AIRLINENEWSPASSENGER EXPERIENCE

United Airlines Adds New Bundled Options Its Economy Plus Product

United Airlines Boeing 787

United Airlines (UA) introduces new bundled options passengers who are looking for additional perks for selected flights marketed and operated by itself or United Express®.

United Airlines

The two bundled options are named  and are available for purchase during the initial ticket booking on United.com. The purchases would be counted towards the Premier® Qualifying Dollar (PQD) for all MileagePlus members based in the United States. Refund can be processed under certain conditions (they can found in the FAQ):

United Airlines Economy Plus Bundled Options
United Airlines Economy Plus Bundled Options
Source: United Airlines

Features

Economy Plus Essentials

This package offers:

  • Economy Plus seating (up to 6″ (15cm) of pitch)
  • Extra standard checked bag up to 50lbs (23kg) – this checked bag will not receive priority handling
  • Discount of up to 20% on these travel perks than purchased alone

Economy Plus Enhanced

This package offers:

  • Economy Plus seating (up to 6″ (15cm) of pitch)
  • Extra standard checked bag up to 50lbs (23kg) – this checked bag will not receive priority handling
  • Premier Access® (including priority check-in, priority security lane access (where available) and priority boarding (Group 2)
  • United Club℠ trip pass
  • Bonus MileagePlus® award miles (500 for travel within the 48 continental US and 1,000 for travel outside)
  • Discount of up to 25% on these travel perks than purchased alone

 

United Airlines Economy Plus Bundled Options
United Airlines Economy Plus Bundled Options

Analysis

Target Audience

These new bundled options are designed for:

  • Casual and non-elite passengers who are looking to pay for perks usually offered to elite passengers
  • United Premier Silver members who want to have immediate access to Economy Plus seats instead of at check in
  • Star Alliance Silver members who want access to all the perks listed except priority check-in / boarding available at selective airports
  • Star Alliance Gold members who want access to United Airlines’ Economy Plus seat
  • United Premier members in the US who are short on PQDs for elite qualification at the end of the year.

This new bundled products are not designed for:

  • Those who purchased a yearly economy plus subscription for $US499.
  • United Premier Gold, Platinum, 1K or Global Services members who have access to all the perks listed except for United Club lounge access when travelling within 50 US States (they receive access on international itinerary).

Push For Ancillary Revenue

United Airlines continues to develop new options as part of its bigger strategy into airline retailing which carries a higher profit margin (Insight – October 1, 2015).  It has been noted by Forbes Magazine recently that the airline ranks No.1 in the world in collecting ancillary revenue (which includes various user fees and credit card company partnerships). The top 10 airlines on this list are noted below (with estimated ancillary revenue in $US billions):

Top 10 Airlines Ancillary Revenue (2014)
Top 10 Airlines Ancillary Revenue (2014)
Source: Forbes Magazine

Future

2016 will be the year where airlines introduces new options with the objective to increase the percentage of ancillary revenue as part of overall revenue. These options will likely focus on the following:

  • Services assigned with travel to/from airports
  • Services within airport terminals
  • In board food options in economy class and beyond (Insight – April 25, 2015)
  • In flight entertainment
  • Tailored discount offers on flights and other products / services

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