"History" of (Old) UA F and C?

Old Feb 9, 09, 10:40 am
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I can't wait for ALL of the old F and C seats to be "history."
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Old Feb 9, 09, 5:38 pm
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In my experience, UA had so many different fleet types flying between 1999-2001 that it was hard to keep track, but let me try my best to summarize what I remember:

UA 747-400's had three configurations:
1. I believe this configuration was called the 747-400 OP. The really old seats that are linked to airliners.net above. They had First Class back to Door 2, Business Class back to Door 4 and on the Upper Deck, and a small coach section. The First Class seats are the one's introduced in the early 90's, as are the business class ones. First had PTV but Business did not. Business legrests had the little metal spinning bar at the end but no real "footrest". The business class seat was I believe identical to the 767-200 business class seat- definitely in terms of seat covering and design, not so sure about pitch or recline. Similarly, I believe the First Class seats were the same F on the 767-200. I only flew this plane once, from SFO-DEN, and sat in business on the lower deck. However, I believe they usually flew to Asia and especially Japan, where demand for F and C was huge.

2. 747-400 OB: This plane was almost like the current "old" version today. First class was in the nose, with 18 seats. 3 rows of 2x2, Row 4 was 2x2x2. I flew this plane in F from IAD-LHR and ORD-LHR. The seats were exactly the same as the current 767 F. The seats in business were the same as they are today, but with the 49 inches of pitch that was standard for the time period rather than the 55 inches today (and obviously less recline too).

3. UA started upgrading the First Suite on the 744 as it is today. I flew on a newly reconfigured bird SFO-HNL in the first row of business class and remember peering into the First Class cabin. The plane came from the hanger and I remember the First Flight Attendent (who I ran into last year as purser on a 777 DEN-ORD) telling me that it was the first flight with the new F. Not sure if it was for that aircraft or in general.

4. UA increased pitch in C around the time that E+ was introduced internationally. Seat maps, especially rows 25 and 26, even reflected the greater space between seats. The 747 business class cabin between Doors 1 and 2 couldn't be as expanded because of space restraints and I believe to this day have less recline than the second main deck cabin or upper deck.

1. For as long as I can remember, this plane had the config that is about to go away next month.

1. When UA first introduced the 777, F was 2 rows of 2-2-2 in a 68 inch pitch, 3 rows of C 2-3-2, Door 2, 4 rows of C 2-3-2, then economy. The first class seats felt like the biggest things I had ever sat in. The space between seats felt absolutely huge. The seats were electronic, had the same seat cover patterns as business but in a lighter color, were not accessible to underseat stowage, and seemed to recline almost all the way flat, but not all the way. Business was not very nice with hard metal buttons for a manual recline and footrest that did not go back/come up very far.

2. Around 1999? a new business class was introduced (the current C seat with less pitch). It seemed really different at the time, smaller than the old 777 C seats (like shorter overall from seat cushion to headrest), but still an improvement. At the same time, F suites were put in. The config changed to 3 rows 1-2-1, then 2 rows of C, Door 2, and 5 rows of C 2-3-2. Later, when the C pitch was increased, the second cabin got "longer" because pitch went from 49 to 55 inches, but the minicabin to this day still feels more cramped (but also more intimate).

3. At the same time, UA begin flying around international 777's that had PTV's disabled and overhead screens. A poster above said they came with IFE disabled but to me it always seemed like UA had disabled them on purpose (very perplexing and idiotic too boot). The PTV's were still there, but one couldn't pull them out. Aisle and bulkhead monitors like the 2-class 777 showed common screen entertainment. Perhaps this is because at the time, many more 777's flew domestic routes and I only ever encountered these birds domestically. Either way, they soon disappeared and were replaced with the 777's we've come to love today!
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