On Tuesday, United president Scott Kirby hints at installing lie-flat seats on a few 737 Max 10's that United has on order. Today, United confirms the move, adding that the airline will retire its' pre-merger United 757's.
This type of change seems to have come from the competition United is receiving from other transcontinental operators, namely Jetblue. Jetblue currently offers lie-flat seating on identical transcontinental routes that United operates. Some popular competitive routes are BOS-SFO/LAX, EWR/JFK-SFO/LAX, in addition to other routes like EWR/IAD-SEA.
The current 757-200 aircraft that United uses on its Transcontinental service is a mix between 15 pre-merger United, and 40 pre-merger Continental aircraft. With 28 and 16 lie-flat seats on each aircraft respectively. The 15 pre-merger United aircraft are designated to fly the premium transcontinental routes; however, the few of the 40 international configured, pre-merger Continental 757-200 also fly this route. Because of this, its reasonable to believe that United would configure the designated transcontinental 737 MAX 10's with at least 16 seats up front.
It is still unclear how the layout of these new lie-flat seats on the new 737 MAX 10 will look like. However, some have speculated that United will install its new Polaris seats, although very unlikely. A more reasonable seat would be a 2-2 layout similar to the ones currently on the airlines 757-200 and select wide bodies.
When executed, United will be the first US airline to have a 737 MAX equipped with lie-flat seating.