US has had the A330-300 in its fleet since the late 90's. It added the A330-200 series in 2009.
At the time that US was interested in joining Star Alliance, it (the Star organization) required an international airline to have a 3 class aircraft for its transatlantic product. Stephen Wolf had the A330's ordered with one row of sleeper seats that were sold as First Class, and a separate Business class compartment that created the Envoy product. Row 1 is separated by a divider (or was at introduction) and is a lie-flat sleeper in contrast to what was offered in Envoy so there was a distinctive First Class product.
At some point just prior or after the US/HP merger, these aircraft were reconfigured, reducing the size of Envoy, adding more Y class in its place and simply "merging" row 1 into Envoy as a "Sleeper" Envoy seat available through upgrades. Chairman's Preferred members get first dibs on those seats and if available can also be purchased as an upgrade at the 24 hour or day-of-departure time of check-in by others.
In the first half of this decade the Envoy service/product was excellent. Airport lounges, seat comfort, food and cabin service on a new Airbus aircraft was top notch, and domestic first class rivaled most competitors. Changes occurred as a result of the new direction US as the new "LCC" took, along with changes resulting from cutbacks due to both bankruptcies. Their newest addition of the 200 series with a new lie-flat product in Envoy, with a retrofit coming to all 300's with the new seat, may once again help them regain some premium business if they upgrade some soft product features as well.
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