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An Inside Look at United’s New A321neo

AirlineGeeks got an early look inside the airline's brand-new Airbus jet.

United Airlines’ Airbus A321neos have adjustable LED mood lighting (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

United Airlines officially unveiled its Airbus A321neo interiors on Thursday at a special event held at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). During the rainy Texas morning, AirlineGeeks got an early look inside the cabin of United’s first A321neo.

Registered as N44501, the carrier’s first A321neo was officially delivered on October 12, 2023, flying from Hamburg to Houston via Reykjavik and Cleveland. Since then, the aircraft has been undergoing induction and test flights from United’s Houston maintenance base. N44501 is slated to enter revenue service late Thursday and United provided a look at the aircraft’s interior before its inaugural flight.

United’s first Airbus A321neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

United’s A321neo Cabin: Large Bins, Wireless Charging and Extra Personal Space

United’s new Airbus A321neos have 20 First Class seats and 180 Economy Class seats, for a total of 200 seats. 57 of the Economy Class seats are extra legroom Economy Plus seats. On board, travelers will find the airline’s “signature interior,” which was first announced a few years ago.

Economy on United’s A321neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

The aircraft has been delivered with United’s new domestic first class seats. With a privacy divider between seats, adjustable aisle armrests, and seat cushions designed to accommodate a variety of passenger heights, these seats offer a host of new features for the airline.

First Class seats on United’s Airbus A321neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

First Class passengers will also have three charging options: an AC outlet, a USB-C outlet, and wireless charging. The wireless charger is located in a compartment in the armrest and the seats also have 14-inch high-definition touch screens.

United’s Airbus A321neo First Class seats have 14-inch high-definition touch screens (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

In an effort to improve accessibility, the airline has also included a remote for those unable to reach the touch screen. Stored in the center seat console underneath the wireless charger, the remote has both a trackpad and conventional buttons.

United A321neo First Class remote control and wireless charging (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Economy Class seats feature a 12-inch high-definition entertainment screen. These are the largest Economy Class touch screens in the United fleet. All seats also have Bluetooth connectivity, allowing passengers to connect their own headphones and earbuds to the aircraft’s setback entertainment system.

Economy Class seats on board United’s Airbus A321neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Another new feature on United’s A321neo is a self-serve snack bar at the rear of the Economy Class cabin. The introduction of this space means that United is joining airlines like JetBlue in offering Economy Class passengers the option to get their own snacks and beverages during narrowbody flights.

Economy Class self-serve snack bar on board United’s Airbus A321neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Throughout the cabin, passengers will have extra personal space at the shoulder level due to new slimmer sidewall panels. The aircraft has Airbus’ Airspace cabin, which includes design elements such as adjustable LED lighting and redesigned window bezels to provide better exterior views.

United’s Airbus A321neo Economy Class seats (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

The aircraft also has new large overhead bins, which allow bags to be stored vertically rather than on their side. The airline stated that there is enough space on board for each passenger to store a carry-on roller bag in the overhead bins.

United A321neo aircraft have Airbus’ Airspace cabin, which feature large overhead bins and adjustable LED lighting (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

United’s Director of Onboard Products, Peter Wolkowski, was on hand to introduce the new cabin products. “What you see today is the pinnacle of our signature interior design,” he said at Thursday’s event as he showed off the onboard features.

United Airlines’ Airbus A321neo cabin (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

United’s Bold A321 Fleet Plans

Following the aircraft’s inaugural flight from Houston to Chicago – operating as United flight 321 – N44501 will enter regular scheduled service on Friday, flying between Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

United has already received a second A321neo and is expecting several more deliveries before the end of 2023, with additional deliveries ramping up in the new year. According to data from Cirium, the carrier will deploy the A321neo on select flights between Chicago and Fort Lauderdale in December, before expanding the aircraft type’s network to include Las Vegas, Orlando, and Fort Myers in January.

A United Airbus A321neo at Airbus’ Toulouse facility (Photo: Airbus)

Back in October, United placed a massive order for 60 Airbus A321neo aircraft, adding to the 50 A321XLR and 70 A321neo aircraft that it already had on order. With this new order, the airline now has a direct purchase commitment for 180 new A321s, with new purchase rights for up to 40 additional A321neos at the end of the decade.

United Chief Operating Officer Toby Enqvist highlighted the significance of Thursday’s inaugural event and the airline’s partnership with Airbus. “We have not bought an Airbus airplane for over twenty years,” he stated. “It’s a really big deal for us.”

Andrew Chen

Author

  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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