Quantcast

United’s transition to “new” p.s. flights

United's new p.s business class seats on the SFO-JFK run. (Photo: United Airlines)

United’s new p.s business class seats on the SFO-JFK run. (Photo: United Airlines)

Do you jump on United Airlines p.s. service flights to New York much? If so, take a look at this document produced by United that clearly spells out how it plans to make the transition from the current “old” p.s. service to the “new” p.s. service that debuted last month (covered by The Bay Area Traveler- The BAT- right here.)

Some highlights and new information from the document:

>Prepare for “a mix of aircraft configurations” on the SFO-JFK route as aircraft are taken out of service for their revamps- these can include: two-class internationally configured 757, three-class “old p.s.” 757, or “new p.s.” two-class 757. For a while it is going to be tough to determine exactly which aircraft you’ll get (even on United’s website) until a few days before each flight.

>The transition will last through the end of this year, at which time all 13 Boeing 757 aircraft with new p.s. will be in service.

>New configuration will have a newer, faster version of Gogo inflight internet, and 110v power outlets in all seats (no adapter required).

Are YOU signed up for The BAT? If not, why not? Subscribe to The BAT via e-mail!

>In addition to new seats, these old 757′s are getting new lavatories, flooring, sidewalls, galleys, closets.

>Starting June 6, all flights will operate as 2-class cabins (business and economy), even if you fly on an “old p.s.” plane. Former United First seats in rows 1-3 of non-reconfigured aircraft will be sold as United Business.

>Who gets those first class seats at a business class price? The doc below says, “Seats will be available for advance assignment for the following Mileage Plus Premier members, confirmed in United Business: Global services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum, Premier Gold at any time after booking.” Premier Silver members can ask for one at time of check in.

Here’s a PDF of the United document:

UnitedAirlinesNewPSclass

Have you flown on a newly configured p.s. 757 yet? How was it? If not, what do you think about the new configuration? How will it compare to Virgin, Delta, JetBlue and American? Which one do you prefer on the SFO-JFK run? Please leave your comments below. 

-Chris McGinnis

***

Are YOU signed up for The BAT? If not, why not? Subscribe to The BAT via e-mail!

Catching up on Bay Area Travel News (March 3, 2013)

UnitedBizClass

Big seat with a big smile from London to SFO in United Business Class last summer (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

LIE-FLAT SEATS ON UAL. United said this week that 87% of its international fleet now has true lie-flat business class seating, and it should reach 100% lie-flat seats by the end of March—beating out competitors in the race to all-flat biz class. Hooray for that! I think United’s new business class seats are some of the best out there—comfortable, roomy, excellent entertainment, plenty of room (and power) to get work done. What do you think?

IMPROVING ON-TIME PERFORMANCE. After a year of performance issues, United says that it’s improving, especially here by the Bay. As a matter of fact, employees received $100 bonuses when more than 80% of United flights (domestic and international) clocked in on time during February. Among United hubs, Cleveland performed best during February at 87%. SFO came in second at 83%. (So do you credit United… or Mother Nature? In February, we enjoyed record dry, non-foggy conditions in Northern California.)

New configuration for United PS 757's between SFO and JFK.

New configuration for United P.S. 757′s between SFO and JFK.

NEW PS FLIGHTS COMING TO SFO-JFK. After many fits and starts, it now seems that United’s newly configured PS flights may take off from SFO starting in June (at least according to the UAL website—PR is not committing to a date yet). The newly configured 757s will have 28 lie flat business class seats, 48 Economy Plus seats and 66 standard coach seats. The currently shabby-yet-comfortable P.S. 757 fleet offers only Economy Plus seats, which will be a big loss for non-Elite level flyers who’ve enjoyed the extra space at no extra cost.

DOUBLE POINTS ON SOUTHWEST. Sign up for Southwest’s double-tier-qualifying points promo and you’ll get 12 points (vs just six) on its cheapest fares, 20 points on its standard “anytime” fares and 24 points on business select fares. The promo is good for flights all the way through May 15! This is a no brainer, so get registered now.

SAS Airbus A340 (Drewski2112)

SAS Airbus A340 (Drewski2112)

SAS COMING TO SFO. Scandinavian Star Alliance partner SAS kicks off new nonstops between SFO and its main hub at Copenhagen on April 8. The 11-hour-20-minute flight using an Airbus A340 will depart SFO six days a week (not on Tuesdays). It offers angled lie-flat biz class, premium economy and standard economy seats (see map). Current coach fares are as low as $813 round trip in April. To celebrate the arrival of a new carrier, San Francisco International is sponsoring a free ticket sweepstakes on Facebook. Have you flown SAS lately? How was it? Please leave your comments below. 

Amex "black" card.

Amex “black” card.

NEW AMEX “CENTURION” LOUNGE AT LAS. American Express told The BAT that it is “experimenting” with a new airport lounge concept for its super-spendy “black card” or Centurion cardmembers at Las Vegas McCarran Airport. The new Centurion Lounge is located in next to gate D4 in Concourse D (the one that floats between Terminals 1 and 3) used primarily by United, Delta and American. AMEX says that lounge guests enjoy dishes prepared by a celeb chef (like: polenta waffles with pumpkin compote,  or roast chicken with baby potatoes, shallots, and rosemary) and specialty cocktails prepared by a “mixologist.” Guests also enjoy free wi-fi and shower suites. While Centurion cardholders get in for free, any AMEX cardholder can pay a $50 fee to enter. Pay-to-play lounges are becoming de rigueur at McCarran—for example, if you are flying Virgin America (in the new Terminal 3) you can use Club at LAS for a daily fee of just $35. There’s also a Club at LAS in Terminal D.  Which one will you pick?

AIRPORT LOUNGES AT SFO. Speaking of posh lounges, have you been inside the new Emirates or Cathay Pacific lounges at SFO? Your BAT editor Chris McGinnis recently convinced CNN to come out to SFO for an interview and a look inside. Take a watch! The BAT on CNN! How about that? See below!

PLEASE, RECRUIT YOUR FRIENDS. If you like The BAT, would you please tell your friends and colleagues about it? The ONLY way we grow is via word of mouth from happy readers. Like every online publication, we need more eyeballs and appreciate your support.  Here’s something you can copy and paste into an email TODAY!

Have you ever heard about The Bay Area Traveler—The BAT- for frequent travelers? It’s a free local travel blog that I subscribe to. It’s full of helpful news and advice for frequent travelers who live in the Bay Area…just like us. For example, I first learned that PreCheck was coming to SFO, or that Virgin America was matching United Premier status from The BAT. I think it’s definitely something you could use. See “Subscribe” in the upper right margin of the blog, or just sign up right here. Thanks! ADD: *Your signature*

TSA PRECHECK EXPANDS: If you love PreCheck at Terminals 2 and 3 at SFO, you’ll be pleased to know that you can leave your shoes on when passing through security in five more airports: Austin, Memphis, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham. PreCheck is now available at 40 US airports—however, it’s not in every terminal, and it’s still a random selection—you cannot count on getting it.  What’s been your batting average with PreCheck? Please leave your comments below.

-Chris McGinnis