Rumor: United Premium Service Is Being Rebranded As “United Coast”

Most airlines operate some sort of a special service between coasts, given how high yield some of these routes are. The most popular routes for these special services are from New York to both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

For example, United operates p.s. (Premium Service) flights from Newark to LAX and SFO, all of which feature flat beds in business class. Back in the day United operated these special flights out of JFK, though as of October 2015 they decided to pull out of JFK altogether, and rather operate these flights out of their Newark mega-hub. We’ve since learned that United regrets this move, but they can’t really undo it anymore.

In addition to flat beds in business class, these flights also feature enhanced food & beverage options, better bedding and amenities, etc. Unfortunately this also comes at a cost — at least at United, MileagePlus Premier members aren’t eligible for complimentary upgrades in these markets.

Anyway, No Mas Coach shares leaked information that suggests United p.s. will be renamed United Coast as of next month. Apparently the change will be in name only, and we won’t see changes to the seat, food & beverage service, etc.

However, apparently Boston to San Francisco will also become a United Coast route, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that United recently announced they’d be adding flat bed seats in the market. Oddly Boston to Los Angeles isn’t getting the same love, even though JetBlue offers their incredible Mint product in the market.

Ultimately it doesn’t seem like all that much will be changing in terms of the quality of the product, but rather they just see a branding opportunity, and United is big into that. When you look at the “products” we’ve seen introduced lately, it looks like the craze is to name the product after the airline, and then add one other word — United Polaris, Delta One, etc.

It seems that they think this will resonate more with passengers than “Premium Service,” which seems like a rather generic term.

I’ll be curious to see when this is officially announced, and if any other aspects of the service change.

What do you make of the potential United Coast rebranding?

Comments

  1. Appropriate name, given the entire airline is about just doing the minimum amount of work to get by, i.e. “coasting”

  2. It’s not surprising at all that Boston to LAX isn’t getting this service. United only really tries to compete through its fortress hubs. SFO is a hub for United, and they need to compete with JetBlue and I guess Virgin there, who offer competitive products to Boston. Boston is of course a JetBlue hub. LAX and Boston are less important for United.

  3. Lipstick on a pig. United should recruit new employees who don’t hate their jobs, their customers and the company they work for and try again.

  4. United “Coast”…? That evokes a warm fuzzy feeling like the Globe logo – erm, I mean the “bingo cage”.

    United needs to press the RESTART button and start all over again as a brand new airline and hopefully with some direction.

  5. There are certain events that take place with an airline that NEVER leave the mind of the general public.

    The dragging and bloodied face of that passenger will sit with people for years to come (just like a plane crash), because deep down that could’ve been any one of us!!.

    United can re-brand all they like, but the perception is deep. Changing their tired early 1990s CO Bethune livery would be a step in the right direction….then again.

    Good luck to them!…they are a relic from the past.

  6. @Jordan –

    Nope. I can guarantee the flying masses will have completely forgotten about Dao by July.

  7. BOS-SFO only makes sense, not just because SFO is a much bigger hub for UA, but also because I have to imagine there is a lot more premium traffic between the two cities given that BOS is the tech hub of the East Coast.

  8. @chasgoose +1 – tons of premium tech traffic between the two cities.

    Was looking at this route myself for next month. Looks like it will be operated primarily with United’s P.S. 757-200s but also with a 777-200 with 28 seats of 2-4-2 lie-flat business class (777-200 version 5 on SeatGuru) on two of the frequencies.

  9. Sounds like a way for UA to try a new marketing scheme by not improving the product whatsoever . DL now flies BOS-SFO-BOS with their internationally configured 757s. DL’s product is way ahead of UA’s on the premium catering alone, not to mention a much nicer amenity kit. DL’s J product runs pretty close to equal of B6s.
    UA needs crews with a refreshed, positive, optimist view, catering needs to be re-vamped, & consistency needs to be markedly improved.

  10. @Jordan — Sounds to me more like wishful thinking than an “analysis” anchored in reality.

    The United 3411 incident happened on April 9. On April 23, I flew to Honolulu on a sold out United flight; ditto of my return flight on April 28…

    @RJB — You need to stop living in the past. The notion that UA employees “hate their jobs” is outdated, with no a basis in current reality.

    Get a grip. Only creatures who dwell in travel blogosphere still remember UA 3411 or Dr. Dao’s name, or are even critical of US airlines in general. Almost everyone out there is simply looking for a flight that’d take them from point A to point B affordably and/or conveniently and/or on time…really 😉

  11. @dcs when was the last time you had a solid customer experience on UA?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  12. I’m an infrequent flyer and I’ll remember Dr. Dao for a long time. I’m sure other people think about it when they choose an airline.

  13. BOS-LAX doesn’t make much sense. BOS-SFO a bunch companies will pay for their employees to fly business and employees appreciate it and see it as a perk and there will be demand connecting 2 very big tech hubs with lots of money. BOS-LAX not so much much more leisure travel and Boston just doesn’t have the same amount of celebrity travel as LAX-NYC not many companies that are flying between two cities consistently nor celebrities that leaves you with leisure which isn’t as high margain at all. Also delta starts BOS-SFO delta one flatbed service next week too and no way United wanted to give away all that biz travel to delta, now they have incentive to improve their product. Much like United Delta one will only run SFO-BOS not LAX-BOS.

