Effective May 5th United will start flying their new Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft between Newark and Tel Aviv.
The 77W will be operated by subsidiary United crew members on the late night flight 90 from from Newark to Tel Aviv and the late night flight 91 from Tel Aviv to Newark.
United will continue to operate their pre-merger Continental 777-200 (772) aircraft with subsidiary Continental crew members for the afternoon flight 84 from Newark to Tel Aviv and the afternoon flight 85 from Tel Aviv to Newark.
The 77W offers United’s new Polaris business class with a 1-2-1 seating configuration that allows direct aisle access for all business class seats. It’s a big improvement over the 772 which has a 2-2-2 configuration that requires jumping over your seatmate or being jumped over by your seatmate if you select the window side seats.
The configuration is denser than business class on most airlines with a 1-2-1 business class, but reports are mostly quite positive so far and the middle seats in every other row offer a good option for couples traveling together. Plus with a whopping 60 business class seats, upgrades may be slightly easier than on other airlines with fewer seats:
The good news ends in business class though. United has decided to cram 10 seats across throughout the 102 Economy Plus and 204 Economy Minus seats. By all accounts, it will be a tight squeeze for larger people in coach with seat width dropping from about 18 inches to just 17 inches.
The old pre-merger Continental 772 aircraft will eventually be converted to have Polaris business class 1-2-1 seating, but for now is 2-2-2. It will also eventually be converted to have 3-4-3 seating in coach, but for now it still has 3-3-3 seating.
Bottom line: Starting from May 5th for the near future, United flight 84/85 will offer a better experience for coach passengers and United flight 90/91 will offer a better experience for business class passengers.
It’s worth noting that both flights already have the new Polaris branded bedding and pillows. Mattress pads and gel cooled pillows are even available upon request. However neither Newark-Tel Aviv flight will offer Pajamas in business class, though United’s Dreamliner operated nonstop flight from San Francisco to Tel Aviv is long enough to qualify for business class Pajamas, which are given out upon request.