Elite loyalty members of United's MileagePlus program will be able to get free upgrades to international premium economy cabins this summer as the product fully rolls out.
In the race to launch grand-scale international premium economy cabins, United Airlines has decidedly been in third place among the big three legacy carriers. But last week we learned that the airline is trailing less than we originally thought.
Later this month, the company plans to launch its first premium economy flights on an updated Boeing 777-200 — the carrier’s international workhorse.
While a critical mass of aircraft are upgraded with the cabin, premium economy will initially be filed and booked as standard economy plus — so many elite passengers will be able to snag the seats for free. Later, like American, the cabin will turn into its own distinct product (and pricing tier).
Short term, this means that a handful of United frequent flyers will get some free micro-upgrades to Economy Plus this summer. And in the long term, travelers looking to get out of the doldrums of economy without the high cost of business class will soon have an intermediate solution to look forward to.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
Tomato Juice Is Back on United Airlines Flights, But It’s Still Not Popular: In May, United Airlines removed tomato juice from its flights, despite anecdotal evidence suggesting passengers who don’t ordinarily drink the stuff crave it in the air because it’s high in salt content and rich in umami.
InterContinental Hotels’ New Upscale Conversion Brand Is Called Voco: IHG has revealed the name for its new upscale conversion brand as well as its first signing.
Letting Troubled South African Airways Go Bust Isn’t So Simple: Here’s Why: One expert called South African Airways a “vanity project.” That’s probably accurate, because the carrier has lost money for six consecutive years. But the airline will survive, because the government wants it to.
United Plans New App But Is Weighing ‘Creepy’ Versus ‘Personalized’: It only takes 25 minutes for virtual chaos to ensue when any kind of consumer-facing problem arises at an airline, and not a single second is wasted getting the fix, according to Linda Jojo, executive vice president of technology and chief digital officer at United Airlines, who spoke at the inaugural Skift Tech Forum Tuesday in Santa Clara, California.
Gatwick Airport Is Spending Big to Try to Close the Gap With Heathrow: London’s Gatwick airport plans to spend 1.11 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) on expanding the capacity of its two terminals by seven million passengers within five years.
Ryanair Will Add a Base Near London Despite Strong Brexit Opposition: When a company invests overseas, the move is usually accompanied by declarations of enthusiasm about the host nation’s economy. Not so at Ryanair Holdings Plc.
Delta Is Ending Flights to Hong Kong: Delta has announced that they’ll be ending flights to Hong Kong as of October 4, 2018. Presently the airline operates Boeing 777 flights six times weekly between Seattle and Hong Kong, which is their only flight to Hong Kong.
‘Heck, Yeah, We Took It’: Business-Class Flyers Are Filching All That Fancy Airline Swag: The more extravagant the amenities, the harder it is for carriers to stop passengers walking off with duvets, memory-foam pillows, and silverware.
Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.
Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch
Photo credit: United's International premium economy cabins are slated to go into service in June of 2018. United Airlines / United Airlines