CHICAGO, March 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — United is rolling out the red carpet at its U.S. airport lounges and welcoming its guests with complimentary Wi-Fi service. From e-mailing a presentation to a colleague to surfing the Web for a new restaurant in San Francisco or even updating a blog, United is providing better access to wireless technology that will
create a more convenient and rewarding travel experience for its customers.
“To deliver a best-in-class customer experience, we want to provide our guests with lounges that are convenient for conducting business and comfortable for relaxing in while traveling,” says Barbara Higgins, vice president, Customer Experience. “We continue to refurbish our airport lounges to make them more comfortable, and based on further input from our guests, we are now providing complimentary Wi-Fi service to make it easier for them to stay connected.”
The complimentary Wi-Fi service powered by T-Mobile(R) HotSpot is available in the U.S. starting today in 27 Red Carpet Clubs and all five International First Class lounges. It is available to all Red Carpet Club members, United customers traveling internationally with a first class or business class ticket and customers who purchase Red Carpet Club one-time passes for $50. All other guests still have convenient access to high-speed Wi-Fi through a T-Mobile HotSpot subscription or per-use option. Please see hotspot.t-mobile.com for more details.
Instead of taking the “it’s about time, the other clubs have it” approach, I’ll take the “this is awesome” approach. Ultimately UA was filling up their RCC’s before this enhancement, so it’s nice to see them actually do something to substantially improve the value of membership when they don’t really have to. It seems like Star Golds are excluded here since it applies to members, one time pass holders, and F/C passengers.
The one thing I’m really curious to see is whether this has a major impact on how full the clubs are, which I am sure we’ll at least notice a little bit, and more importantly whether this leads to a price increase or not. While it would be logical to raise the price, I think airline club membership is very elastic, and I doubt they could get away with higher prices. The one thing I see them doing is getting rid of the option to purchase a membership with miles, which is an awful value as it is, in my opinion.