Skift Take

A premium economy cabin on United's domestic fleet could give it a leg up on competitors in terms of both product and revenue. But can it actually execute?

Series: Business of Loyalty

Travel Loyalty News

The Skift Business of Loyalty covers the world of hotel, airline, and other consumer loyalty programs in the travel industry. Read more coverage of loyalty here.

Lost in the outrage over a puppy that died on a United Airlines flight last week was a big slice of news on the carrier’s plans for its domestic cabin configurations. According to Skift’s Brian Sumers, the airline is thinking about expanding its premium economy product — which is only officially planned for some international routes — to the domestic sector.

Creative ways to divide passenger cabins have turned into a boon for airlines over the past few years. In addition to premium economy revenue bumps, the industry has aggressively rolled out basic economy cabins to trim back on amenities to save additional cash. Rolling out premium economy cabins into new markets seems to be a logical next step in that plan.

As to whether United actually follows through with its plans, the jury is still out. Many think that the airline’s plan to integrate Polaris premium cabins came prematurely, setting passengers up for disappointment and the carrier for embarrassment. As a result of that black eye, United’s strategy for introducing domestic premium economy may end up being more measured.

— Grant Martin

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

JetBlue’s Popular Mint Business Class Disrupted All of Its Rivals: No U.S. airline has disrupted the premium market recently more than JetBlue Airways, the first carrier to bring (somewhat) affordable lie-flat seats to domestic routes.

Why Your Airline Award Flight Is (Often) Not Exactly Free: If you book an award ticket on an airline, is it really free? That question is more complicated than it may seem. If you earn miles and points the old-fashioned way, by flying, the answer is probably yes. You’ll fly free sometimes as an airline thanks you for your loyalty. But if you generate miles via credit cards, as many travel-savvy spenders do, your flights aren’t exactly free.

InterContinental Hotels Is Buying a 51 Percent Stake in Regent Hotels for $39 Million: It looks like we finally have our answer as to which “asset light, small luxury brand company or companies with a strong customer proposition, [and] strong owner proposition” InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is buying.

Lufthansa Will Cut Berlin-New York Route Only Months After Its Launch: Germany’s biggest airline is ending services between Berlin and New York, and it has nothing to do with tariffs, trade wars, or Donald Trump.

Virgin Atlantic Is Struggling to Cope With Low-Cost Competition: Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. posted a loss last year as the weak pound hurt demand for flights from the UK and made it tougher for the carrier to compete with long-haul discounters led by Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA.

Cathay Pacific Gets a Boost From Business Class Revival: Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is finally seeing some respite from its earnings woes.

Trump Hotels Looks to Manage Other Brands’ Properties After Its Own Flags Come Down: Trump Hotels is looking to expand beyond its regular business to managing lodging properties under brands other than its own. The first step in that direction may be running a hotel linked to the president’s son-in-law.

Lufthansa Is Very Worried About Rivals’ Plans in Germany: Deutsche Lufthansa AG cashed in on the collapse of national rival Air Berlin Plc last year, but warned that 2018 will be a whole lot tougher as foreign competitors target the German market.

SpiceJet Undertakes Its Largest Expansion in Bid to Take Share From Indigo: One of India’s fastest-growing airlines has signed a $12.5 billion deal with CFM International Inc. for engines and a 10-year services contract for an incoming fleet of more than 150 Boeing Co. 737 MAX aircraft.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: ihg, loyalty, rewards, united airlines

Photo credit: United Airlines is considering introducing premium economy on domestic flights. United Airlines

Up Next

Loading next stories