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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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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’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.
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.”
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