United Introducing Premium Plus (Premium Economy)

As of now the details are limited, though Wandering Aramean is reporting on an internal United memo regarding the introduction of a true international premium economy product. It looks like United’s new premium economy product will be called Premium Plus, and it will be introduced later this year. Here’s all we know so far:

Introducing United® Premium Plus

International premium economy is coming.

Later this year, we’ll begin to introduce United’s Premium Plus. Available on select international flights, United® Premium Plus will give you more space, comfort and amenities. The seats will be more spacious and you’ll enjoy upgraded dining on china dinnerware, free alcoholic beverages, a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow, an amenity kit and more.

United was one of the first airlines to introduce extra legroom economy seating throughout their fleet with Economy Plus, though they’re lagging behind American and Delta when it comes to premium economy.

American first revealed the details of their premium economy in 2015, and they’ve been retrofitting planes at a spectacularly fast pace. By this summer all of the planes they plan on reconfiguring should feature premium economy. Meanwhile Delta announced premium economy in late 2016, and so far only has premium economy on the A350, so they’re a ways behind American when it comes to installation.

We’ll have to wait for all the official details from United regarding Premium Plus, though I do have to wonder with what kind of a timeline they plan to install this product. They’ve been doing an abysmal job rolling out their new business class product, so who knows what kind of a timeline we’re looking at here.

Based on what we know so far, it looks like this product will be comparable to what American and Delta offer.

What do you make of United introducing premium economy?

Comments

  1. ffs, just call it what it is. The new polaris biz seat is what F was 15 years ago. The new prem eco is what biz was 15 years ago.

  2. No, this is NOT what biz was 15 years ago. 15 years ago, biz was an 160-degree nearly angle-flat seat. It included lumbar support (which could be put automatically cycled on and off throughout the flight). It does seem like we are returning to a 3-class plane though.

  3. Not an internal memo anymore – I received an email from United including this with a few other “announcements” today. Good intentions, but I’m not too optimistic given the timing for the Polaris roll out. But after flying in Econ+ from SFO to LHR last month, it is nice to see more attention to that class of seats.

  4. Heard Boeing was creating an in-house seat design team after their displeasure with Zodiac’s problems installing the Polaris seats (among other product problems as well). Wonder if this is the first stab at it, although that would make things a bit awkward once United starts taking deliveries of the a350…

  5. @Gurujanitor

    From what I’ve read, Boeing is collaborating with a new (for seats, anyway) vendor to provide an off the shelf (read=faster) offering for the 737 MAX. Also developing a biz seat for the 787. So these premium eco seats are probably from a different manufacturer.

  6. @GuruJanitor : in the end, only cold hard cash counts, so if Boeing is making a big fat margin from Zodiac’s mistakes, you think they’ll say no to that ?

    it’s like Apple and Samsung put up some dog and pony show a few years back, but in the end, when the only thing that mattered was money, Apple contracts Samsung, sometimes as an exclusive supplier, for key components in every iPhone on the market today.

    (as much as I despise Samsung for some of their business practices, there’s no denying that their semiconductors and display technology is *the* state-of-the-art)

  7. This is so stupid! Back in the day, there was “First,” “Business” and “Economy.” WTF didn’t they just stick with those names..3 classes, is 3 classes.

  8. This is yet another example of how bad United’s management is.

    First, they should have introduced a new business-class when they launched the 787. They didn’t.

    Then, they launch Polaris but aircraft didn’t have the seats for months. Even now, most of its planes won’t have the “new” seats until at least 2021. Oh yeah, the much-hyped Polaris lounges are years behind schedule.

    Now, they’re launching a premium-economy product after retrofitting some planes with Polaris. What are they going to now? Re-retrofit the planes?

  9. Pretty sure those are the same seats as Delta Premium Select. Guess the soft product will be the only differentiator.

  10. You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day, it’s still a pig.

    Anyone dumb enough to fly these class of fares over an true international carrier, deserves to be parted with his/her money.

  11. Now if only only they can get the superb customer service and PYTs that the Asian and Middle Eastern Airlines use – until then it’s still the subpar “service” and nasty attitudes that most Americans are used to!

  12. I don’t think I would pay more for it unless economy becomes 27″ seat pitch and no free carry on allowance.

    Ideally, what I’d like for economy is a decent seat and a sandwich, though I am willing to buy that sandwich at the airport and carry it aboard. An amenity kit is a welcome souvenir but not needed. Chinaware I could do without.

    An overnight transatlantic red eye, I might consider paying more for a bigger seat.

  13. Looking forward to this! Premium Economy is a nice compromise for personal travel where it’s hard to find a reasonable business fare.

    I also hope this will lead to UA finally allowing MileagePlus members to redeem miles for premium economy on Star Alliance carriers.

  14. United obviously learned a few lessons from the launch of Polaris, as they basically aren’t saying anything about the product until it is ready.

  15. Looks like the AA seat. The aisle seat arm rest can be lowered. Provides extra room if you need the width (POS).

  16. I’m concerned less about the seats than who is sitting them – preferably nice people around me, and Sully up front!

  17. Back in the day 707/DC-8 era), there was just Economy/Coach and First. Business – Qantas was one of the first, if not the first in 1979, and Premium Economy are both relatively recent innovations.

  18. Premium Economy is a great product on many airline (Air New Zealand Long haul is great) but runs the range from lower Business class to a “Economy Plus” so it will be interest to see how great this is

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