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UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

Phoenix, Arizona
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UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

Just when I was finally getting my head around Polaris (as the hard product is being transitioned in),and Basic Economy, it sounds like UA might be about to add something new.

An unnamed UA employee just returned from training, and part of the session was regarding the roll out of a new cabin class. Much is yet to be decided, such as the name, the routes and even exactly which ships will get this new cabin class.

Basically, it *seems* slated for TATL and TPAC routes.

Now, on international routes, we have (on updated planes), 3 Cabin Classes: Polaris, the E+ and E, for the rest of the plane.

This new Cabin Class would be between Polaris and E+. The seating was described as being similar to the old, non-lie-flats, from Business Class. Separate seats, but not in a pod. Angled recline with adjustable footrest. Configuration would depend on plane, but this person experienced a 3-4-3 layout.

While similar to the old Business Class seats, these would be new, and not recycled.

Will be interested to see how this shakes out, and also what it is named. Hope that “Economy” is not in it, say “Economy++,” or anything similar. Too many flavors of “Economy” already, IMHO.

Hunt

PS - If there is an existing thread in this, I could not find it, so apologize, if already reported.

11 replies to this topic
QQ2
New York City, New...
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1. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

I thought I might have been having hallucinations when I was thinking about this last night, as there has been so much written here recently about econ, econ+,econ-, econ semi-, etc., but I think I may have been offered this, or at least I read about it when browsing flights for Dublin last week. My distinct impression,from what I read on United site, was of something akin to old business class on BA, Pan Am, etc and traditional first class on US domestic flights..-- big comfy seats with generous leg room. Don't know if I'll be flying this anytime soon, but I was very happy to read it as I have not been particularly happy with any "lie flat" seats I have flown in (I don't lie down and find them uncomfortable for sitting), nor have I been impressed with any US carrier's econ+.

What it sounds like to me is that they have now come full circle -- after eliminating international first class and going with enhanced business class, US carriers have now so enhanced business that it has become first class, and they are now adding an old style business class. What will happen with econ+ I don't know. I had heard that some US carriers were thinking of upgrading their international econ+ to bring up to standards of foreign carriers. Can't imagine United would add this business class type seat AND enhanced econ+. I wouldn't mind a bit if they just "enhanced" regular coach back to what it used to be (3 or 4 more inches of pitch) and brought us really full circle back to first, business and coach.

Maryland
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2. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

Some discussion from yesterday.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i10…

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

QQ2,

Similar sentiments to mine.

I found the old BC angled-flat states to be more comfortable, than the lie-flats, and now the Polaris. While I do like pods, only the UA Global First w/ Polaris soft product has impressed me.

The UA employee used most of the descriptors, that you and I have, basically describing a new generation of the “old” International BC angle-flats.

And UA, please do not name this “Economy ANYTHING. Too many Economies now. At least call it “Polaris Minus... “ or similar.

More to come, as it leaks,

Hunt

QQ2
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4. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

I read that thread linked in #2 last night, thinking it might be about what I had seen, but when I read it I got the impressiion he was talking about another in one way or another restricted econ fare,not what I had read on United site. At least my recollection,and I could be hallucinating, was of something better than the many existing classes of coach, though I can't remember anything about specific seat pitch or width, I did come away with an impression of something bigger and better seat wise, and I wouldn't associate that with a fee for a checked bag on an international flight.

Boy booking a flight is getting so complicated.

QQ2
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5. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

Actually, both United and Delta had this business type class when they first started flying internationally in a big way in the 80s and 90s -- in part I assume because they had acquired PanAM planes that had this arrangement and this was what passengers were accustomed to. Big comfy leather chairs with extra pitch and width plus footrests.Don't recall worrying about people ahead of me reclining too much. I flew it on Delta and found it very comfortable for transatlantic flights. Once when flying to Asia in first class on United I took a look at their business class, which was very similar to Delta's, and decided that would have been just fine for me(but had been flying on miles on that flight and mileage then required for 1st was so low I had found it irresistible).

But over time they eliminated it and went with one "upper" class.

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6. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

>>nor have I been impressed with any US carrier's econ+.<<

I fly UAL rarely, mostly when going to ORD, but have been very happy with their Economy Plus (if I'm remembering the designation right) for a 3 hour flight. It wasn't FC but the seats were definitely in the front 1/3 rd of the plane.

