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United refreshes PS flights SFO-JFK [infographic]

Business class on United's "refreshed" B757 P.S. flights to JFK (Photo: United Airlines)

Business class on United’s “refreshed” B757 P.S. flights to JFK (Photo: United Airlines)

Today United launched its first “fully refreshed” Boeing 757 P.S. (Premium Service) class flight between Los Angeles LAX and New York JFK. The newly refurbished plane could appear on the San Francisco-JFK run as soon as this week.

United says that there is no way to choose a newly configured flight just yet- but by June, seatmaps on its website will be updated to show which flights are new…or not.

United has 13 P.S. configured Boeing 757s and offers 46 PS flights each week between SFO and JFK… but it’s going to be a while until all are refreshed. Here’s United’s disclaimer:

United anticipates launching more reconfigured aircraft into service in June. Until then, most flights on these routes will offer the traditional p.s. service. United expects to reconfigure the entire p.s. fleet by the end of the year. Until the project is complete, the airline will operate these flights with a mix of aircraft.

The fully refreshed interior offers 28 flat-bed business class seats, replacing the 12 angled lie-flat and 26 reclining seats in the premium cabins on the traditional p.s. fleet. The new configuration also features 48 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats and 66 seats in United Economy. In the older aircraft, all economy seats were Economy Plus- this means that coach travelers without status will have to pony up cash or miles to get into the roomier seats.

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The reconfigured p.s. aircraft will offer travelers:

  • New Seats:In business class, 180-degree flat-bed seats, which offer up to 6’4″ of sleeping space and more storage.
  • Inflight Entertainment: Access to personal on-demand entertainment featuring a newly designed interactive touchscreen and more than 150 hours of programming. Individual monitors are 15.4″ in  business classand 9″ in United Economy.
  • Inflight Dining: New dining optionsand wine selections recommended by Doug Frost, United’s Master Sommelier.
  • Inflight Connectivity:  Gogo inflight Internet service. The aircraft also features power outlets and USB ports in every seat.

Here’s an infographic about the new interiors created by United:

UnitedPremiumService-Infographic-FINAL-original

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United revamps popular PS flights to New York

The new United PS business class seat will be identical to Continental BusinessFirst seat pictured here. (Photo: United Airlines)

United’s super-popular “Premium Service” (PS) flights on the business-travel-heavy route between SFO and New York-JFK (as well as LAX-JFK) are about to undergo a radical re-do. To me this is great news because the current PS interiors have been tatty and worn out for a while…

Last week United revealed details of the new PS to The BAT, so here’s what you need to know:

>Reconfiguration of all 13 United Boeing 757s offering PS service will begin this October and should be complete by summer of 2013. All seats, walls, floors, bins, lavatories and galleys will be replaced, so they will feel like brand new planes. (No word yet on when you will actually be able to book a new PS flight.)

>The reconfigured aircraft will have business class, Economy Plus (EP) and standard economy seats.

>There will be no first class seatson the new PS aircraft. (Currently, there are 12.)

United’s current PS business class seat. (Photo: United Airlines)

>Reconfigured aircraft will have 28 true-lie-flat business class seats, up from the current 26 cradle-style seats. The new business class PS seat will be the same as Continental’s flatbed BusinessFirst seat on its internationally configured 757s. (See photo above) United says it will call this class of service United BusinessFirst.”

>Each business class seat will have an individual 16-inch video monitor connected to and audio-video on-demand (AVOD) system, a three prong universal 110v electrical outlet and USB port. (No more Dig-E-Players!)

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>In-flight service in business class will be the same—you’ll still get pre-flight cocktails, warm nuts, and two hot towels. (There will still be the peachy Bellinis and other featured cocktails served.)

>There will be 48 Economy Plus seats on the new PS flights, down from 72 in the old version. The downside is that there are fewer EP seats, but the upside is that EP seat pitch on the new PS flights will be 36 inches. (Current PS flights have 34 inches between each coach seat. And as we all know, two inches can make a big difference!)

>There will be 66 standard economy seats on the new PS flights with 31-32 inches of pitch—current PS flights offer EP only.

>Both EP and standard economy seats will have individual 9-inch seatback video screens with access to the AVOD system. (No more fuzzy overhead screens!)

>All PS flights will be getting an upgraded Gogo in-flight wi-fi system that a spokesman said should be faster (9.8 Mbps, up from the current 3.1) and better able to meet the high demand on these flights.

Mock up of American’s “Transcontinental Series” business class seat. (Photo: American Airlines)

>On the competitive front, American has announced that starting in late 2013 it will dump its current 767’s flying between SFO and JFK and replace them with much smaller, but specially outfitted, stretch versions of the Airbus A321 with first, business, Main cabin Extra and standard coach seats. Delta and Virgin America offer the same first class Recaro seat on the route, and have not made or announced any recent changes. (Here’s our post and video about a recent Delta Business Elite flight to JFK.)

How do YOU like to fly to New York? Are you pleased with the changes coming to United’s PS flights? Are these changes a net gain or loss for BATs - Bay Area Travelers? Please leave your comments below.

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