How United Is Going After The Business Traveler With Premium Cabins

United Airlines recently revamped its service between London and New York/Newark with reconfigured Boeing 767-300ERs. The new interior features 46 United Polaris business class seats. However, the airline is also focusing its attention on other business segments with its unique United Premium Plus cabin.

United Premium Plus Cabin
The Premium Plus cabin caters for emerging business markets that United have identified. Photo: United Airlines

This cabin is solely dedicated to holding the aircraft’s 22 United Premium Plus seats. The area is situated at the wing, giving the airline’s total premium seating around half of the plane’s capacity. This move is an example of United’s renewed approach to customer service and its focus on attending to emerging markets. 

Emerging markets

Simple Flying had the honor of receiving a tour of one the new 767 cabins at London Heathrow. Here, United’s Managing Director Sales for U.K. and Ireland, Bob Schumacher spoke of his firm’s new spirit. The director spoke about the airline’s recognition of growing markets, especially within small to medium sized enterprises.

“We have watched the evolution of the business traveler. They want to travel somewhat better than perhaps they do on their leisure travel,” Schumacher said.

“There’s a good proportion of SMEs finding their feet, wanting their employees to travel comfortable and be well served. We need to have a cabin such as this.”

United's Bob Schumacher
Managing Director Sales for U.K. and Ireland, Bob Schumacher is excited about United’s new direction. Photo: United Airlines.

Comfortable resolution

Schumacher described how the aircraft’s Premium Plus cabin provides for the increased desire for premium economy seats.

“As we become more and more of an international carrier, we need to have a cabin that fits the market place,” he shared.

“We have come with a cabin that is intimate, we don’t want to overload on this cabin because it’s quite exclusive. We are very proud of this, we wanted this years ago.”

Premium Plus was implemented to provide greater comfort with more space and added benefits. Those purchasing these seats are provided with an amenity kit. This pack contains bedding provided by Saks Fifth Avenue and skincare products supplied by Sunday Riley. Travelers on these seats will also receive Premier Access check-in, priority boarding and complimentary checked bags.

Boarding United Boeing 767-300ER
Simple Flying had the opportunity to check out the new cabin on United Boeing 767-300ER earlier this week. Photo: Simple Flying/Sumit Rehal

A new approach

Additionally, all 90,000 of United’s employees have undergone training to ensure the airline is ‘safe, caring, dependable and efficient.’ Schumacher concluded that these revisions summarize United’s joint mentality heading into 2020. 

“This is emblematic of the new United. We are are not only dealing with the hardware but with the software too,” Schumacher evaluated.

“All United employees have been through a customer service revamp. All of our staff have completed ‘core4’ service training. Any check we make has to be in accordance with these principles.”

These reconfigured 767s already serve United’s five daily flights between London Heathrow and Newark. However, the carrier will also be expanding this configuration to flights from London to Chicago in November.

The airline’s Denver route is due to switch from a seasonal to continued service from November 1st. Subsequently, these flights will use the reformatted aircraft in the near future. Services to the Pacific coast are also due to follow with this configuration as United continues to upgrade its operations.

These movements display United’s ambition heading into the next decade as it seeks a strong start in 2020. The airline has already made good progress with the roll-out of the Polaris business class service. Therefore, United will be striving to ensure that the response to its greater attention to Premium Plus seating will be just as positive.