BTW, I'm sure Hunt will know exactly where I was sitting.

DL pretty much does the same thing with Delta One, FC, Comfort Plus, Main Cabin, Economy and Basic Economy. Granted the last 3 are generally the same seats with a different fare class attached but now we're just wading through the minutia but point still made.

Remember when there were only 2 choices, first and coach?

Actually I think there was another class of coach back then at the rear of the plane but you would have to walk through a haze to find it. ;)

Edited: 07 June 2018, 00:52
QQ2
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7. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

In the olden days I think while there wasn't as much going on in econ, there were some things. Sometime in the 70s i was booking a flight from SFO to SEA and was told (this was pre internet booking) the lowest fare was "K class," where I would sit at the back of the plane and would not get a meal. I booked it as was only a two hr or so flight and I didn't care about meal. I don't recall anything being much different than regular coach and think I was also even offered a meal. This was in pre-deregulation days where there wasn't much competition on fares, no advance purchase nonrefundable stuff, but airlines were still trying different legal ways to generate some interest.

In the 70s, when airlines were flying new 747s coast to coast, there were just two classes - 1st and coach - as in older planes. Some airlines (like United) started to use the separate forward coach cabin as a "quiet zone," -- no movie, no smoking, probably no children, and certainly no extra cost. Then around 1980 or thereabouts someone got the idea this physically separate section could be used to produce more revenue by changing it into a new "business class" and that was the end of the quiet zone.

It is my understanding the original 767s were designed w/just 2 classes -- a pretty small first class (maybe 18 or so seats) and a large coach section, the assumption being we were headed to a classless -- or one class -- society & few people would want 1st class anymore. That is how the first 767s I flew were -- small 1st class section and big coach section, but with the kind of comfort in coach you don't get now unless you pay more -- 34-36 in. pitch, maybe an inch or two more in width. Still, even then I recall some airlines (American in particular) stuffing more rows in coach than other airlines (e.g., United). So changes were on the horizon.

Way back in in prehistoric times when I was just out of college one of my jobs involved making travel arrangements for some of my colleagues in the SF office of a NY investment banking firm. This was around the time widebodies were just being introduced but there were still a lot of single aisle aircraft around.In any event, we always booked coach. Generally, the only person in a company who flew 1st was the CEO and that was a sort of status entitlement thing. Since the people I was booking for flew a lot, it wasn't unheard of for them to be upgraded to 1st class at the gate once in a while because I assume they were considered valued customers (this was still about 10 years before ff plans were introduced) and though they appreciated the upgrades, they were content w/coach.. Nobody complained or groaned about having to fly coach the way they do today. I don't know if that's because coach wasn't really that bad then or because people now have become so obsessed with status. Airlines also had other interesting ways of showing their appreciation. One day we were just sitting in the office when in came a rugged looking American pilot and a lovely American flight attendant, both in full uniform, to thank my most senior boss for his business and present him with an official AA coffee mug!

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8. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

>>> I don't know if that's because coach wasn't really that bad then or because people now have become so obsessed with status.<<<

Both - IMO - which takes you full circle to an earlier thought. In terms of cabin class (not fare types) there used to be three - First, Business and Economy. Today there are predominently three on international travel - Business, Premium (E+ MCE etc) and Economy. The shift could therefor be nothing more than a marketing strategy ramping up the volume of custom in "First" just by calling it Business. Workers being sent on company business who may not have reasonably been able to demand a seat in First class, can stick their neck out for a business class cabin .

And on the original topic, didn't UA announce (or introduce) a proper Premium cabin 46" x 22" seating akin to Norwegian, BA and the new offering by AA launched last year? Perhaps they've just been on the training for that.

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

United is adding (real) Premium Economy on long haul aircraft from later this year. It'll be called Premium Plus (P+). It will be on the new delivery 787-10 (two late 2018) and the first retrofitted aircraft will be 777-200ER, retrofitted at the same time as Polaris.

But that leaked out in January so it's not really news.

https:/…

Brisbane, Australia
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10. Re: UA Adding a New Cabin Class?

Isn't this just what other airlines call Premium Economy?

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