One of the many outstanding questions related to the Continental/United Airlines merger was that of the EconomyPlus product. United has offered it for many years now and Continental has not. Some hints were offered in recent months as Continental started to charge for their "Extra Leg Room" (‘ELR’) seats (mainly exit rows and bulkheads) where they previously had been free if available when check-in opened.
The mystery was laid to rest today when the announcement was made that the combined company would be keeping the product on the legacy UA fleet and adding it to the Continental fleet. The conversion of the Continental fleet will be starting in 2012; until then it is just the ELR seats on those planes.
Most notable in the still unanswered questions on this topic is whether adding the E+ seats will mean removing a row from first class or from coach, As noted by Scott O’Leary, United’s Managing Director of Customer Service, "It’s an important decision, especially for our domestic fleet, and one we’re putting a lot of thought into."
I’m betting that the 737-500, 737-700 and 757-300 keep their existing first class section and lose a row in economy while the 737-800/900/900ER settle at 16 first class seats (many are 20 today) to make this happen.
Definitely a move that will keep many of their frequent fliers happy and loyal to the company.
- Continental to charge for extra legroom
- Continental and United announce reciprocity – aka The other shoe drops
- Continental/United merger approved by DoJ
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