  14. @RJB — I have had a solid customer experience on almost every single one of my mostly long-haul UA flights over the last year or two, and I flight almost exclusively with them.

    When was your most recent UA flight? I bet you still think $mi$ek is still the airline’s CEO…

  15. zitsky says: “I’m an infrequent flyer…”

    That’s why you can let something like what happened on UA3411 dictate your choice. Others do not have your “luxury”. They must fly so they will go with their best choice between points A and B, if that means taking a UA flight…

  16. “….operate these flights out of their Newark mega-hub. We’ve since learned that United regrets this move…”

    How does United regret the move out of JFK?

  17. Agreed with @DCS. There’s absolutely no airline left in America that is able to satisfy every single darn one of it’s passengers. No airline, even globally, forget nationally, is perfect either way. You can argue that European airlines are the cream of the crop and that their service is ‘top-notch’ or that legacy carriers such as Lufthansa and BA are so preferable to American carriers . . . But isn’t Lufthansa plagued with strikes 24/7? Labor issues? Pilot disagreements? And BA – isn’t there some new headline literally every two weeks about labor issues or strikes or some new service being taken away from economy?
    Point being – hundreds of thousands of people fly airlines like UA every day. And few of them have experiences like Dao. Put into context how minuscule the amount is when compared to overall fliers these days. And don’t tell me that out of thousands of United employees, that every single one of them is dissatisfied with their employer, or is salty and grumpy all the time. In the past 6 months, I’ve done short-hauls on Virgin, Delta, United, American and Spirit as well. Almost all my experiences were similar, and not once did I have an exceptionally awful flight attendant. As a matter of fact the two best attendants I had were on my Spirit and United legs.

    It just goes to show . . .

  18. I’m convinced there isn’t a creative bone at United anymore. First, they use CO’s globe brand when they had a perfect opportunity to re-brand/re-fresh the entire company. Secondly, they choose to call their new business class Polaris and now Coast?!@! Awful.

  19. Jordan – I’d already forgotten about that…

    It also couldn’t happen to me as I’m not belligerent and I generally comply with legal instructions.

  20. @CJK – Scott Kirby, UA CEO in Waiting, admitted it in an interview.

    Probably because EWR is a terrible airport with awful lounges, an infestation of OTG iPads, a frequent mess of a security queue, and frankly doesn’t have the cachet of JFK.

    Other than that, moving PS to EWR was just genius.

  21. Apparently UA is dropping many transatlantic 757 planes for widebodies so that may explain the added inventory of 757’s for the BOS-SFO route ?

  22. Hey haters, I like United. I usually have positive experiences with them, and when I don’t, their online CS pretty consistently makes it right.

    I also like flying from Newark. It’s faster from downtown Manhattan than JFK. I like that there’s an entire separate level for Premier check in, and TSA Pre (or Premier line) negates most security issues in Terminal C. I find the OTG setups actually convenient, with a variety of high-quality food options right at the gate in many cases.

    The basic level of elite status (Silver) is better than on Delta (priority bags). And the award tickets are a much better value than on AA and Delta, where Saver tickets don’t really exist any more; and they’re quickly obtained, given the speed that you can earn them with the right combo of Chase cards. And award availability, at least in econ, is really pretty good if you’re either an elite or you have any MileagePlus card, even the no-fee one (which you can only convert to, not apply for). Don’t put your spend on that, though — earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is a much better plan.

    The Economy Plus subscription option is a tremendous value for non-Gold flyers — $900 for two, worldwide, for a full year.

    The P.S. 757 lie flats are quite comfortable, and the Saks blanket and pillow are phenomenal. Food is good if not extraordinary. You get any kind of drink you want pre-takeoff, not just champagne. Coast is a sensible name, as I didn’t even know what P.S. stands for.

    Their global reach is enormous, at least from NYC — I became an elite completely by accident, operating as a free agent.

    Sure, they have their bad days, but is there really an airline which doesn’t? The only real complaint I have is that their 777 biz class is awful, but at least they’ve recognized that — I wish they’d have gone with some off the shelf seats so they could fix that problem more quickly.

    Bitch all you want about United, but when you can get a last minute 10K or 12.5K ticket one way from Cleveland or New Orleans to NYC when the cash price is over $500, let me know, and I’ll consider flying your airline.

    Self-promotion: I go on and on about this and other things, for better or worse, at my own blog at http://ivanx.nyc .

  23. OMG, UA haters, get a life and stop bringing up the UAx incident as totally UA’s fault. The facts are that NO UA employee touched the passenger, and NO UA employee told the CPD officers to manhandle the passenger. The passenger decided to play a game and didn’t realize (or care) that when any law enforcement person gives you an order, you comply. Please note, the officers involved were placed on admin leave.
    UA agents will now be authorized to offer more money to get volunteer DB’s, and crew “must ride” rules will be changed, which is good, but please stop blaming UA for that unfortunate incident, which has now spurred copycat onboard refusal incidents, and made life for harried CSA’s and FA’s more miserable, as well as delays to passengers who just want to get where they are going.
    P.

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