United announces Premium Economy cabin – United Premium Plus

With more and more airlines introducing a true Premium Economy product on long haul flights, between ever tighter economy cabins and fully flat beds in Business Class, United Airlines announced their own offering, called United Premium Plus. Given their track record of rolling out new products (cough… Polaris), I wouldn’t hold my breath!

The gap between Economy Class with ever tighter seats and Business Class with fully flat beds on long-haul flights has become bigger and airlines from United partners like Lufthansa or Singapore Airlines to US competitors Delta and American Airlines rolled out their own Premium Economy products. 
United so far had their “fake” Premium Economy cabin – Economy Plus – which offered more legroom, but the same seat and service. To better compete, United has now announced their own full Premium Economy product, called Premium Plus. Details are scant and propose a bigger seat, with food served on china, free alcoholic drinks and amenity kits. It comes with a fairly generic photo that suggest it will be very similar to American Airlines Premium Economy or Delta Premium Economy. 

DL Premium Select, photo courtesy of Delta

The roll-out is supposed to start in 2018, but I’m not holding my breath: United announced the roll-out of their new Business Class Polaris 18 months ago to replace both their old Business and First Class products, yet has only installed the new seats in  a handful of planes, with many years to go until you’ll find a consistent product across the fleet. Based on this track record, I wouldn’t expect to fly in the comfort of Premium Plus anytime soon on more than a few planes.

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