Free alcoholic beverage in Economy Plus August 6-16

United will be offering each passenger in Economy Plus a complimentary alcoholic beverage between August 6 and 16. This is actually a brilliant marketing move, and I hope they’ll announce throughout the plane that Economy Plus passengers get a free alcoholic beverage on that flight. It’ll certainly encourage more people to buy-up in the future. And quite a few people will get lucky here, as they “upgrade” people from economy to Economy Plus all the time to accommodate them since normal coach is sold out.

It’ll be interesting to see whether United eventually turns Economy Plus into a “premium economy” of sorts, maybe bringing back pillows and blankets, offering a free drink, etc. While Economy Plus is mostly filled with elites, they could probably get quite a bit of extra revenue from people buying up, creating more competition for those seats.

Filed Under: United
  1. Y’know, someone posted on another blog this week that ours are mirrors of each other. And here not only did we both separately post about the free drinks in E+ but we both mused about creating a real premium economy. Egads.

  2. Being a cynic, I already feel sorry for the flight attendants who are working after this promo ends…”but I got free drinks on my last flight. What do you mean I have to pay?”

  3. I’m not sure why getting a $5 drink for free would encourage people to buy up for $25 or more if they weren’t willing to before.

  4. @Brian: I think it’s to create the psychological perception of aggregate value. “Well, the extra legroom isn’t quite worth $25. But extra legroom, plus a free drink? Now I’ll be livin’ the life!” Virgin America does a very good job taking this approach with its Main Cabin Select section, for which the upgrade fee can actually pay for itself if you were already planning to check a bag and buy some combination of a drink (or drinks), food, and premium entertainment.

  5. @ Gary — ROFL! Yeah, sometimes I try not to post stuff that you’ve already posted about, just so the content we’re covering doesn’t look identical.

    @ grace — Ditto.

    @ Brian — GoAmtrak is spot on, in my opinion. It doesn’t have to be entirely rational for consumers to fall for it.

  6. When I asked for a wine today, I found out that United never told the flight attendants about the promo. They had no idea. According to her, they are only boarded 10 beer, 20 wines, and 30 assorted miniture bottles in each economy class cart. So, there aren’t enough supplies for them to serve every economy plus passenger with their choice of aocohol if the E Plus is full. I would not get too excited and expect to get the first choice of alcoholic beverage if I were you unless the company provides them with more during the promotional period.

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