United Airlines will introduce its first Boeing 767-300ER with an expanded business class cabin on flights to London Heathrow today.
The first reconfigured aircraft (MSN 29238) is scheduled to operate UA110 departing Newark Liberty for London at 19:10 on 14 March, the Chicago-based carrier's website shows.
United plans to reconfigure 21 767s in the premium-heavy layout with 46 seats in Polaris business class – 16 more than its standard 767-300ER configuration – 22 in premium economy, 47 in extra-legroom economy and 52 in economy for a total of 167 passengers. The layout is dubbed the "76L".
The new configuration is part of a larger premium push by the Chicago-based carrier, that also includes adding more first-class seats to its Airbus A320 family fleet and plans to introduce the new dual-class Bombardier CRJ550 with 50 seats this summer.
"In an era where many airlines are adding seats to their aircraft to crowd more passengers onto the plane, we're reconfiguring more than 100 of our aircraft and doing exactly the opposite," said Andrew Nocella, chief commercial officer of United, in February.
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have both, in some cases, added seats to widebody aircraft in recent years. American upped the density of their Boeing 787-8s with the addition of a premium economy cabin, and Delta added economy seats by shrinking the business class cabin on its reconfigured Boeing 777-200s.
United's expanded premium cabin on some 767s will allow it to meet demand in key business markets, chief executive Oscar Munoz told Skift in January. The airline has not provided details on subsequent routes after Newark-London.
The carrier operates 38 767-300ERs, as well as 16 767-400ERs, Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows.
United was not immediately available to comment on the first scheduled 76L flight.
Updated to reflect United's plans for 21 premium 767s, not 17.