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Premium Transcon Service SFO-EWR/BOS, LAX-EWR flights - Questions and Experiences

Premium Transcon Service SFO-EWR/BOS, LAX-EWR flights - Questions and Experiences

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Old Jul 6, 19, 1:29 pm   -   Wikipost
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Update 2017: United p.s. is now called Transcontinental Service. This service is available on flights between EWR<>LAX, EWR<>SFO, and BOS<>SFO.
Cross Country Comfort: Introducing United Airlines’ New Transcontinental Service

Originally Posted by United POLARIS FAQ
How does the switch to United Polaris affect United p.s.® Premium Service transcontinental flights?
On December 1, 2016, BusinessFirst service on p.s. transcontinental routes became United Business®, and now features our custom Saks Fifth Avenue pillow and duvet. Previous p.s. features did not change other than the new bedding.
The first PS flights to/from EWR started 25 Oct 2015
United offers transcontinental travelers the features and comfort of long-haul international flights. Customers enjoy modern aircraft interiors with all-new seats, inflight Wi-Fi, free personal on-demand entertainment at every seat, in-seat power and USB ports.

United also provides:
* Premier Access check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling;
* United Club access;
* up to 6 feet, 4 inches of sleeping space in a 180-degree flat-bed seat; and
* pre-departure beverages, hot towel service, multi-course meals and a pre-arrival snack.
E+ passengers -- hot meals and drinks included
Travelers in Economy Plus on our premium transcontinental flights now enjoy more than just extra legroom — they’ll also receive a complimentary hot entrée, fruit and dessert, as well as their choice of free alcoholic beverages, including our featured cocktail and more.
Aircraft 757-200
Original config 28 lieflat BF / 42 E+ / 72 E-
Everything You Want to Know About Where to Sit on a 757-200 (pmUA Domestic and p.s.)

Re-purposed TATL config 16 lieflat BF / 45 E+ / 108 E-
Consolidated "Seats on International 757"

other lie-flat aircraft will be used on the route, such as
Everything You Wanted to Know About Where to Sit on 777-200 HD (28BF,102E+,234E-)
Everything you want to know about where to sit on the 787-10

FAQs
Are all flights on these routes lie-flat, etc?
Yes -- all non-stop flights from SFO/LAX to/from EWR and SFO<>BOS are configured as such regardless of aircraft used. All scheduled aircraft have a lie-flat premium cabin.

Are these CPU-eligible flights?
No -- no CPU on these flights. It will take RPU/GPU/mileage+copays to upgrade. Generally, these are "hard" upgrades.

Are TODs / Cash upgrades offered?
Yes, $298 cash OW upgrades are regularly offered.

Archive: Premium Transcon Service SFO-EWR/BOS, LAX-EWR flights-Questions&Experiences {Archive}
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:00 pm
  #526  
 
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Nope. Probably good that way (to prevent overcrowding).
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:04 pm
  #527  
 
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Originally Posted by dmurphynj View Post
In a word, no.
Originally Posted by bdw1120 View Post
No, unless you arrive from or have an onward connecting long-haul international flight.
Originally Posted by seanp7 View Post
Nope. Probably good that way (to prevent overcrowding).
Could someone pray tell explain for us the access rules to United domestic clubs when travelling on a p.s. service route, namely:
  • Does p.s. J get you access to a United Club?
  • Does UA Gold or above get you access whilst travelling in any class of p.s.?
It's important to note that not every transcontinental route is deemed p.s. service. IIRC flights between Newark and Los Angeles/San Francisco are the only ones. Also important to note is that meal service is offered for those seated in E+ on such routes in addition to those seated in J / F.

-James
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:11 pm
  #528  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Could someone pray tell explain for us the access rules to United domestic clubs when travelling on a p.s. service route, namely:
  • Does p.s. J get you access to a United Club?
  • Does UA Gold or above get you access whilst travelling in any class of p.s.?

1) Yes, J will.
2) No, when in Y/Y+. You need to be a UC member, or *A Gold from a non-UA entity.
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:14 pm
  #529  
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Could someone pray tell explain for us the access rules to United domestic clubs when travelling on a p.s. service route, namely:
  • Does p.s. J get you access to a United Club?
  • Does UA Gold or above get you access whilst travelling in any class of p.s.?
It's important to note that not every transcontinental route is deemed p.s. service. IIRC flights between Newark and Los Angeles/San Francisco are the only ones. Also important to note is that meal service is offered for those seated in E+ on such routes in addition to those seated in J / F.

-James
In p.s. J you have access to UA clubs at origin and destination of your p.s. flight. These are EWR-LAX/SFO but also BOS-SFO. J can be bought or upgraded, does not matter.

