Following last year’s merger integration headaches, United Airlines has announced a series of business overhauls to re-capture higher-yielding clientele and surge its way back to profitability as the world’s #1 largest carrier.
One of United’s first major initiatives is to re-vamp its Global Services program to have an extra elite tier titled, “Global Services Plus.” According to Gadling.com, starting June 1, the “invitation-only Global Services Plus program and its benefits” will become available to existing GS members and “the names of program members may not be shared with anyone except any third party with which United has a marketing relationship.”
Benefits for members in this new elite level include:
- Being addressed as “your highness” or “your royal highness” instead of “sir” or “madam” and being greeted with a bow.
- Authorization to replace a non-GS+ member seated in United Global First or United BusinessFirst in the unlikely event that the GS+ member is not ticketed in either of these cabins. Same rules apply to removing another passengers’ luggage in case of lack of bin space.
- Crew members taking corrective action if the GS+ members’ lie-flat seat does not lie-flat all the way or their Chardonnay is not chilled to the perfect temperature
Other benefits can be found by clicking here.
“Since the merger between United and Continental, we found many of our customers pining for the old days. Many of our flyers had great memories associated with United and Continental, and we don’t want to ruin that, so we decided to resurrect one of the many great names in the United Continental Holdings stable. Our legal staff found that we owned the name Eastern Air Lines outright, so it’s very cost-effective for us to rebrand as the new Eastern.”
United CEO Jeff Smisek
Also, given the 787 delays, United will be re-introducing the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-10/11 services to Europe. Other narrow-body aircraft such as the 737-900 will continue to serve as replacement frames for the 787, noting that United received a cash payment from Boeing to return and cancel all of the 787 wide-body planes. The cash payments will help insulate United from the mass exodus of high-yielding corporate traffic that fled the airline after the 2012 merger integration disaster. The 737-900s have 56 fewer seats and are ideal for capturing United’s new target market: leisure travelers.
Read more about the 737-900 replacement strategy here.