A Peek at United’s Newly Configured 757

Seats, United

Last month I mentioned that United was testing a new configuration on one of its 757s that included leather slimline seats and power outlets. Well, a friend of mine was recently on the aircraft and sent me some pictures to share with everyone.

At left, United Seats on Test 757 Cabinyou can see the view of the seats looking back. It’s a nice blue leather look, and apparently the legroom feels about the same, maybe a little tighter (if that’s possible). They added another row of seats on the plane, but the seats themselves are thinner so it’s mostly a wash.

Notice that one row with an empty spot where a seat used to be? That’s row 16. If you’re booked in that seat and you get stuck on this one aircraft, you’re going to be unhappy. That seat exists on every other aircraft in the fleet, so you’ll have to be re-seated. But that’s minor – let’s not get bogged down.

At Side View of United Seats on Test 757 Cabinright is another view of the seats from the side. You can see that they’ve also freed up some legroom by relocating the seatback pocket. Now you just have some mesh where your legs go (easy for cleaning), but the magazines and safety card sit up top above the tray.

In case you were wondering, the power outlets are underneath the seats. Not easy to find, but when you know where they are, I imagine the placement is pretty convenient for plugging in your electronics. It does, however, block some of the underseat storage area for the middle seat.

This definitely looks like a step forward for United, though I can’t say for sure until I get a chance to ride the airplane myself. Anyone else been onboard?

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22 comments on “A Peek at United’s Newly Configured 757

  1. Maybe it’s the pic, but those seat backs look really narrow (I know slimline). American’s are becoming larger and wider everyday and the new generations of seats are going in the opposite direction. But on the flip side it gives the airlines a reason for charging ‘wider’ people for two seats. Made the seats smaller so more people need two seats. More $$$$ for the airline.

  2. I’m not familiar with the ages of all of the United fleet, but since United is supposedly shopping to replace a bunch plans, specifically mentioning the 757’s, does it make economic sense to reconfigure aircraft they say they will replace in the next 5 years or so? Or is the United future order far out enough that this makes sense? I’ve been on a few UA 767’s that feel like the foam cushioning is nonexistent anymore. But maybe those are slated to be replaced with this new order also, if the order ever becomes a real one.

  3. David SF – They shouldn’t be any narrower. It’s still 6 seats across so there wouldn’t be anything to gain from making them narrower. I can’t imagine they’d do that just to get the few large people who travel to pay double.

    Shane – Well in this case they can add more seats to the plane so that can help pay for new seats quickly. Also, there is a lot of skepticism about whether or not United will actually be getting new airplanes and when they’d come in. This is only a test right now, so it’s possible that we’ll never see it on another plane.

  4. They look identical to the new seats on Swiss. Bit firm, but comfortable. 17A has some nice legroom there!

  5. A good move by UAL. I don’t think the seats necessarily need to be wider + larger, as long as they’re more comfortable. For some people, airplane seating is going to be the make or break factor in their choosing to fly with a certain airline, so any improvement that United can make is a good thing.

  6. Hey Crank: Do you know if they have reduced pitch in Economy Plus?… which is the only reason I find to fly UAL at all any more. They used to promise “up to five extra inches” and I’m wondering if that’s changing with adding the extra row of slimline seats.

  7. From the looks of it, they added the extra row behind the exit row. By removing 16A/F they were able to reduce the seat pitch in the exit row (16) which, combined with the fact that the new seats are thinner, allowed the extra row and four additional seats overall. Since the extra seats were in the back of the plane the pitch for E+ should be the same, however row 16 probably no longer counts as E+ so there was probably a reduction in the number of E+ seats.

    BTW, the seats are the same as used Swiss, Recaro BL3510. Swiss also uses the BV3510 where the middle seat had table that is used for their business cabin which has the same seats as their coach cabin just with blocked middle seats.

    You can find more information on the seats at:

  8. The only good thing about the middle seats were the underseat storage. Sounds like that going away, too.

  9. Cranky/David SF,
    The seats are narrower forward to aft, not side to side. These seats don’t help the “Americans getting bigger” issue, but it doesn’t hurt it either.

  10. I’ve been on this plane twice; which given the fact that there’s only one in the fleet is pretty amazing.

    E+ room has not been touched. They’re the same pitch. The extra seats came from the slimmer design of these seats. They’ve been pretty transparent with that discussion.

    Shane – Even if UA did place an order for planes, there wouldn’t be any deliveries for quite a number of years. It makes great economic sense for them to re-do interiors since many FF’ers, including me, have tired of the dirty old interiors.

    The leather seats in F are very comfortable.

  11. These seats look very similar to those of Allegiant, with a hard literature pocket above the tray table and nothing below it. But the Allegiant seats don’t recline.

  12. I was on one this Monday. I though the interior seamed darker than normal. But maybe that was just my Monday morning haze?

  13. I had this aircraft on one flight. Looked nice, sat well. It could have used some more junk space in the seat pocket but it still was much more comfortable than southwest.

  14. Ok, rather interesting that the pictures look exactly like the cabins of Delta Air Lines. Could it be that United is trying to copy what Delta has been doing for the past 5 years?

  15. Just flew on this Thursday DEN-BOS. I believe these are the same Recaro seats that SkyBus/VX uses/d. While attractive, they are terrible. The bottom is about 2″ shorter, and the front of the cushion is poorly supported, causing your legs to sag and often “submarine” – the seat fatigue was noticeably worse. The underseat power boxes are crazy big given the fact that there is no IFE system associated with them. If you ask me, power for laptops just isn’t a big issue for domestic flights, even transcon. The headphone jacks and controls were imbedded behind you vertically in the arm – you just can’t see anything, much less the jack outlet. And the worst thing – the seat back baskets. I could barely fit my Blackberry in, much less my headphones or a sandwich. With no place to stage the trash pickup meant everything was on the floor. I’m usually a big UA fan, and I know this is a done deal, but I can only shake my head…why oh why didn’t they actually test this.

  16. The newly configured rows 15 and 16 are a disaster. Row 16 used to have extra legroom, and recline. Now they do now. 15BCDE all used to recline, now no seats in 15 recline. Why do airlines insist on making changes that make travel worse, in this case making 10 passengers markedly less comfortable than before? All just to add four seats.

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