pilot was my life until I retired recently. However, I respect your point of view. Aviation is inherently expensive. It costs an enormous amount of money to operate a wide body, heavy, or super in the case of the Airbus 380. You would not believe me if I told you. Some aircraft will burn $5000 in fuel just taxiing. Pilot recruiting and training potential candidates to fly aircraft worth over a hundred million dollars is enormously expensive. Also keep in mind the enormous responsibility that all pilots have for the safety of every passenger. Recurrent training is essential and expensive, but you can not put a price on safety. Don't forget the cost of maintenance and the different airworthiness maintenance that must be performed at regular intervals in the life of an aircraft. It costs airline's a small fortune to operate according to the ICAO Standards and the Air Regulations of the Licensing Nation. It is economically very difficult to be profitable, that's why a lot of airline's fail. Empty seats hurt the bottom line. I have had trans-Atlantic flights with just 15 passengers. That is absolutely not sustainable. I apologize for the length of this response.
Ron Nantes 4
An apostrophe does not a plural make.
Randall Kimm 4
I apologize, however this comment is irrelevant for this topic. This Tablet will automatically generate the apostrophes. I just don't see how your critique fits the current discussion.
RECOR10 -2
Randall - you drive the plane and are not cognizant of the business plans? Surely you are letting political views get into the way of the reality of the cash...maybe, if the airlines did the same as the cruise lines (flag out of Barbados or where ever) and pay their wages and live to their standards....
Randall Kimm 3
Corporate plans are not communicated directly to the operational end. We usually got the news through our Union Representatives. I have never attended or have ever been invited to a Board Meeting. I am only a small participant in a huge machine. My political views do not concern you. For that matter you are fully entitled to your opinions. That's why we choose to live in democratic nation's. Additionally I am not the keeper of knowledge you assume that I must be aware of. I'm not, sorry to disappoint you. I will not engage in any further points on this topic.
paul gilpin 0
seat width?
seat pitch?
Guy Cocoa 0
I don't understand why Boeing keeps coming up with new aircraft models for the mid-size twin engine market when the 767-300ER with a more modern cabin (as United is doing) and updated engines would be a super competitive aircraft. Perhaps they could call it the 767-300NEO. :-)
Randall Kimm 2
You chase the dollar following the "instructions" that the manufacturer's feed their marketplace. The latest buzz is about bigger seats and geared turbofan engines. Customers comfort is usually always in second place to the almighty dollar and profitability.
Randall - the airlines have only one group of people to answer to. The stock holders. Period. I am not certain why that fact is lost on so many people.
Randall Kimm 1
I agree with you completely. They can be ruthless to the employees. I have been furloughed twice. Not fun at all. I was forced to freelance in hard times and you know that is never easy on your family.
RECOR10 -3
Randall - I come from a long line of business executives who spent their lives crushing unions, cutting costs and improving margins (for the stock holders). My father would fire 10,000+ people in a shot (and move to right to work states, or over seas)...I do not feel bad for any of the workers. I work in healthcare, same deal...just like with every other product. If you can not afford to pay, you do not get care (unless it is pre authorized). With any business, the ONLY reason we are in business is to make money - even church's (look at the balance sheet of the Vatican). Someone who wants to live in some delusion of altruism can have at it...typically they starve.

What United does is simply smart business.


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