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Economy Plus Essentials and Economy Plus Enhanced Q&A [CONSOLIDATED]

Old Jun 23, 16, 10:33 am
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United Travel Options packages - Economy Plus Enhanced

Economy Plus Essentials

This package offers E​conomy Plus seating and an extra standard checked bag you'll save on these travel perks by purchasing them together.

Economy Plus Enhanced

With this package, you'll receive the Essentials (Economy Plus seating and an extra standard checked bag) plus Premier Access, a United Club℠ trip pass and extra award miles for each passenger on the reservation, at a reduced cost compared to adding these features individually.
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Economy Plus Essentials and Economy Plus Enhanced Q&A [CONSOLIDATED]

Old Nov 4, 15, 7:07 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2008
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 50
Economy Plus Essentials and Economy Plus Enhanced Q&A [CONSOLIDATED]

Backstory: My flight was cancelled today. I went to the United app to rebook, which I did. And then I noticed something unusual.

Under my name on the rebooking page of the mobile app, it said "Economy Plus Essentials."

I thought that was odd. I'm 1K. I have no need for an Economy Plus subscription. Did I inadvertently sign up to a subscription I don't need or want? Or did UA inadvertently register me?

I went back on the website. Searched for "Economy Plus Essentials." Nothing. I looked at my account. No Economy Plus subscription, thank God. Came to FlyerTalk. No search results.

So I googled. And got precisely one hit:

A designer's redesign of United's website to facilitate some big changes.

Here's the link (it's a PDF): http://www.kerrymccrory.com/images/kerryMccrory_United_caseStudies.pdf

If the link is accurate (which some of it must be, since I was listed as an "Economy Plus Essentials" member on the United app), here are a few of the changes coming:

1. Pay with miles for everything on the website, like cash
2. Two different Economy Plus options/subscriptions: Economy Plus Essentials, which includes an extra bag, and Economy Plus Enhanced, which includes extra miles, Premier Access, AND a United Club Pass
3. United Club pass with domestic first

Also, some armchair speculation:

1. The fact that I was listed as "Economy Plus Essentials" makes me wonder if this will be linked to status. And if there are changes, coming too, to MP. On this itinerary, I'm in a premium cabin. Perhaps a "benefit" of 1K going forward is an "Economy Plus Essentials" subscription? What will this mean for others traveling on the same itinerary, though? No more companions in Economy Plus?
2. The strict linking of miles to dollars in the new payment schemes might augur for a rapid and more complete transition of MP earning and redemption linked strictly to spend.

Or not...
gk725 is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:15 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
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Location: Canada
Programs: UA*1K, BA Silver, AC35k
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My guess, spend $1 get 5-11 miles.
Then redeem miles at $0.01 like cash.
rankourabu is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:19 pm
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Location: DEN
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This was interesting:

As we started this project, we began by looking into the flow of booking a flight on UNITED.com. Our researcher noted that we should focus on the kiosk
experience first as that is the main point of access for same day travelers, which accounts for most of UNITEDs business.
Bonehead is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:25 pm
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 1,318
This sounds like a case study or a proposal by an outside vendor -- pure speculation as to whether UA would adopt this. Did UA specifically commission this proposal?
AndyPatterson is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:33 pm
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 202
Not clear

On one hand these observations match the trends. On the other hand, even a very polished web experience does not imply real. I once applied for a job based in a very cogent description. A very embarrassed webmaster explained it was a "practice" effort.

Also, the new management may reconsider some changes that are not yet enacted. Or they may wait for more permanent management.
NJFlyer42 is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:34 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2008
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 50
Originally Posted by AndyPatterson
This sounds like a case study or a proposal by an outside vendor -- pure speculation as to whether UA would adopt this. Did UA specifically commission this proposal?

But then why did I have the branded "Economy Plus Essentials" tagline under my name on the United App?

And why is the only mention of "Economy Plus Essentials" on the entire interwebs in this PDF case study?

Accordingly, it seems likely that (1) this study was commissioned by United; (2) even if the design recommendations are not adopted, it seems clear that some of the policy changes that UA wants to integrate into their IT interfaces have already been made; and (3) this is an instructive document to learn about UA's business, as well as many of the changes that are in the pipeline.

