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August 24, 2013

10

United Airlines upgrades service between Australia & the U.S.A.

by Todd Sturm

United Airlines recently announced a new aircraft type for their service to Australia from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The current 747-400 aircraft will be replaced with the newer, more fuel efficient 777-200ER from April 2014. So what does this mean for travellers?

The change in aircraft means that United passengers will finally have on-demand seat back entertainment in economy class; an issue that has plagued the airline for years. Competitors Delta, Virgin Australia and Qantas have offered seat back entertainment in economy on these routes for years while Hawaiian Airlines also introduced seat back entertainment on their new A-330 service between Honolulu and Sydney.

Typical international economy seat back entertainment as shown on the 787

Typical international economy seat back entertainment as shown on the 787

United’s Triple 7 will feature their new international three class cabin configuration which consists of 8 seats in Global First, 40 in Business First, and 221 in Economy. This includes the 117 seats in Economy Plus which offers greater leg room and increased personal space.

United Airlines Global First Class

United Airlines Global First Class

United Airlines Business First Seat

United Airlines Business First Seat

Typical international Economy Plus seating as shown on the 787

Typical international Economy Plus seating as shown on the 787

Another big change in the United Triple 7 economy cabin is that the long standing 2-5-2 seating configuration will change to the more industry standard 3-3-3 layout. For decades United preferred the 2-5-2 configuration in their DC-10s and did as much with the 777.

United will also be outfitting the long-haul Triple 7 fleet with Wi-Fi connectivity which according to the airline will keep you connected throughout the long flight across the Pacific.

About the author: Currently living in Brisbane, Australia, Todd Sturm is a travel writer and frequent contributor to Morethanroute66.com. As a twenty year veteran of the airline industry in both the U.S.A. and Australia, Todd is an avid traveller whose favourite destinations include historic sites, national parks as well as points of interest on and around the Great Lakes. From ships, planes, trains and automobiles, Todd is also a transportation enthusiast who particularly enjoys writing about the airline industry and commercial aviation.

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Andrew
    Aug 29 2013

    This certainly means a reduction in the number of seats offered by United across the Pacific.
    Most of the flights I use have an occupancy in the Economy Plus/Economy section of over 90%, and quite often they are full. Business may be a bit lower at times. So I guess with less seats this will lead to an increase in price as there will be more “competition” for each seat.
    The upgrade in the entertainment will be greatly appreciated though.

    Reply
    • Sep 3 2013

      Hi Andrew – agree, a reduction in seats may mean higher fares. I think for United it was a case of innovate (eg catch up to the competition) or stop flying. The product that both Virgin Australia and Qantas offer is far superior to the current economy cabin on United and with the added competition of Delta with their new hub in Los Angeles over a year ago it was probably really starting to hurt United. Both in yield and loyalty.

      Unless you were flying up front where they revamped a while ago and have a great product, who wants to fly in old uncomfortable seats with a video screen at front of the cabin? I’m surprised they are waiting until next year to make the switch.

      I fly to the U.S.A. 2-3 times per year and I stopped flying United years ago for the above reasons. I must admit though, I’m very curious to try them again once this switch over happens. Hopefully a more comfortable flight for us both awaits.

      Reply
  2. They’d better not replace the Skymall catalogue.

    Hands-down the best inflight entertainment offering out there.

    Happy travels,

    Ben

    Reply
    • Jan 12 2014

      Haha it’s true Ben!! All those quirky and wonderful things that you don’t need but just got to have!

      Reply

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