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Economy Plus: Inequality In The Main Cabin  
User currently offlineSFOintern From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 770 posts, RR: 4
Posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2753 times:

How would you feel if a 3rd drink service in the main cabin was given only to those seated in Economy Plus on a transcontinental flight?

The passengers seated in Economy Minus of Flight 93 from PHL-SFO sat there, mouths agape, at this sight.

Is this wrong? Yes. There should at least be a curtain separating E+ from E- if this were to happen consistently from now on.

I think there should be socialist reform in the Economy cabin the next time this occurs. Something like a bloody class war between the Bolsheviks and nouveau riche.

Your opinions on this matter of decency?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2676 times:

What is the procedure is E- is full and E+ is relatively empty? Can you move up front? Do you ask?

Just curious...I'm usually up front (but I'd like to be prepared if I don't have an upgrade)

User currently offlineSegmentKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2668 times:

Gate agents can assign Economy Plus if Economy is a lil tight. But typically, they won't sit you next to Premier Execs and 1K flyers in a middle seat, if that's all they have available.


User currently offlineAlaskaMVP From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2650 times:

Don't worry, your brilliant Senator Feinstein has already taken action against this, from now all passengers on all flights will be restricted to two drinks!

Seriously, you are right on about them needing a curtain in these situations, but there is nothing wrong with giving extra benefits to premium passengers. Remember, under airline pricing, they soak the business passengers for much higher fares so they can keep your fares low in economy.

My only complaint is that I can't directly buy an economy plus seat unless you pay three or four times more for an unrestricted coach fare, I'd pay a bit extra for the added leg room ($200?) on a long flight, but not four times as much.

User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 7516 posts, RR: 31
Reply 4, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2633 times:

You can directly buy an Economy Plus seat without buying an unrestricted ticket; buy your ticket on American instead.  Big grin

But seriously, if you don't like the way an airline conducts its business, you generally have the choice of flying other carriers.

User currently offlineSegmentKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2617 times:


Economy Plus still has 2" to 4" more than AA MRTC. A few AMR mechanics ride Tri-Rail with me and they said that most seats only give you an extra INCH per row, sometimes none at all. It all depends where you are sitting in the aircraft as well.

It's much much easier to just ask at the gate  Smile/happy/getting dizzy But again, I've never had to ask for it due to my P.E. status.


User currently offlineFLAIRPORT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2609 times:

maybe they should call it something else!!! like 2nd or pleasure!

Which brings up another question, who came up with the names of the cabins (first, buissness, coach)

User currently offlineAussiestu From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 780 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2606 times:

What happened to the old saying 'you get what you pay for'

User currently offlineContinentalEWR From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3762 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2560 times:

You certainly do get what you pay for. Unfortunately, for United, American Airlines one-upped them with a
better idea, give the whole Economy cabin more room
rather than further splinter your customer base and
show even more contempt for those not flying up

United's Economy Plus is a rude, presumptious idea
and I applaud American for making it available to all.


User currently offlineUALfa@jfk From United States of America, joined May 2000, 311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2542 times:


Are you absolutely certain about this SFOIntern? This seems awfully odd to me since, for the most part, we FAs usually look at the Economy Class cabin as ALL "Economy" rather than distinguishing between"Economy Plus" or "not Economy Plus." We usually don't even make a mental distinction between the two. Whether Joe Blow is seated in seat 6C (E+) or 26C (E "minus") is totally irrevelant since the service is supposed the be the same for ALL Economy Rows. When we do the Economy class meal and beverage service it's done the same way each and every time: Start at the bulkhead (the first row) and keep going until you're at the very last row in on the plane. Trust me, we don't have time to keep up with whether we're in the "economy plus zone" or the "regular economy zone." Again, it's all economy in our eyes. And since we're aware that basically ANYBODY ends up in economy plus, there wouldn't be a need to just do a seperate service for the first few rows of economy (E+).

The only thing I could think of is that maybe the crew started the 3rd service and maybe turbulence hit suddenly, forcing them to suspend service for the remaining cabin? But what you posted just doesn't make any sense in *my* United FA eyes.

But getting back to the post, nowhere, in ANY of our service guidelines, inflight handbook, or "sequence of service charts" does it say that FAs are supposed to do a "seperate" beverage service for Econ Plus on ANY flight, any route, anytime.

Now, just in case your account IS true SFOIntern, I think you should've gotten their names and reported all of them to WHQ.

Not to sound defensive, but I can't help but be skeptical.

User currently offlineTravelin man From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3626 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2540 times:

UALfa@JFK --
I completely agree with you. After flying 90K+ miles with UA in the past 10 months (much of it spent in the economy section), I have NEVER seen Economy Plus get more beverage service than Economy "Minus". Either time ran out, turbulence occurred or something else happened that caused the f/a's to suspend service.

I have flown quite a few transcons as well, and I can't recall getting a third drink service either.

