January 19, 2018
United Adding Premium Economy in 2018
International airlines have had Premium Economy for years at this point. You can read my Air France 777-300 Premium Economy report as an example. US carriers have only recently begun to embrace the product. Premium Economy is a separate class between Economy and Business. The seats resemble what you’ll find on domestic First Class flights, food is slightly better than Economy Class, and customers get amenity kits.
American and Delta have already started flying international Premium Economy configured planes and are installing the seats on more aircraft. We now have word that United will offer Premium Economy on select aircraft starting later this year.
A newsletter distributed to United employees indicates the airline is calling the new product “United Premium Plus.” I really wish they’d just stick to calling it Premium Economy. There’s enough confusion as it is in the airline industry. United says the seats will be more spacious than Economy and include meals served on china, free alcohol, a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow, and an amenity kit.
I’m glad to see United installing these seats. Airlines around the world earn a healthy price premium for Premium Economy, and the seats are much more comfortable than Economy. Typically for a few hundred extra dollars, passengers aren’t packed like sardines in the back of the plane and at least have enough room to move around and stretch a bit.