United Introduces Premium ‘ps’ Service, Boston – Los Angeles

United is putting a ‘ps’ Boeing 757 onto one of its two daily Boston – Los Angeles flights this summer.

Between July 2 and August 17, United will fly:

    8:30am – 5:01pm, Los Angeles – Boston, UA528
    6:00pm – 9:11pm, Boston – Los Angeles, UA717

This move is interesting for several reasons:

  • United ran Boston – Los Angeles with this premium ‘international-style’ seating for several days in November.
  • When they have extra capacity with the aircraft to fly a roundtrip cross country flight, they seem to decide to put it on the Boston route.
  • It’s fully flat seating, but with the standard domestic product and upgrade rules. Elites can get complimentary upgrades on these flights.
  • Boston – Los Angeles is a high yield route compared to other cross country flights (aside from New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco which normally get these aircraft).
  • JetBlue has been considering using its similar ‘Mint’ product on the Boston – Los Angeles route.

    JetBlue’s “Mint” business class seat

While I expect that United’s decision to place the aircraft on Boston – Los Angeles is opportunistic as much as anything else, it serves as a test to see whether they can win business on this ultra-competitive route away Delta (2 flights), American (5 flights), Virgin America (3 flights), and JetBlue (3 flights).

    American’s premium cross country seat — very similar to United’s

Although I expect it will serve only as the most modest of tests, without the ramp up of service (catering) that comes with its premium products out of New York and without converting both of the airline’s flights to premium aircraft. They can’t easily market this with only one of their two flights, the message gets muddled and too many customers would be disappointed.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Hopefully, this will put some pressure on AA. LAX-BOS in a 738 is one of the worse flights in the system, whether in coach or up front.

  2. This is nice if you are flying to Boston, but if you fly to JFK UA is basically just giving up/slowly cutting back on this route and not wanting to compete with AA, VX, B6 and DL who have all caught up/surpassed UA on this route over the years. It’s not like these are new planes they are adding to the PS fleet.

  3. Imagine that. An airline figures out that there are cities in the US other than NY, LA, and SF. One day they might even discover that DC is a city too, and that there are, believe it or not, people with money and business who live here!

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