Merger Update: Details about our $500M in onboard product improvements

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, Aug 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
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    UA Insider Official Representative

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    Hi Everyone, in the coming months we’ll be sharing many details about the new United – several you really care about. There are still a lot of blanks to fill in, and we appreciate you bearing with us while we lay this all out. Today, I’ll outline for you a number of investments we’re making to our onboard product (we’ll be issuing a press release as well). These particular investments total up to $500 million, and I can assure you, this is just the beginning. Here are some of the highlights:

    • Improved long-haul comfort with more flat-bed seats. In September, we’ll begin installing all-new flat-bed seats in the premium cabins on 26 Boeing 767s – 12 Continental 767-400 aircraft and 14 United 767-300 aircraft (the ones currently in a domestic configuration). These aircraft will also have audio-video on demand and in-seat power from nose to tail. As for our three-cabin 777s, these retrofits are continuing with 17 of 46 aircraft complete and another dozen added to that by year-end. All of these aircraft will have advanced in-flight entertainment in First and Business and on-demand entertainment in Economy. To date, we have more flat-bed seats than any other U.S. airline, with 124 aircraft reconfigured to date and 185 once the 767 and 777 fleets are completed.

    • More Economy Plus, and soon. This fall we’ll also begin installing Economy Plus seating on our Continental mainline aircraft. We aim to have it on 38 Continental aircraft by year end (including some of the 767-400s mentioned above) and plus another 100 by next spring. Once we’re done, we will have Economy Plus on over 850 aircraft – more than any other airline. Worth noting: when installing Economy Plus on the Continental aircraft, we’ll be taking Economy Class seats out and leaving First and Business Class cabins intact.

    • First Class and Economy Plus is coming to all 29 of our United Express Q400s. Enjoy!

    • Channel 9? Roger that. Our Channel 9 air traffic control audio channel will be added to all Continental aircraft equipped with in-flight entertainment (said another way: everything but the 737-500s). The first aircraft to get it will be our renovated Continental 767-400s, which will begin re-entering the fleet this fall.

    • Bigger bins coming to over 150 aircraft. Beginning in March 2012, we’ll nearly double the size of the overhead bins on our 152 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. The larger bins will accommodate a standard 22-inch rolling bag with wheels facing out resulting in increased space of 66 percent. At the same time, we’ll also refresh the interiors of this fleet.

    • Streaming in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi are in the works. We’re currently selecting a vendor to provide streaming video in-flight entertainment option on our 747-400 aircraft, enabling customers to access video options via their Wi-Fi-enabled handheld devices, tablets and laptop computers. This would be in addition to the audio-video on-demand currently offered in First and Business Class. We’re also continuing with our plan to install Wi-Fi on our aircraft. Last March, Continental Airlines signed a letter of intent with LiveTV to install advanced broadband Wi-Fi using Ka-band satellite technology on more than 200 737 and 757 aircraft equipped with DIRECTV. Stay tuned on this front, there’s more to come.

    • Major facelift for p.s. We’ll be doing a complete nose-to-tail renovation of our popular p.s. fleet, which serve the New York Kennedy to San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. When completed in 2013, these aircraft will be in a two-cabin configuration with 26 flat-bed Business Class seats and 114 in Economy. These aircraft will also offer Economy Plus, power ports at every row, on-demand audio and video and Wi-Fi service.
    There’s more on the way, and this is just the beginning. As always, we’ll fill you in once we have the details.

    Scott O’Leary
    Managing Director, Customer Solutions
    United Airlines
     
  2. bmg42000
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    bmg42000 Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update.
     
  3. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update, especially the clarification that E+ on PMCO aircraft will come by removing a row of economy.
     
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  4. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Channel 9 and WiFi, I like.

    The "new" AVOD for E on the 764s and 763s, will they be fee-based like the PMUA AVOD system or free?
     
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  5. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    These are changes that I like to see =) Thank you for keeping us in the loop Scott we appreciate it very much!
     
