This week, United Airlines started booking new Premium Plus seats on select flights for travel after March 30, 2019. The airline’s new premium economy product will feature wider seats, more legroom, a gourmet dining menu, top shelf cocktail selections, bedding provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, noise-cancelling headphones and enhanced in-flight entertainment.
It is now possible to book United Premium Plus seats for travel beginning on March 30th of next year. The airline was late to the game when it comes to offering a product between economy plus and business class for long-haul flights, but the legacy carrier looks ready to make up for lost time with ambitious plans to expand the Premium Plus service to dozens of routes and aircraft in the coming months.
The new product is conceived as a bridge between Economy Plus seats and business class on long-haul, mostly international flights. Airline officials note that the new Premium Plus cabin is not intended to replace Economy Plus seats but instead will offer more premium cabin amenities to budget-minded travelers.
“United Premium Plus gives our customers more options so they can choose the best experience that fits their wants and needs when they travel,” United Airlines Executive V.P. and CCO Andrew Nocella said in a statement launching the new product. “United Premium Plus includes some of our high-end amenities from United Polaris, and is the perfect option for someone who wants an upgraded experience in the Economy cabin.”
According to Nocella, many of those amenities will be evident before passengers ever board the plane. United Premium Plus passengers are entitled to free checked bags, priority check-in and boarding as well as discounted access to some United Club locations.
Inflight amenities will include roomier seats, with more elbow room and legroom. The seats will be equipped with improved inflight entertainment options and noise-cancelling headphones. Dining and beverage menus will be more in line with premium cabin offerings. Designer amenity kits and bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue will greet passengers when they take their seats.
United Premium Plus service will initially be offered on select Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 787-10 aircraft. The new premium economy cabin will be available on flights between the airline’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) hubs to international destinations including Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV).
Passengers with MileagePlus status will still have an opportunity to upgrade from economy seats to business class seats, but will now also be offered a chance to upgrade to the Premium Plus cabin as well. In theory, the new cabin will offer more opportunities for upgrading seats.