United Airlines says it has become the first and only airline to offer premium-cabin, flat-bed seats on every scheduled transcontinental flight between New York JFK and San Francisco and between New York JFK and Los Angeles.
The airline has completed an extensive refurbishment of the 15 Boeing 757-200 jets it uses to fly its ‘p.s.’ premium-service transcontinental routes.
United’s claim comes amid a welter of confusing claims from different airlines about upgrades to the aircraft they use to operate their prime transcontinental routes. All the claims are centered on the introduction of flat-bed seats in premium-class cabins.
The revamped p.s. Boeing 757-200s operating in United’s prime transcon markets offer 28 180-degree-recline United BusinessFirst seats, offering up to 6 feet 4 inches of sleeping space and more room for storage; 42 extra-legroom United Economy Plus seats; and 72 United Economy seats.
Designed to give customers an experience comparable to long-haul international flights, United’s refurbished p.s. aircraft also offer:
● Personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat, with 15.4-inch monitors in United BusinessFirst and 9-inch monitors in United Economy offering hundreds of movies and television shows, plus other entertainment options;
● Power outlets and USB ports at every seat;
● Two additional inches of legroom in United Economy Plus, compared to Economy Plus legroom on pre-renovation p.s. service;
● Multi-course meals in United BusinessFirst on most flights; and
● Wine selections recommended by Doug Frost, United’s Master Sommelier and Master of Wine, including half bottles of premium wines for purchase in United Economy.
United’s claim to be the “first and only” airline to offer flat-bed seats in its premium-class cabins on every New York JFK-Los Angeles and JFK-San Francisco transcontinental flight may well be correct, but United Airlines will not long remain the only carrier to offer flat-bed seats in these two U.S. transcontinental trunk markets.
Chicago-based United Airlines has completed the refurbishment of its p.s. fleet just weeks before two of its three main rivals introduce new aircraft on to the same routes.
In January, both American Airlines and JetBlue Airways will introduce on to the same JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO routes new Airbus A321 jets. each carrier’s A321s are configured with flat-bed seats in their premium-class cabins.
JetBlue Airways will even offer four suites with sliding doors in each of its premium-class cabins, while American is configuring each of the 14 A321s it will use for its trunk transcontinental services to have just 102 seats.
Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines ‒ United’s third main rival on transcontinental routes ‒ is working to refurbish (with flat-bed seats in their premium-class cabins) all the Boeing 757s it uses to operate transcontinental flights from New York JFK to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
United says it is also making other investments to enhance its customers’ experience in the air and on the ground. These include:
● Premium-cabin, flat-bed seats on every scheduled long-haul international flight from the continental United States;
● Satellite-fed Wi-Fi on more than 130 aircraft so far, with nearly all of United’s mainline fleet outfitted with Wi-Fi by the end of 2014;
● A new mobile application for the iOS 7 platform, offering customers new features, better functionality and an improved touch-friendly design;
● Live television on more than 200 aircraft, the world’s largest fleet of aircraft with live television (according to United); and
● Significantly upgraded United Club lounges in Chicago O’Hare Terminal 2, Seattle and San Diego, with improved amenities, modern interiors, more power outlets and complimentary snacks and Wi-Fi.