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A New Fare Class May Be Coming to United Airlines

United Shades up Policy

Unconfirmed reports suggest the “friendly skies” could include another ticket option for Economy Plus – allowing flyers to book directly into the section instead of upgrading for preferred seats.

United Airlines may be following the lead of Delta Air Lines once again – this time, through cabin segmentation on select domestic routes. Discovered by FlyerTalkers findark and jsloan, an unconfirmed new ticket class could be coming soon: Economy Plus.

But United already has Economy Plus?

As it stands today, the Economy Plus option aboard United aircraft is an add-on ancillary purchase, similar to checked luggage. On the United website, flyers can either select to “upgrade” to Economy Plus after their tickets are booked or as a subscription option for one year. The purchases could towards flyers’ Premier qualifying dollar total towards status in the calendar year.

But FlyerTalker findark believes this could break out to its own separate booking class, similar to how economy and business class are separated. In the filing discovered on Monday, November 4, 2019, the airline presented a third economy cabin class, advertised as “B” with no further explanation. It reports as more expensive than basic economy “N” and standard economy “W” – leading them to suspect “B” could be the Economy Plus option.

Furthermore, the potential Economy Plus seats qualify for a Premier qualifying mile bonus of 150 percent, as well as “instant upgrades for elites.” The new seat class isn’t available for sale yet on United.com, leaving the discovery as an unconfirmed rumor.

“It looks like United is preparing to sell Economy Plus as a separate class of service rather than a seat selection fee,” findark concludes. “This is similar to the way Delta sells its Comfort Plus seats — instead of paying a fee to choose a seat in Comfort Plus, they treat it as a separate class of service and you can purchase a ticket in Comfort Plus class…or upgrade to Comfort Plus via normal upgrade means.”

What Do You Think of the New Fare Class?

If the rumors are proven true, FlyerTalkers are already mourning the loss of another elite benefit. All levels of United MileagePlus Premier elites are allowed to select seats in the Economy Plus area free of charge at varying times before their flight. But if ticket sales are allowed prior to the flight, it could be a downgrade to current frequent flyers.

“This would be a massive devaluation of the Premier E+ benefit,” writes longtime FlyerTalker Kacee. “Coming right on the heels of a massive increase in the qualification requirements.”

“Not a surprise, it’s just more market segmentation used as a tactic to increase pricing, it’s text book,” writes FlyerTalker John Aldeborgh. “There will be fewer and fewer seats at lower prices but 25 flavors of upgrades at progressively higher prices but it will be marketed as offering customers more ways to save money. Loyalty is increasingly in name only, profits trump loyalty with the current United management.”

“This is the beginning of the end of free Economy Plus selection for [United MileagePlus] Premier members,” worries forum member Kmxu. “I wish that I could be wrong on this.”

If a change in how United sells seats is coming, a formal announcement – or shift in pricing and cabin options on United.com – is not ready. As of press time, spokespersons from United have not responded to requests for comment by FlyerTalk.

Are you negative on Economy Plus? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk forums today!


[Image: United Airlines]

Comments are Closed.
White Eagle November 15, 2019

UNITED will probably introduce "Silver Screw Class". Just 1 more method of cynically emptying its customers' wallets.

chelseastu November 15, 2019

So is this what us Europeans know as Premium Economy ?

diver858 November 11, 2019

UA risks losing revenue from business travelers who upgrade in to Y+ at their own expense, when their employer only pays for Y; separate fare bucket will drive such customers to other carriers.

FlyingNone November 9, 2019

I'm thoroughly confused and I've been in the airlines business for well over 35 years.

kirkwoodj November 9, 2019

Premier Qualifying Miles are no more as of 01JAN2020. It's just more spend for PQPs. Not really much of a story.