Frequent flyer members of Mileage Plus and OnePass have reason to celebrate. United has announced that it will retain the Economy Plus seats on its flights and also roll out the same on the flights of Continental Airlines.

United Airlines would keep the Economy Plus seats on its jets. The news has allayed the fears of numerous frequent flyers who were awaiting this piece of information with bated breath. Questions over the retention of these seats had been raised ever since the 2010 announcement of the airline’s merger with Continental Airlines.

Besides retaining these popular seats on its own planes, United will also introduce the same aboard Continental aircrafts. The development is predicted to fall through from 2012 and once things are in place, passengers booking their flight ticket with the airline will get higher chances of enjoying extra legroom.

Implications for Customers

The decision of maintaining and further rolling out Economy Plus across the Continental flights by United is a major milestone in terms of product integration between United and Continental.

Experts are also pointing out that the step reflects United’s keenness to offer its customers creative choices and a customised travel experience in terms of their valued products.

The chief revenue officer of United Continental Holdings, Jim Compton commented upon the occasion ‘Our customers value Economy Plus and the additional personal space that it provides’. He went on to say ‘Customers who sit in Economy Plus are significantly more satisfied with their travel experience, as are travellers who choose other options that enable them to tailor their travel to their liking’.

Aircrafts with Economy Plus

Presently, Economy Plus seats are available on all the 359 mainline aircrafts of United as well as in the larger regional jets operated by United Express(R) carriers. These regional jets number more than 150.

United announced plans to roll out Economy Plus on over 700 mainline aircrafts, which includes the larger regional aircrafts and all the mainline aircrafts of Continental. This entire plan will be implemented over the years.

Once the plan is executed, United will be equipped with 40,000 Economy Plus seats aboard its fleet. This means that on a daily basis, travellers booking their tickets with United will stand chances of being accommodated in over 122,000 Economy Plus seats. Presently, no other airlineon the planet can match this figure.

Benefits for Frequent Flyers

Economy Plus was rolled out by United in 1999. These seats are available in the United Economy(R) forward section of the airline and provide up to 5 inches of extra legroom.

Whenever these seats are available, elite status Mileage Plus(R) members of United and OnePass(R) members of Continental qualify for these seats to travel in comfort in the economy section aboard cheap flights.

Non member passengers who want this comfort on their cheap flights can buy these seat assignments when they check in online or at the airport, make reservations through a reservation agent, or through united.com or continental.com.

As of now, Continental offers seats with more legroom. These seats will be available until its aircrafts are refurbished with the Economy Plus seats. Members of Mileage Plus and OnePass do not have to pay additional charges on their tickets for the seats with more legroom, while other passengers will have to buy these seats.

United Continental Holdings, Inc.

Both United and Continental Airlines are under the holding company United Continental Holdings, Inc. These airlines, along with Continental Connection, Continental Express, and United Express operate about 5,675 flights to 372 airports across six continents everyday. United and Continental have hubs in Washington D.C., Tokyo, San Francisco, New York/Newark Liberty, Los Angeles, Houston, Guam, Denver, Cleveland, and Chicago.

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