UA*G does not get access when traveling in Y. non-UA SAG of course has access.
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:21 pm
  #530  
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Originally Posted by ianlin View Post
Last time I was at United Club at EWR, my experience can be described as dismal at best. I am not anxious to repeat the experience. I am flying transcon out of EWR again next month. I am looking for alternatives. Does United transcon passengers have access to the new Polaris Lounge?
No.

David
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Old Apr 20, 19, 11:03 pm
  #531  
 
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Originally Posted by ianlin View Post
...Does United transcon passengers have access to the new Polaris Lounge?
Transcon prices are a fraction of long-haul international Polaris prices. The amenities are designed to cater to (and attract) higher-revenue passengers flying long-haul (who in turn are paying for the amenities provided through higher ticket prices).

Example - ORD-LHR 8hrs $4800. ORD-HNL lie-flat 9hrs $2200. Domestic flight is longer and far cheaper. Pretty obvious why UA isn’t going to provide the same lounge and in-flight amenities as the international flyer. Premium transcon prices not much different than the domestic example provided (and is often much cheaper).

Frankly, premium transcon flyers are lucky to get UC access and slightly better food with their lie-flats, but that’s more due to competitive route pressure than fares paid.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Apr 21, 19 at 12:25 am
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Old Apr 21, 19, 1:37 am
  #532  
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
Premium transcon prices not much different than the domestic example provided (and is often much cheaper).
Premium t-con is actually quite pricey these days if you can't get a P fare - typically well over $2k. And if you're buying within a week of departure, it's going to be over $3k. There are plenty of intercontinental routes that are less than that on dollars per hour of flight basis.

The answer to "why doesn't premium t-con get Polaris lounge is access" is "because UA has not granted it." No need for explanations beyond that.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 7:59 am
  #533  
 
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
Several flights today SFO-BOS-SFO with 753. UA better fixes this quickly. I am seeing a lot of 752s elsewhere in the domestic network ... they must be paying a fortune in comps for the folks who got downgraded 28 --> 24 plus the 24 for not having lie-flat.
Thanks for making me paranoid about my upcoming BOS-SFO flight. If UA does downgrade J->Y due to operation issues, what is the procedure? Is it by status, currently selected seat, or something else?
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Old Apr 21, 19, 8:13 am
  #534  
 
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Originally Posted by bioyuki View Post
Thanks for making me paranoid about my upcoming BOS-SFO flight. If UA does downgrade J->Y due to operation issues, what is the procedure? Is it by status, currently selected seat, or something else?
Likely by status and fare class. They may also solicit volunteers to downgrade in exchange for travel vouchers or miles at the gate.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 8:18 am
  #535  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Absolutely not. Polaris Lounge access requires flying either UA in Polaris across an ocean (i.e. EWR > LHR) or departing from a *A airline in J/F going across the ocean (i.e. SFO>NRT on NH). However, if you are a UA Gold or above member you have access to several non-UA lounges at EWR, namely the LH and SK lounge at Terminal B. The former has an excellent selection of food but tends to be crowded. The latter has meh food (albeit slightly better than UC EWR IMHO) but has tons more space due to it not being crowded. You can access Terminal B either by taking the United shuttle bus to Terminal B or by walking to Terminal B landside and clearing security there. If you do the latter, skip the line and keep walking towards security on the right hand side. You'll eventually see a sign that say Business/First. Use that line (since you're a *Gold) and you'll be in the terminal within 30 minutes or so. Keep in mind, you'll need to add time to get back to Terminal C since there is no bus airside to bring you back there. In that case use the Premier Access and/or TSA pre line (supposing you have the latter), whichever is shorter. From my experience it takes no more than 10 minutes to clear security using either lane.

Safe Travels,

James
There is no bus service from terminal C to terminal B on the United shuttle unless you’re flying out from terminal B on another onward star carrier. I learned that first hand this week, and only attempted it based on the erroneous reports I was reading. Therefore, I’m stating this for the record from personal experience (As an aside, the food in the LH lounge while plentiful and a nice selection seem to be all dried out and not fresh when I entered around 5 PM last week)
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Old Apr 21, 19, 10:02 am
  #536  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Premium t-con is actually quite pricey these days if you can't get a P fare - typically well over $2k. And if you're buying within a week of departure, it's going to be over $3k. There are plenty of intercontinental routes that are less than that on dollars per hour of flight basis.

The answer to "why doesn't premium t-con get Polaris lounge is access" is "because UA has not granted it." No need for explanations beyond that.
Or that there's a reason UA hasn't called Premium Transcon "Polaris". I'll still argue the average Polaris fare is far higher than the average Premium Transcon fare, in spite of a little overlap al low end of Polaris fares and high end of Premium Transcon. Week of flying purchase of Polaris-route fare can be pretty high ($10k +). People still want to now why "Premium" doesn't get premium lounge - "Just because" sometimes doesn't satisfy.

You're right on per-hour costs.

