Thursday, February 24, 2011

United will keep Economy Plus, unveils new plane livery


United today unveiled the first of its repainted 747s, sporting livery that combines the United name with the Continental globe logo.

Linked from USAToday.com; read the article!
As United and Continental continue to integrate their operations, frequent flyers are holding their breath to see which of each carrier's traditional features will make their way into the new unified airline.

Some changes are unavoidable, because United and Continental have different plane configurations as well as different cultures.  United, for instance, operates its international flights in a three-class configuration--Economy, Business, and First--while Continental has only two: Coach and an upscale business class called BusinessFirst.

One question got answered earlier this week, when United announced that Economy Plus seating will become standard on all of its planes. 

Economy Plus seating was introduced by United in the wake of the Dot Com crash.  Fewer people could get approval to fly First Class, but airlines depended on business travelers to maintain profitability (or at least mitigate losses).  The idea was to remove a few rows of Economy seating and respace about a third of what was left.  The resulting seats were no wider, but they had up to six inches of additional legroom.

Economy Plus seats are free for elite members of United Mileage Plus, and in the wake of the merger, elite members of Continental OnePass have also been able to get them for free upon request.  United sells the remaining seats as upgrades that cost far less than First Class fares.

Beginning in 2012, United will begin rolling out Economy Plus seating on Continental aircraft.  Until then, Continental flyers will have to make due with standard Coach seating (or fly on United planes).



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