Economy Plus is here to stay

Old Feb 17, 11, 2:02 pm
Company Representative, United Airlines
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Economy Plus is here to stay

Hi Everyone, I know we’ve all been on the edge of our seats regarding the fate of our Economy Plus product, and I believe the headline and press release says it all. Economy Plus is here to stay.

Specifically, we will be retaining our Economy Plus seating on all current United aircraft and will be adding an Economy Plus seating section to our fleet of Continental aircraft starting in 2012. To set expectations, this will be a multi-year effort, and the specific timing won’t be provided until we have a better sense of our modification schedule. Factors including aircraft availability, hangar schedules, are still being determined.

I’ll do my best to answer some your questions, starting with some obvious ones below:
  1. Why wait until 2012 to start? As with any major cabin retrofit program, there’s a fair amount of engineering and planning that needs to be done before we can start on the first aircraft. This is the amount of lead time we need to get the process started.

  2. Will Economy Plus be installed at the expense of First Class or Economy Class seats? This is yet to be decided. It’s an important decision, especially for our domestic fleet, and one we’re putting a lot of thought into.

  3. Will Elites still have complimentary access to Economy Plus? The short answer is yes. As many of you know, Continental and United Elites have different policies for accessing extra legroom seating. Currently, on Continental-operated flights, extra legroom seats (select bulkhead and exit row seats) are complimentary to OnePass Gold/Platinum/Presidential Platinum and Mileage Plus Premier Executive/1K/Global Services members in advance, and to all Elite members from both programs at check-in. On United-operated flights, Elite members of both programs have access to Economy Plus both in advance and at check-in. We will be harmonizing this policy in the coming year as we further synch up our two loyalty programs.

  4. What about the p.s. transcon product, 3-cabin First Class, and other configuration decisions? There are indeed several more aircraft configuration blanks to fill in, which we expect to announce throughout the year. Stay tuned!
I think those are the key points, but if I've missed anything please let me know.

Scott O’Leary
Managing Director, Customer Solutions
United Airlines

Last edited by UA Insider; Feb 17, 11 at 2:10 pm
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:03 pm
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United Airlines to Retain Economy Plus, Expand to Continental Aircraft Beginning in 2012

CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) today announced that it will retain United's popular Economy Plus(R) seating on United flights and expand the option to Continental aircraft beginning in 2012, providing more opportunities for customers to enjoy additional legroom and comfort.

"Our customers value Economy Plus and the additional personal space that it provides," said Jim Compton, chief revenue officer of United Continental Holdings. "Customers who sit in Economy Plus are significantly more satisfied with their travel experience, as are travelers who choose other options that enable them to tailor their travel to their liking."

The decision to maintain and expand Economy Plus across the combined fleet marks a significant milestone in the product integration of United and Continental. It also demonstrates the company's commitment to provide innovative options to customers that enable them to customize their travel experience with superior products they value.

Today, United offers Economy Plus on all 359 mainline aircraft and more than 150 larger regional jets operated by United Express(R) carriers. When the multi-year conversion process is complete, the company plans to offer Economy Plus on more than 700 mainline aircraft, including all Continental mainline aircraft, as well as larger regional aircraft. When fully deployed, the new United's fleet will include more than 40,000 Economy Plus seats, providing more than 122,000 Economy Plus seats each day, the largest amount of extra legroom economy seating available to customers of any airline in the world.

United introduced Economy Plus in 1999, offering up to five inches of additional legroom to customers seated in the forward section of United Economy(R). Customers with elite status in United's Mileage Plus and Continental's OnePass frequent-flyer programs may confirm seat assignments in Economy Plus, when available. Customers may also purchase seat assignments in Economy Plus when making reservations via and, through a reservation agent, or during the check-in process at home or at the airport.

Continental currently offers extra legroom seats and will continue to offer that option to travelers until those aircraft are reconfigured with Economy Plus seating. OnePass and Mileage Plus elite members may confirm extra legroom seats at no charge, and other customers may purchase seat assignments for extra legroom seats.

The expansion of Economy Plus reflects United's focus on its product and customers. The airline continues to reconfigure United and Continental aircraft with new lie-flat seats in first and business class - with the new lie-flat product already on 112 aircraft in the combined fleet, more than any other U.S.-based carrier. In addition, more than 160 Continental aircraft feature DIRECTV(R).

About United Continental Holdings, Inc.

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) is the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Together with United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection, these airlines operate a total of approximately 5,675 flights a day to 372 airports on six continents from their hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. United and Continental are members of Star Alliance, which offers 21,000 daily flights to 1,160 airports in 181 countries worldwide through its 27 member airlines. United and Continental's more than 80,000 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world. For more information about United Continental Holdings, Inc., go to For more information about the airlines, see and, and follow each company on Twitter and Facebook.

SOURCE United Continental Holdings, Inc.
MBM3 is offline  
Old Feb 17, 11, 2:03 pm
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Thanks for the announcement! A wise move indeed!
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:04 pm
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Excellent News!
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:07 pm
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:08 pm
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I am pleasantly surprised.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by nnn View Post
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:11 pm
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Originally Posted by usa18dca View Post
Excellent News!
...but many opinions will quickly change if CO starts removing a row or two of first class to make way (and more closely resemble UA's scant domestic first class cabin).
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:11 pm
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Very, very wise.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:11 pm
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Welcome news, indeed. Thanks to you, UA Insider, for adding answers to a couple of related questions.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Hi Everyone, I know we’ve all been on the edge of our seats regarding the fate of our Economy Plus product.....

Billiken is offline  
Old Feb 17, 11, 2:12 pm
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EXCELLENT! This makes me want to regain elite status and push for higher status!
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by mkleiderman View Post
Thanks for the announcement! A wise move indeed!
Well, that's if it's not at a loss of F seats.

I'd be interested in seeing if this extends to the 70-seat Q400s.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
...Scott O’Leary
Managing Director, Customer Solutions
United Airlines
Scott, great to see you posting in your new livery.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:14 pm
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One of the changes in the months ahead that I think I'll like. ^
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