May 31, 2017
United Transcon: Free Hot Meals in Economy+, Boston Expansion, Business Enhancements

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United sent an email to customers this morning with some exciting news regarding its transcontinental flights. United’s Boston-San Francisco route will be getting premium transcontinental service beginning July 1, 2017, food offerings in business class on all premium transcontinental routes will be improving, and passengers in Economy Plus will be getting free hot food and alcohol!

 

Premium Transcontinental Business Class

United’s current premium transcontinental routes are Newark (EWR)-San Francisco (SFO)/ Los Angeles (LAX). We first reported back in March that new lie flat seats were coming to the Boston(BOS)-San Francisco(SFO) route. This Boston route will finally getting the premium transcon designation come July 1. Note that United elite flyers are not eligible for complimentary upgrades on these routes, unless applying an upgrade certificate or upgrading with points. Business class service on these routes will have the following:


  • 180 degree lie-flat seats
  • Saks Fifth Avenue duvet, pillow, and amenity kits
  • Moscow Mule cocktail accompanied with a candied ginger skewer and lime wedge
  • Hot towel service after take-off and prior to landing
  • Seasonally refreshed menus
  • United Polaris inspired dessert menu
  • Snacks like potato chips and almonds served prior to arrival
  • Access to United Club lounges


Premium Transcontinental Economy Plus

United’s expanded Economy Plus service on these routes will begin on July 1. While United does charge a price premium for Economy Plus seats, customers with elite status receive access for free! They’ll include the following:


  • Complimentary hot fresh entrée, dessert, and fruit
  • Pre-arrival snack
  • Alcoholic beverages

The enhancements to business class are nice but I wouldn’t say they’re anything to get super exciting about. These routes already had lie-flat seats, which are the most important aspect of long flights for me. United’s basically throwing in a free Moscow Mule and some better desserts on these routes. Ultimately, we have JetBlue Mint to thank for ramping up the competition on these routes in general. JetBlue’s superior product and cheaper prices are forcing legacy carriers to somewhat compete for premium customers on these routes.



The biggest changes are coming to Economy Plus. American Airlines and Delta began offering free cold meals on these routes a few months ago. It looks like United’s finally playing catch up and offering an ever better product-free hot meals! These all look like good changes for premium flyers on these routes, though I’m waiting to see what the hot meal service in Economy Plus actually looks like. I fly between BOS-SFO a few times a year with United so it’s nice to see that route finally getting a premium designation, though I am a bit bummed at no longer being able to get free upgrades based on my elite status.

 

Images Courtesy of United

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