MIAMI — United Airlines has announced today its upping the ante on its transcontinental service, and will also add Boston-San Francisco to its Premium Transcontinental route network starting on July 1st.
The upgrade marks United’s most significant change to its Transcontinental product since the introduction of its P.S. in 2003, a sub-brand which now has been retired.
The Chicago-based carrier already offers a premium service on flights from Newark to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The new in-flight soft product is inspired by United’s Polaris International Business Class product. In addition to the existing 180-degree lie-flat seat, business class passengers will enjoy an upgraded meal and beverage service. According to the airline, it will serve hipster favorite Moscow Mule cocktails and seasonally refreshed menus developed in partnership with The Trotter Project.
The culinary offer is complemented with amenity kits, duvets and pillows provided by Saks Fifth Avenue. The hard product based on the B/E Diamond seats on the domestic dedicated transcontinental 777-200 and 757 fleets will not be replaced with the airline’s new Polaris cabin.
“We routinely see high demand for travel between our coasts and we want to provide the same level of quality typically reserved for international routes – this includes all flat-bed seating in business class as well as an industry-leading dining experience for customers in Economy Plus,” said Mark Krolick, United’s vice president of marketing.
Leapfrogging American Airlines and Delta, for those passengers in Economy Plus, United will also offer hot meals, including an entrée, dessert and fruit, as well as a pre-arrival snack and alcoholic beverages, all free of charge. To date, Hawaiian Airlines is the sole US carrier that offers hot meals domestically in Economy class, albeit not within the contiguous 48 states.
“Customers traveling in Economy Plus will receive the industry’s best economy cabin dining experience,” Krolick added. “Flying between Boston or the New York area and the west coast can be akin to flying from the east coast to Europe, and we want to provide a satisfying and unparalleled meal in our Economy cabin.”
The move of United Airline to enhance its transcontinental domestic routes service is following in the path led by competitors American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue.
JetBlue has been aggressive with the introduction of its Mint premium product on West Coast routes, and not only from its home base in New York, but also from Boston, and to some transcontinental routes from Seattle, San Diego and Las Vegas and from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In response, Delta has also expanded its domestic premium class offer to include it in its Washington Reagan – Los Angeles route, and starting in June, from Boston to San Francisco.