In any case, Economy Plus is a great plus for frequent travellers and full fare passengers that could not upgrade. To suggest that it should be "all or nothing" is ridiculous. The Economy "Minus" section has the same pitch as DL's entire economy cabin (I believe). So what if United wanted to give its best customers a perk? Should we not earn bonus frequent flyer miles either? Should we not be able to board first?

I think SFOIntern should try Southwest. There, all the seats in the entire plane are spaced the same (close together), you board by a number, and there are no transcon flights that you'd have to worry about not getting your third drink service on. Problem solved.

User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3813 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2538 times:

With the unconscionable inequality of coach fares that the U.S. full-service majors have come to depend on extorting from business travellers, it only seems equitable that passengers who typically pay 3-10 times more than leisure travellers on the same flight should be compensated with something better than the "same old same old" as those whose cheap fares they are subsidizing.

As long as Economy Plus (or any comparable feature) is truthfully represented as an enhancement offered to passengers paying unrestricted -- and substantially higher -- coach fares fares and is sold accordingly, in a consistent manner, the E+ concept is a long-overdue perk for business travellers who deserve better than the same cramped conditions as those who are paying a fraction of the fare to travel on the same flight.

IMO, it would be a good move on UA's part to have a curtain between E+ and E, since the two are different classes of service, inasmuch as E+ is a virtual Business Class section of the aircraft cabin.

User currently offlineIan From United States of America, joined May 1999, 42 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2521 times:

Definitely fly American if this is bothersome as it appears more "equal"...however if you are a United frequent flyer then it makes total sense.

User currently offlineWatewate From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 2284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2519 times:

"I have flown quite a few transcons as well, and I can't recall getting a third drink service either. "

I just did LAX-CLE on CO today and everyone was offered 3 drinks with the carts coming down the 737. A flight attendant came around towards the end of the flight asking if anyone wanted additional beverage. That's 4 drink services on a flight that's less than 4 hours long. Good for CO for looking after the pax.

User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4028 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2518 times:

Here's a solution if you want a third drink. Push the little button with a picture of a flight attendant on it and when he or she comes you say "I'd like another drink please." I use this system all the time on Southwest and it works beautifully.  Smile


User currently offlineSFOintern From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 770 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2511 times:

I too was under the impression that F/As treat the entire economy cabin equally. However, I assure you that what I experienced was just that. I am especially observant during flights because I do not fly that frequently, and I appreciate when I do.

Ualfa@jfk, I know it doesn't make any sense. It's ironic that you now admonish me to have reported them to WHQ, because an F/A contact at United actually gave me the names of the F/As going *to* PHL (flt 100). He was not able to retrieve the information of flt 93's crew though. =(

It could have been pure coincidence. But the fact that I was seated exactly behind the last row of E+ in regular economy (I like to poke fun and call it E-), saw the flight attendants stop their drink services there --never to return, and without any sign of turbelence, astonished me. They could have known where E+ ended considering there are signs for each row of E+ that cease when E+ ceases...

That was my 3rd United roundtrip this summer. (The other two being SJC-CLE and SFO-DEN). My fourth is coming next weekend. At least United is consistent-- in its delivery of inconsistencies. =) And yes, Economy Minus has just as much room as other airlines' coach sections (with the exception of AA).

Forgive me if my post sounded excessively whiny. I was trying to show how Economy Plus has indeed evolved into a veritable fourth class, and as such, should be divided. While I do not find it wrong that premium travellers have the right to benefit, I believe that the service in any one cabin should be uniform while seat pitch may vary.

This could be just an anomaly; F/A's conducting a secret experiment, or simply making an honest mistake.

In fact, I did try the F/A call button. Not unusually, no F/A came. So I got up, and proceeded to the aft galley. I politely asked one F/A, who was reading, for something to drink there. Mind you, I did not ask why the 3rd drink service stopped, because that would have been out of protocol.

In hindsight, I guess I could have... but at that point in time I did not want to hassle the F/As further. They already put up with a lot.

And Travelin Man, as per your solution of me flying LUV, I doubt that will happen soon. My loyalties reside with one particular airline, one that I am now interning for. I wonder which one it is??? It's precisely why I'm so nitpicky about this, among other things.

And UALfa@jfk... you might recall me as the first "responsible adult" that was supposed to be there the first time you were to meet a forum member.... =)


User currently offlineCo LITE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2436 times:

I think "Economy Plus" is bogus. United is stupid for doing that. American is better, and treats everyone equal.

User currently offlineHugo From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (14 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2429 times:

I used to be a Premier member, but sadly, UA service has lost its luster and I moved to what I believe is a much better carrier: AA. UA management seems to make decisions that are not responsive to what the general public appreciate. They have managed to alienate quite a few customers. Having Econ plus and minus is just another way of pleasing some while alienating more. They should have created another cabin altogether...I think AA's decision to create MTRC is much more pleasing to more people, including frequent fliers.

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