At a minimum, this document, combined with what I already experienced integrated on UA's own platform, seems to suggest that UA is rolling out a new approach to Economy Plus.
gk725 is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:40 pm
formerly known as felinaar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SEA
Programs: UA Plat, AA Gold, AS MVPG, Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond, SPG Gold
Posts: 612
I agree that lots can change between design and implementation. It seems unlikely that a designer would be responsible for choosing what to put in each package (and we don't know if these elements were chosen by him or by the person who assigned the project).

I do think it's likely that this is a real project. My wife has created several portfolios of her work as an architect, both to apply to jobs and to apply for new projects at her current job. It's a standard practice in design-related fields. If some designer wanted to "test" something, they just need a screenshot and a link to a blank PDF. They don't need to manufacture three case studies.

The OP's evidence of the "Economy Plus Essentials" tagline under his reservation suggests that some elements of this proposal are real and there may, in fact, be a slip here. But it would be a reach to say that this suggests a change in benefits. Even if United chooses to flag some customers with this new product, it doesn't preclude them from offering additional benefits they are still entitled to with status.
Scottrick is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 7:46 pm
Join Date: Oct 2011
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I noticed the links mentioned in the PDF work, as do the passwords listed ("thepassword")
abaheti is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 8:29 pm
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Programs: UA 1K, Hilton Diamond, IHG Plat, National Emerald Exec
Posts: 240
I could be (and most likely am) wrong but large parts of this don't pass the sniff test. I do believe that there will be changes to Economy Plus, but logical thought seems to indicate that the will be designed to better market the product to infrequent flyers. I don't believe that the subscription models for E+ have been that successful as they just don't make sense to the flyer who buys tickets infrequently based on cost, and frequent flyers have no use for them.

Economy Plus needs to be more attractive to encourage occasional travelers to actually buy up to it. As it sits now most sales in E+ are likely linked to people who do so simply to have access to a preassigned seat together and this is the only way to do so.

Also I don't see there being free lounge access for 1K's + Domestic First. While I don't completely disagree with the notion of having premium cabin tickets include lounge access, the current capacity levels of the lounges dont support this idea. There are simply too many people in them already to start piling in more travelers.
arctikjon is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 8:38 pm
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Could just be a company that decided to try a case study and picked UA even without a contract. Could just be a company that proposed something or bid on a project, who knows if they got it. If it is real, given how findable this was, including the links, I'd be concerned about whatever NDA they signed with UA if I were them.
abaheti is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 8:52 pm
Join Date: May 2012
Location: ORF, RIC
Programs: UA LT 1K, 3 MM; Marriott Titanium; IHG Platinum
Posts: 6,557
UA wants to make more changes to "MileageMinus" plan? I met a lady today who has flown UA for almost 2 M miles. She was very confused with the current state of the mileage program. I hope that there is not any more significant changes (unless they are the real enhancements.)
Kmxu is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 9:02 pm
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If true, this would be a huge downgrade for Gold and Platinum customers who currently get premier access and bonus miles.
milepig is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 9:05 pm
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: SEA
Posts: 282
For those questioning who this was made by, looks like the guy works for United as a "UX and Front End Dev" according to his resume at:


United Airlines
UX and Front End Dev

At United, I am responsible for multiple facets of the United brand. This includes the United.com website, in-airport kiosks, the android mobile app, and more.

I am leading the charge in dev/design for uniteds online styleguide. My day to day includes designing and implementing code for multiple pages on the United.com site. I also do user research and testing for prototypes and webpage additions. I also maintain the android mobile app and I am the liason between our IT department and creative staff.
A quick search on LinkedIn also "verifies" this:
smn is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 9:11 pm
Join Date: Jan 2008
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 246
Took a look at the app, and there's definitely references to Economy Plus Essentials and Economy Plus Enhanced. The Enhanced one is mentioned in the context of a club pass, so it sounds like this is happening.

Edit: Searching for "Economy Plus Enhanced" brings up this survey from April, which seems relevant: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...e-upsells.html

Last edited by mjg59; Nov 4, 15 at 9:13 pm Reason: Extra information
mjg59 is offline  
Old Nov 4, 15, 9:14 pm
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Its pretty much a straight copy off of what AA has been doing for a while.

Pretty lousy quality control that the test code got into production but its par for the course.
entropy is offline  

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