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  6. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Agreed-as with all the "rumors" :( about the MP program, this is nice to see :)
     
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  7. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    First on Q400's, that's a change I like! (So that's why the installed those unused curtains in the forward section of the Q400 cabins. :) )

    Makes sense since q400s strong in EWR-DCA and as a backup to mainline on BOS-EWR.

    Streaming video on 747 sounds cool, up to this point never flown on UA's 747, but sound like a nice idea.
     
  8. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    Two thumbs up for pretty much everything: Ch 9 (hopefully CO pilots and more UA pilots embrace it), more E+ same F, E+ on CO, streaming entertainment, bigger overheads.

    I'll hold my thoughts on PS. My guess is it will be a pretty tough upgrade now, though it looks like not to really expect any changes for the next year at least.
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Without power on the 744s the streaming media is only a mediocre change. But certainly cheaper than updating all those seats so I can understand why they are doing it.

    Glad to hear that they are removing E- rather than C/F for the E+ install on PMCO aircraft.
     
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  10. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    Interesting that they'll keep going with 3-cabin 777s. I figured they would split them up and make some of them 2-class.

    A few rows of E+ in the CR2s would be nice since they're making a "triumphant" return to IAH.
     
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  11. unityofsaints

    unityofsaints Active Member

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    Channel 9 retained - I love it!
     
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  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Since I have to bring my own power and device, I will continue to plan on bringing my own content as well. More streaming bandwidth for the rest of you ;-)
     
  13. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Right. That goes double on the 14hr LAX/SFO-SYD flight.
     
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  14. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    Some additional coverage by Paul Riegler at ERW:
    United Continental To Invest $500 Million in Lie-Flat Seats, In-Flight Entertainment, and More Overhead Bin Space
    By Paul Riegler
    [​IMG]
    Read the full story »
     
  15. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    That should shut up I mean... appease some people on FT imho.
     
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  16. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    No it will not. They will just find something else to whine about.
     
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  17. Flyer1976
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    They have plenty to whine about from what I can see ...
     
  18. Minnesota Bruin
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    I thiink I like all the changes I see above!
     
  19. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    Out of curiosity, are the 767-400's going to stay with 7 rows of 5 J seats, or move to a 6-across arrangement with UA width seats to add capacity?

    theBOAT
     
  20. carsonheim
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    carsonheim Gold Member

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    good update. Looking forward especially to flat beds on 767s. Hope it's all in place for my HNL trip in October!!! :D (hey, I can dream, can't I???)
     
  21. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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  22. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Agreed and I'm surprised at it, too. Of course, it is only the next dozen are covered in the announcement so a few more could shift. My guess is that they've looked at the destinations where they're going to keep F and have decided that they are going to need the extra aircraft with that config.
    I think I heard that they were keeping a 2-1-2 but I haven't seen a seat map or anything authoritative on it yet.
    Don't hold your breath. The 76Hs that operate to HNL will remain in the old config. Those are the 4 aircraft on the PMCO side that aren't being converted. On the UA side it is all ghetto-birds and domestic config 777s to HNL except for the HNL-NRT route.
     
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  23. Olton Hall
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    Olton Hall Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update Scott. Sounds great.
     
  24. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    Can confirm that it will be 2-1-2 on the 767-400s. Bad news is that they will be removing a lav on each side in the back.

    RE: PS retro fit: This is the J-Project Rumor thread I posted here. Winner on that thread is none other than the Wandering Aramean for predicting the configuration. Congrats!

    It will be interesting to see once the domestic 767s & 777s are done - if Hawaii now becomes Miles + Copay for upgrade instead of UDU for elites. (Hint: Ka-ching, Ka-ching! - good for Reg. Certs I guess.)

    RE E+: I am hoping they won't start cross-fleeting PMCO's 737's & 757's before it is complete. Will make finding the right flight very, very, important. (At least for the this SFO based 1P:()
     
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  25. From NYC
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    Oh Great! It’s not enough to be bombarded by all those UV rays when flying at altitude; soon there’ll be wifi rays inundating us as well!

    (How was that?):)

    Thanks, Scott, for keeping us updated here. Agreed that these are good things, with that note that power outlets for Wifi entertainment flights would be most helpful.
     
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