Big part of the decision is probably the sheer volume of people that would be entitled to use lounge at both ends SFO/LAX/EWR if Tramscon let in. LAX Polaris lounge definitely not designed for it and would be miserably crowded all the time. Add SFO and LAX-bound passengers toe EWR Polaris lounge and it would be chaos.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Apr 21, 19 at 10:09 am
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Old Apr 21, 19, 12:04 pm
  #537  
 
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if you’re traveling between LA/SF & Manhattan in paid J, book AA over UA because AA provides an identical onboard product and far superior airport experience in Flagship lounges. UA must not care about losing these customers, figuring their EWR location & locked-in frequent fliers provide the airline with its “natural share” of business. they may be right.

assuming fares are identical.

or, otherwise book DL for better on-board privacy and 200% - 400% earning into VS.

or, JetBlue.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 12:11 pm
  #538  
 
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
Or that there's a reason UA hasn't called Premium Transcon "Polaris". I'll still argue the average Polaris fare is far higher than the average Premium Transcon fare, in spite of a little overlap al low end of Polaris fares and high end of Premium Transcon. Week of flying purchase of Polaris-route fare can be pretty high ($10k +). People still want to now why "Premium" doesn't get premium lounge - "Just because" sometimes doesn't satisfy.

You're right on per-hour costs.

Big part of the decision is probably the sheer volume of people that would be entitled to use lounge at both ends SFO/LAX/EWR if Tramscon let in. LAX Polaris lounge definitely not designed for it and would be miserably crowded all the time. Add SFO and LAX-bound passengers toe EWR Polaris lounge and it would be chaos.
I can understand that concern and would argue that UA should then limit Polaris lounge access to the people who really need it (i.e. LA/SF travellers on redeyes arriving at 6 AM). The whole appeal of the p.s. service is that at night you'll get a decent rest (avoiding hotel cost) arriving in New York first thing next day to be productive. Having a shower and breakfast is a must to complete this experience and is something the UCs no longer provide.

Anyone who thought showers should get pulled from the UC hubs should be fired!
​​​​​

-James
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Old Apr 21, 19, 1:19 pm
  #539  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I can understand that concern and would argue that UA should then limit Polaris lounge access to the people who really need it (i.e. LA/SF travellers on redeyes arriving at 6 AM). The whole appeal of the p.s. service is that at night you'll get a decent rest (avoiding hotel cost) arriving in New York first thing next day to be productive. Having a shower and breakfast is a must to complete this experience and is something the UCs no longer provide.

Anyone who thought showers should get pulled from the UC hubs should be fired!
​​​​​

-James
That argument can extend to passengers arriving on redeyes into EWR from Hawaii or Las Vegas, some who also intend to go to work. “Need” doesn’t go into equation. Lest we forget, there’s probably more people in coach that might be going into work after a red eye, too. Some feel they need a shower and breakfast, too. Breakfast is a red herring. I seem to recall plenty of breakfast options in the concourse. As for need of shower, the percentage of passengers who actually availed themselves of CO’s showers was small (and I don’t believe UA actually had any pre-merger at JFK ( I could be wrong). As a frequent IAH-LHR traveler, I (and my co-workers) rarely visited showers before going straight into partner/government meetings.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Apr 21, 19 at 1:28 pm
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Old Apr 21, 19, 3:51 pm
  #540  
 
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
That argument can extend to passengers arriving on redeyes into EWR from Hawaii or Las Vegas, some who also intend to go to work. “Need” doesn’t go into equation. Lest we forget, there’s probably more people in coach that might be going into work after a red eye, too. Some feel they need a shower and breakfast, too.


The point I'm making is that for these few sets of flights that arrive so early into EWR why not open up the Polaris Lounge for them. No one is going to be using it, since European flights land later and Asian flights tend to land in the afternoon IIRC. IIRC the Polaris lounge would probably be closed that early in the morning so having these people use it would be a nice gesture on the part of UA.

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
Breakfast is a red herring. I seem to recall plenty of breakfast options in the concourse.
Is it? IIRC the number of food options available at 5 or 6 AM at EWR is very limited and that's being generous. It's one thing if your flight landed at 7 or 8 AM but that early and you're in a weird twilight at the airport where it's too early for anything to be open.

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
As for need of shower, the percentage of passengers who actually availed themselves of CO’s showers was small (and I don’t believe UA actually had any pre-merger at JFK ( I could be wrong). As a frequent IAH-LHR traveler, I (and my co-workers) rarely visited showers before going straight into partner/government meetings.
I understand that showers in lounges is a totally polarizing thing. Some people don't understand why they're there and find them disgusting and others like myself find them essential to battling to jet lag (in fact I believe it is the only known way to conquer it). All I'm saying is that for the half of the J travellers who find it gross being not having a shower in over a day why not make this option open for them?

-James
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