Improvements Coming to United’s (Mostly Continental’s) Inflight Product

Wandering Aramean outlines planned actual improvements to United’s inflight product.

I previously reported that United would keep economy plus after its integration with Continental, and that the Continental fleet would be getting economy plus starting in 2012. Seth reports that the timetable is being moved up:

The company expects to see the E+seats on 38 Continental aircraft before the end of the year. Based on some information received from other sources it is quite possible that these first Economy Plus aircraft will be 757-300s or 737-800s. …By the end of Q1 2012 the company expects to have 100 Continental aircraft equipped with Economy Plus seats. That number will include 29 Bombardier Q400 commuter turbo-prop aircraft which will be equipped with both a first class and economy plus section.

Back in May I noted that United would be keeping Channel 9 (air traffic control as part of inflight audio), and then in June followed up with word that Continental would be getting Channel 9 in 2012. Seth highlights this re-affirmation as well.

There’s also updates on installation of new international flat bed seats (eg 12 more 777s converted by the end of the year, plus Continental’s lie-flat business class seats for the New York-San Francisco/Los Angeles ps flights), and improved inflight entertainment options for economy on the 747.

Ben is also covering the changes and notes that Airbus aircraft will double the size of their overhead bins (no more gate checked bags?), also that they’ll be bringing first class and economy plus to more United Express aircraft (the Q400s).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks for the links, Gary.

    Indeed, most of the improvements are on the CO side of things though there are a couple significant bits on the UA side as well.
    *This is the first official confirmation from the company that the 763 ghetto birds will be moving to an international configuration.
    *It is also a confirmation that the 777s will continue to convert in a 3-class configuration, at least for now.
    *The upgrade to the p.s. product is nice, though ti will make upgrades a tad more difficult with fewer premium seats.

  2. @Seth indeed the Continental business seats are better than the current ps FIRST class seats. I guess I had already internalized that decision rather than thinking it news. It’s an improved product, even if fewer premium seats.

  3. Given the changes to the elite program and FF program there better be lots more to offer from the UA.
    Interesting that the news is coming from Wandering Aramean who seems to be turning into the latest shrill for the new CO/UA corporation. Is that the way to earn elite upgrades in the bloging biz?

  4. I was on a PS flight from JFK-SFO last week & was talking to the FA – she said they’ll be dropping it to a 2-class vs. 3-class with CO BF – but she also said that they’ll be reducing the number of upgraded seats with this change.

  5. I was on two Colgan Q400s yesterday flying out of CLE (the first broke down) and both had a first class cabin (it wasn’t being sold as such). The seats were identical to coach, but you got more legroom, and a tiny curtain behind you. I didn’t notice any Economy+ behind that.

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand CO still uses those horrific F seats on 757s that service Central and South America. I would think that replacing these seats with proper lie flat seats would be a higher priority in order to stay competitive or gain an edge (I think AA has the same problem).

    Certainly nobody is going to complain about E+ being installed on the CO jets. But C/F international is the profit center. Just saying…

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