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United adds 1,600 high-end seats in bid for more premium passengers



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The airline is expanding the number of premium seats in its fleet at 50 percent by adding 1,600 new high-end seats to its plans.

The upgrade in seating on many United planes is part of a push to win over more high-end passengers, people who pay to sit in "First class, business class or premium seats."

"We are committed to making the airline that our customers choose to fly," Andrew Nocella, United's executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said in a release announcing the seating expansion

In expanding premium seating, United will change seating configurations for planes on both domestic and international routes. Here's a break down of the new seating configurations:

  • All United Airbus A320 planes will go from 1
    2 first class seats to 16.
  • All United Airbus A319 plans will have four additional first class seats, bringing the number to 12 in each plane.
  • On 21 of United's 767-300ER planes, the airline is expanding the number of Polaris business class seats from 30 to 46, while also adding 22 premium economy seats.
  • United is adding 50 Bombardier CRJ 550 planes to its fleet, each with 10 first class seats.

The new Bombardiers will enter service this summer and fly to and from United's hub in Chicago, connecting airline's home market to smaller cities.

Nocella says that upgrade is a critical part of United rebuilding its service in small markets.

That strategy helped United post strong passenger revenue results last year, a key factor behind the company's shares outpacing the stock returns of its biggest competitors.


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