United Airlines to Reintroduce First-Class Cabin on Transcon Routes Linking New York with San Francisco and Los Angeles
United Airlines will return to operating an aircraft with a three-class cabin on its p.s. transcontinental routes, at least for the time being.
Starting April 6, the Chicago-based carrier will offer one flight each day from Newark Liberty International Airport to San Francisco International and Los Angeles International airports on a Boeing 777-200ER. The aircraft is equipped with eight fully lie-flat seats in Global First, 40 fully lie-flat seats in BusinessFirst, 113 seats in Economy Plus, the airline’s premium economy lite section, and 108 seats in coach.
A United spokesman told Frequent Business Traveler that the use of the wide-body aircraft was “temporary” and that the service provided on board will be the same as on other p.s. flights, which means that service in the Global First cabin will be the same as in BusinessFirst.
The 777 will be used on Flight 1600 from Newark to Los Angeles and Flight 247 for the return as well as on Flight 1885 from Newark to San Francisco and Flight 577 for the return. The aircraft is currently slated to be used for these routes through May 5, 2016.
Global First seats, which are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, are 22” wide and expand to a bed with a length of 78”. BusinessFirst seats are in a 2-4-2 configuration with a 20” width and a length of 70” when expanded into a bed.
In 2013, United removed its old business- and first-class seats on the 757 planes it was using for its transcons and installed all-new, fully lie-flat BusinessFirst seats in their place, going from a three-cabin aircraft to two.
Last fall, the airline moved its premium transcon service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Newark Liberty.
American Airlines is the only airline that offers a distinct first-class cabin and service on premium transcon flights. The airline operates these from JFK to both San Francisco and Los Angeles using its new Airbus A321T fleet.
The news was first reported by the website Airline Route, which covers changes in airline routes and equipment. Airline Route also said that United will operate a similarly equipped 777 aircraft once a day on flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Washington Dulles International Airport.
UPDATE – February 8, 2016 AT 9:15 P.M. EST
The article was updated to include the information provided to Frequent Business Traveler from the airline.
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