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United is chasing premium travelers with a massive aircraft order. What investors need to know

United shows its first Boeing 737 Max 8 at its hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Leslie Josephs | CNBC

United Airlines is chasing high-paying customers with bigger planes, and a lot of them.

United's new aircraft order — 150 of Boeing's largest 737, the Max 10, 50 of the best-selling Max 8, and 70 Airbus A321s — is its biggest ever. It is also the largest order by a U.S. carrier in about a decade, a clear boost to Boeing and Airbus. But more than anything it shows how United is shifting its attention from survival (with the help of billions in federal aid) to a post-Covid rebound and future growth.