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Any United Int'l Biz Upgrades Coming?  
User currently offlineBudyboy From United States of America, joined May 2005, 64 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2803 times:

I'm planning a trip to Australia and note that United doesn't have beds in business class, while their partner Air New Zealand has just installed them.

Anyone know if United plans to upgrade their Int'l business to include flat beds? Thanks

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineUAORD2000 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 268 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2749 times:

Take a look at the first class seats on premium transcon flights (p.s.). I heard a few months back that they are testing those seats for possible installation on widebodies to replace the current business seat.


User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9507 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2739 times:

United Airlines is in chapter 11 at the moment and they can't afford to do/buy anything.

Once they get out of chapter 11 I expect them to improve their services and install private TVs on every single seat, business class flatbeds, as well as new first class suites (update them at least).

User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 29389 posts, RR: 73
Reply 3, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2709 times:

Quoting UAORD2000 (Reply 1):
Take a look at the first class seats on premium transcon flights (p.s.). I heard a few months back that they are testing those seats for possible installation on widebodies to replace the current business seat.

Well, those are the typical international J seat, with a bit less in the way of electronics. If UA is able to scrape the money together, yes, those will end up on the 777s, 767s and 747s, along with PTVs in the back of the 747s

Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineDaron4000 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 715 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2641 times:

Would United be able to introduce these new J seats while they are in Ch. 11 if they only focused on specific routes, like Australia, with dedicated planes, or ORD-HKG etc.?

User currently onlineTonyBurr From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2619 times:

I have flown the new "flat beds" in Business on LH and SQ. Although UA's are not flat I actually find them more comfortable then LH or SQ. On UA you can adjust the leg rest and the back independently. On SQ and LH you cannot and it seems to be almost that you are either sitting up, or flat out down with little adjustment in between. An upgrade on UA C would be nice, but they are pretty good as they are.

User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 11166 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2601 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 2):
as well as new first class suites (update them at least).

What is wrong with the current UA first class suite? It is one of the best on the market now. The only bad thing is a small PTV and having to deal with those cassettes rather then AVOD. I have flown the first suite, and I liked it a lot. It is private, flat and comfortable. It cost a heck of a lot of money to install those in the first place. The only truly better seat (other then minimal things like the PTV or seat cushions) is the Emirates suite on the A340s. I don't see how that suite is dated at all.

Also I do agree that UAs business seat isn't the best. I have flown the new LH seat and it is great. Contrary to popular belief you can lounge in it just like a standard business seat and don't have to be flat at an angle. The seat works a whole lot better then the animation on LH's website. I haven't tried the SQ spacebeds though. Unfortunately by the time that UA has the money to redo their business seats, the spacebed will probably be at the lower end of the flat seat market.

If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineIowa744fan From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 931 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2534 times:

I second Roseflyer's comment about the First Suite. I have flown it before and I thought that it was quite comfortable. I guess that the TV screen was a little small by the standards of some of today's airlines, but I thought that the overall package was still quite nice.

As for UA's business class product, I have much more experience on that and I like it is ok...the window seat on the top deck of the 744 (rear left side) is always the best. Granted, I have no other airline to compare it to because my family for the most part only flies United longhaul (we flew Thai's Royal Orchid class between HKG-BKK last year (in a 773), but that wasn't too fancy.). I'll be able to compare it to SQ's Raffles Spacebeds here shortly, so perhaps I can finally have a second view to make my comparison. I have been a bit curious about the SQ seat and the PTV since it is in the seat back in front from what I have seen. I like the screen in the arm rest that UA offers so that it is nice and close. Does the SQ PTV seem a bit far off? Or is it still pretty easy to see everything. My only big problem with the UA seat is when I sleep, I like to sleep on my side. So, naturally, the UA seat is a problem in this area. However, given the timing of UA's ops to/from Asia, I am usually wide awake and don't sleep more than an hour or two.

Anyway, I think that the First Suite is an excellent product. Perhaps UA can invest a little in a new C class "bed" when they emerge from Ch. 11. Either way, I am sure that my family will keep flying with them!

User currently offlineAloha73G From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2407 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2516 times:

If for some reason UA can show the judge that getting new seats is cheaper than maintaining the old seats--especially when additional revenue is taken into account--theres no reasont hey couldn't do it while in Ch. 11. Its the same logic as painting the planes, or DL getting new uniforms. Sometimes getting somethign new is cheaper than maintaining something old.

Ive been through 3 bankruptcies and Ch. 11 is in no way a graveyard for improvements. It's all about getting your business set up to be successful when you emerge.


Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9507 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

I didn't mean that UA's First Class Suite isn't good but there are rooms for improvement like AVOD, bigger screen, more privacy, wider seats etc.

Yeah they should upgrade their Business Class seats to flatbeds.

And install PTVs on every single seats

User currently offlineBAW716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2051 posts, RR: 26
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2330 times:

As far as upgrades to the UA business product, I wouldn't expect any major improvements any time soon. UA does not have the money to purchase the seats.

UA is testing flat beds on its PS service transcon..to see how passengers are reacting to the seat made by Aviograf (I believe that is the seat manufacturer). It is an Italian seat company that has traditionally has made the seats for Alitalia for their 767 and MD11 Economy and Business Class product. They have graduated to making beds. As far as I know, their bed product is not selling real well, so since UA is looking for a deal, they are giving them a test ride to see how well they hold up and also to see how the passengers respond to them. If the F class passengers do not care for them, I am certain they will pull them out in favor of some other kind of bed seat.

The existing business class seat made by BE for United is an exceptionally well made seat. In fact, this seat was designed with the help of United marketing and test passengers, who gave them feedback along the way in the design and manufacturing process to assure that the seat would do what it was designed to do; provide maximum comfort to the Business Class passenger for an extended flight across the Ocean. These business class seats have been well received and were very popular until the bed product started coming along.

The problem with most business bed products is because the shell has to house the mechanism to convert the seat into a bed, it causes the seat to be quite narrow. In fact, BA's business class seat is barely 18.75", where as UA's Economy Class seat is 18.5". UA's Business Seat is 20" wide on the 777 and 19" wide on the 767. However, all the functionality of the seat is there. Furthermore, all of BAs seats are electronically operated. UA's business seats are pnuematically operated, so the seat can be operated manually if there is a problem with the seat. The lounge and recline on the UA seat gives a very comfortable resting position for sleep. Granted, it is not fully flat; however, you can rest on your side.

While it certainly can be argued that UA needs a bed product in Business Class, it does make the case for a certain product variation between its three products. In First Class, the First Suite gives full privacy and a fully functional flat bed for sleep. In Business Class, the Business Class suite provides a comfortable seat, power plug in, the fleet will soon have wi-fi capability, so wireless internet will be available on the fleet. In Economy, with the widest seat of any in its class, United can boast 36" in Economy Plus for full fare paying passengers and in regular Economy, United has 31" seating, but still the 18.5 in wide seat.

So in terms of product, UAs on board product, while not at the head of the class, is still competitive, it just needs a little touch up here and there and the right kind of marketing campaign to make it stand out as a superior product to the bed + bed products that exist on other carriers. This most certainly can be done.

David L. Lamb
fmr Regional Sales Analyst
ual 142599 (1992-1998)

David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
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