The rumors have finally been confirmed: United will expand its premium transcontinental service to flights between Boston and San Francisco on July 01, 2017. Even better, United will spruce up business class food and offer free hot meals in EconomyPlus on all premium transcon routes.
United Premium Transcontinental Service Expands to BOS-SFO
We all expected this announcement–I first wrote about exclusive lie-flat seating in business class between Boston and San Francisco back in March. Although it took months to make the announcement official, it was clear to anyone booking a premium cabin seat between SFO-BOS that all flights would feature lie-flat beds starting in July.
United Premium Transcontinental Service Business Class Distinctions
Currently, United considers the following routes as part of it “premium transcontinental service” network:
- San Francisco ⇄ Boston
- San Francisco ⇄ Newark
- Los Angeles ⇄ Newark
United will maintain or improve the business class soft product in the following ways:
- 180 degree flat-bed seats on all flights
- Saks Fifth Avenue duvet and pillow
- New amenity kits designed by Saks that feature product from Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa
- A featured cocktail, the Moscow Mule by Crafthouse Cocktails
- Hot towel service after take-off and prior to landing
- Seasonally refreshed menus, developed in partnership with The Trotter Project
- Sample dishes include:
- pumpernickel and goat cheese crostini with mango relish and smoked sea salt
- savory pan roasted chicken with kale pesto
- orzo with grilled artichokes and sautéed leaks
- braised short ribs with creamy goat cheese grits
- Sample dishes include:
- United Polaris style dessert menu (not just ice cream sundaes, but cakes/pastries/cookies)
- Before arrival, snacks such as Boulder Canyon potato chips and Madik’s almonds
What’s new? The Moscow Mule, refreshed menu items, Polaris-style dessert menu, and pre-arrival snack basket. Those are all notable improvements.
Elites Will Lose Complimentary Upgrades on BOS-SFO Route
Not surprisingly, United will no longer offer MileagePlus elite members complimentary spacer available upgrades on the new premium route.
As of May 31, 2017: Flights between Boston and San Francisco departing on or after July 1, 2017, will no longer be eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades or instant upgrades.
United Premium Transcontinental Service EconomyPlus Distinctions
Good news for EconomyPlus passengers: United will be serving complimentary hot meals. Delta and American have both recently introduced free cold meals in economy class on premium transcon routes (Delta has gone even further).
United will only serve complimentary meals to those seated in EconomyPlus, but the meal will be like an international flight. The meal will include a hot fresh entrée, dessert and fruit, a pre-arrival snack and alcoholic beverages.
Sample menu selections include:
- savory roasted chicken with a smoked barbecue sauce
- butternut squash tortellini with sage cream sauce
Dessert options will include:
- chocolate brownie
- fresh seasonal fruit
An interesting comment from Mark Krolick, United’s vice president of marketing–
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. This enhancement to Economy Plus is our first step toward a premium Economy offering for our customers.
I’ll discuss the implications of that quote later, but it is the clearest sign yet that United is considering a true premium economy cabin rather than just its current economy cabin with extra legroom.
“p.s.” Gone, but No “United Coast”
I recently wrote about “United Coast” being rumored to replace the premium service (p.s.) brand on premium transcontinental routes. There is no indication that “United Coast” will be used but today’s announcements eradicates the p.s. name. For now, premium transcon service is simply called “Premium Transcontinental Service”.
> Read More: Leak: “United Coast” to Replace p.s. Premium Service
Great news for travelers in Boston and United passengers who often fly in EconomyPlus instead of business. The introduction of a free meal in EconomyPlus was likely a necessary competitive reality, but the hot meal on United is a nice touch when Delta and American both only offer cold sandwiches.
As previously discussed, The addition of premium service between BOS and SFO was also likely necessary with fierce competition from JetBlue and Delta. Today’s announcement again underscores the influence of President Scott Kirby’s commitment to compete on domestic routes. The carrier has wisely abandoned the Smisek-era strategy of running from competition rather than facing it.