United Airlines announced today that it will be enhancing its transcontinental service beginning July 1, 2017. Both business and Economy Plus passengers will benefit from this enhancement. Boston is added to the premium transcontinental route network as well on the same day.
With the success of its United Polaris rolled out since December 2016, United Airlines is using the service concept to inspire enhancements for both its business and Economy Plus passengers. the service will be rolled out on board its domestic Boeing 757-200 and Boeing 777-200 aircrafts.
Premium Transcontinental Business Class
Premium transcontinental business class passengers start their journey with a higher level of service at the airport. That includes Premium Access priority check-in, free baggages allowance, expedited security lanes, access to United Club prior to departure or upon arrival and priority boarding.
On board, passengers will also enjoy the following food and service amenities as per its press release:
- 180 degree flat-bed seats for a more relaxing and sleep-enhancing flight.
- Custom-designed duvet and pillow provided by leading luxury specialty store and New York-bred retailer Saks Fifth Avenue and new amenity kits designed by Saks that feature product from Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa.
- A featured cocktail, the Moscow Mule by Crafthouse Cocktails. Created at a bar on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles more than 75 years ago, the Moscow Mule will be accompanied by a candied ginger skewer and lime wedge (NEW).
- Hot towel service will be offered after take-off and prior to landing (NEW).
- Seasonally refreshed menus, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project and its critically recognized chefs including several from cities served by United’s premium transcontinental service. The chefs include Della Gossett of Spago Beverly Hills, David LeFevre of California’s Manhattan Beach Post, Mitchell Nordby of San Francisco’s Parallel 37 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Michael Armstrong of New York’s Dream Downtown and Bodega Negra. Sample fare includes pumpernickel and goat cheese crostini with mango relish and smoked sea salt; savory pan roasted chicken with kale pesto; orzo with grilled artichokes, a staple of California, and sautéed leaks; and braised short ribs with creamy goat cheese grits.
- Dining will be topped off with items inspired by the popular United Polaris dessert menu (NEW).
- Before arrival, snacks such as Boulder Canyon potato chips and Madik’s almonds will be served.
“We routinely see high demand for travel between our coasts and we want to provide the same level of quality typically reserved for international routes – this includes all flat-bed seating in business class as well as an industry-leading dining experience for customers in Economy Plus,” said Mark Krolick, United’s vice president of marketing. “Our updated premium transcontinental service not only connects travelers between four of the nation’s largest markets, it connects customers to the best food, drinks and amenities from these world-class cities.”
The move to bring a consistent product offering from its United Polaris international service to Premium Transcontinental Business Class passengers is a good move by Untied Airlines. Domestic premium passengers would be able to get a taste of United Polaris service while international passengers would not receive a drop in service and amenities flying coast to coast. From a marketing perspective, the name Premium Transcontinental Business Class may be too wordy. The airline could consider renaming it as Polaris Transcontinental service to further highlight the premium branding.
At the airport, Economy Plus passengers will enjoy free baggage allowance and priority boarding. On board, they will continue to enjoy up to 5″ (13cm) more pitch and will gain access to a new coastal-city-inspired menu which includes a complimentary hot fresh entrée, dessert and fruit, a pre-arrival snack and alcoholic beverages.
“Sample menu selections include savory roasted chicken with a smoked barbecue sauce and butternut squash tortellini with sage cream sauce. Dessert options will include New York’s favorite sweet treat, cheesecake, as well as a chocolate brownie and fresh seasonal fruit”.
“Customers traveling in Economy Plus will receive the industry’s best economy cabin dining experience,” noted Krolick. “Flying between Boston or the New York area and the west coast can be akin to flying from the east coast to Europe, and we want to provide a satisfying and unparalleled meal in our Economy cabin. This enhancement to Economy Plus is our first step toward a premium Economy offering for our customers.”
This move will take United Airlines’ Economy Plus closer to a true premium economy product it does not have currently. One major difference would be seating comfort as this section will retain the same configuration as economy class whereby competitors such as Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have distinct seat designs for their international premium economy cabins with added amenities.
It is interesting to note that Mark Krolick, United’s VP of Marketing, mentioned about the airline possibly taking the first steps in creating a true premium economy product based on the concept being implemented on transcontinental service. Perhaps this is a hint that something new would be announced But the airline in the near future?
Boston – A New Frontier
United Airlines will expand its Premium Transcontinental Business Service from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) market to its hub at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting on July 1, 2017. It is not the first time the airline flirted with a premium service as it trialled using premium Boeing 757-200 aircrafts without the frills on this route back in 2015 (News). The airline will use a mix of Boeing 752-200, 752-200 (PS), and 777-200 (domestic) for its seven daily flights between the two cities with many connecting opportunities to Asia, North American west coast and Mexico. This fleet mix allows the airline to have the most business class capacity (up to 172 seats) daily on this route. One way prices are as low as US$237 for economy and US$572 for business class for travel on July 1.
“United offers Boston customers the industry’s leading schedule between Boston and San Francisco with the most departures, the greatest number of seats and the only wide-body service,” said Krolick. “Now, as a premium transcontinental market, we are increasing significantly the number of business class seats available to Boston travelers on this route. Moreover, Boston business customers connecting via SFO, our Asia/Pacific hub, to destinations throughout the Asia Pacific region will be able to enjoy a flat-bed business class seat for the duration of their journey.”