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United’s First A321neo Arrives in the U.S.

The airline took delivery of its first new Airbus aircraft in over two decades.

United’s first A321neo arrives in Houston (Photo: @unitedflyerhd)

After ferrying from Airbus’ Hamburg, Germany manufacturing facility, United’s first A321neo arrived in the U.S. on Monday. The Chicago-based airline is gearing up to begin service with the new aircraft in December.

After announcing an order for more aircraft in early October, United now has 180 A321neo series aircraft planned for its fleet, including the longer-range A321XLR variant. Registered as N44501, the carrier’s first A321neo was officially delivered on Thursday, according to a post by Airbus. The factory-fresh aircraft flew from Hamburg to Houston on Monday, via Reykjavik and Cleveland.

After completing the over 5,000-mile journey, N44501 is set to go through induction at the carrier’s Houston maintenance base. The new jet was met with a water canon salute upon arrival at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

United plans to launch service with the A321neo on Dec. 14, 2023 from Chicago O’Hare to Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale. The inaugural A321neo flight aptly bears the flight number UA321.

Where Will United’s A321neos Fly in 2024

According to Cirium data, United will broaden the fleet type’s network in January 2024, adding flights to Fort Myers, Las Vegas, and Orlando, all from its Chicago hub. United’s A321neos are expected to have 200 total seats with 20 in First Class and 180 in Economy.

United’s first A321neo arrives in Houston (Photo: @unitedflyerhd)

United has recently been investing heavily in modernizing its fleet of aging aircraft. In 2024, the airline expects to receive over 140 new aircraft. However, recent supply chain woes at both Airbus and Boeing have delayed some delivery timelines, per Reuters.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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