United to introduce Premium Economy on long haul flights

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United Airlines has finally given in to the pressure from Delta and American, never mind Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Air France, along with half a dozen other Asian airlines, as well as Qantas and Air New Zealand. It will after seemingly dragging its heels, finally introduce Premium Economy seating on long haul services during 2018-20.

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United’s new seat class, pictured here will offer upgraded catering, wider seats with plenty of leg room and typically on a 777 be laid out as a 2-4-2 configuration. It’s expected that around 40 standard economy seats will be removed to make way for the Premium Economy zone which we be labelled as Premium Plus.

PE on aircraft is highly profitable and done properly is a great way to fly in greater comfort – fares are usually only 20-40% more than economy, but half that of business seats.

However none of the US airlines offers the quality and standards of European PE classes. Virgin Atlantic has seats 22″ wide with 40″ pitch whereas AA and Delta (and United) are barely 19″ and 38″ respectively. They’re closer to the US domestic ‘first class’.

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