This past weekend MountainMama of the TravelingMamas wrote a post entitled “United’s Economy Plus Policy Stinks.” While I’m no United apologist, I think United is being done injustice here, so I’d like to disagree. I’d suggest reading her post, as I’d like to hear if I’m the only one that feels she’s off base.
Let’s talk about what she posted.
I asked a flight attendant if I could move up to one of TWO empty exit rows or one of the THREE totally empty rows 12, 13 and 14 on the aft side of the plane. Nope, couldn’t do it, “Those rows are reserved for people who paid for the upgrade. You’re welcome to purchase an upgrade now if you like.”
Since when did Economy Plus become First Class??
A product doesn’t have to be first class in order for the airline to upsell you. Virgin America offers Main Cabin Select with special service, and that’s not first class. The point is that United made a business decision by adding Economy Plus, and they had to take out six seats in order to accomplish that. They can only justify it if they get some revenue from it, which is one of the aspects of their business they’ve been doing a great job at (if nothing else). They’re making tens of millions of dollars from Economy Plus upsells, so some people seem to be paying for it. Also, remember how American had More Room Throughout Coach? There’s a reason it failed….
The only reason I couldn’t have the extra bit of legroom is because others’ paid for it. Um, so what.
Sorry, but that’s kind of how it works. Besides, where do you draw the line? Is it ok to upgrade oneself to a premium economy product? What about business class? Why not first class? I mean, the plane is catered anyway, so what’s the real cost of the airline to upgrading you?
The answer is simple — if you get it for free this time, you won’t want to pay for it next time. By looking at the seatmap you can tell how full a flight is, so why would you ever need to “confirm” Economy Plus in advance when you know it’s going to be empty and you can get an upgrade for free?
It’s not like I’m displacing the other Economy Plus passengers
In this case you’re right, but where do you draw the line? One of the things I enjoy about Economy Plus is that it’s typically not as full as economy, which means the chances of an empty middle seat are greater. If you take an Economy Plus seat next to someone else, aren’t you making their experience less pleasant? While they didn’t pay to have an empty seat next to them, they paid to sit in a zone which is more likely to have empty seats.
like the passengers being served a hot lunch in First Class.
And what’s the real difference even then? Like I said, United typically caters for a full first class cabin, even when it’s not full. You’re not preventing any other first class passenger from getting a meal, so why can’t you just upgrade yourself to first class? In this case I’m honestly not seeing a difference between upgrading oneself to Economy Plus or first class.
My guess is all those people who forked over the money to reserve an Economy Plus seat have been furious and complained when Economy passengers have scooted up front for free.
Can you blame them? If someone pays $99 at check-in to upgrade to Economy Plus (on a longer flight) and on the plane people sneak up and “steal” the seats without paying a dime, wouldn’t you be angry too? It’s one thing if it’s for operational reasons (in which case there are sometimes operational upgrades to business or first class), but I’d be angry if I paid for something and someone snuck up and “stole” the product I just paid for.
They’ll take every dollar they can get.
And after losing $1.3 billion dollars last quarter, can you blame them?
It comes down to a bunch of whiners.
No disagreement there. 😉