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The New York – London route is said to be one of the most lucrative airline routes in the world and the race for hearts and minds of premium cabin passengers on this route is well and truly on.
Earlier this month, Virgin Atlantic (49% of which is owned by Delta) scheduled its new Airbus A350 (complete with new Business Class cabin) to operate between New York (JFK) and London Heathrow from 10 September 2019, British Airways (American Airlines’ joint venture partner) recently scheduled a 777 configured with its new Club Suite Business Class cabin to operate between New York (JFK) and London Heathrow from 27 October 2019, and now we have United upping its game on this route.
United Airlines has announced that, from 15 September 2019, all 5 of its daily flights between New York (EWR) and London Heathrow will feature its newest Polaris Business Class seat.
Moreover, all 5 of United’s daily flights on its New York – London route will be operated by 767-300 aircraft offering more premium cabin seating than any of the airline’s other 767s.
United’s premium-heavy 767s come equipped with 46 Polaris Business Class seats (16 more than its other 767 aircraft) as well as 22 United Premium Plus (Premium Economy) seats, 47 Economy Plus seats and just 52 regular Economy Class seats.
When talking about the increased premium capacity between New York and London United’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella said the following:
By reconfiguring aircraft and adding more space and seats, and ultimately comfort, we are committed to making United the airline that customers choose to fly
We have seen an increase in customer demand for premium seats and we’re excited to be able to expand the number of seats on all of our flights between New York/Newark and London.
United says that customers booked in the Polaris cabin will receive amenities such as Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, amenity kits featuring custom products Sunday Riley, “elevated food and beverages” and access to both the Polaris lounge at Newark and the arrivals lounge and United Club at London Heathrow.
If you’re a premium cabin flyer on the New York – London route there are airlines lining up for your money and they’re doing what they can to persuade you that their offering is best.
On balance and right now, it looks like United has its nose on ahead on this route as it will soon offer a very good and uniform Business Class product across all its flights between NYC and London (passengers will always know what product they’re getting and they’ll know that it should be good) while the other major carriers can’t really make the same claim.
American offers 4 daily flights between New York and London, and while two are operated using 777-300ER aircraft which have as good a Business Class cabin as United’s Polaris (possibly better), two are operated by 777-200s where the offering may be good or may be very average (depending on the seats onboard).
British Airways may soon be able to offer its great-looking Club World suite on the New York – London route but the flights on which the suite will be offered currently vary from day to day, and the airline will still be offering a considerable number of daily flights with its current antiquated and poor Club World seats – right now, passengers booking with BA cannot be sure if they’ll get a great seat or a trip back in time.
Delta has ceded most of its flights to Virgin Atlantic whose current Upper Class product is even worse than BA’s Club World (that takes some doing!) so, although its one daily flight between JFK and Heathrow is operated by an A330-200 with a very nice reverse herringbone Business Class cabin, United is streets ahead on the frequencies it can offer on this route.
Things will probably change once BA and Virgin have more aircraft offering their new Business Class products (and if Delta ever gets around to offering its Delta One Suites between New York and London) but, right now, United is ahead of the competition.
If I had to fly between New York and London with any great frequency and if I wanted to stick to flying airlines within one alliance/joint venture, I’d probably choose United right now.
With United, I’d know I’d be getting a good Business Class cabin regardless of the flight I was taking and that would free me up to take the most convenient flight of the day rather than having to trade-off convenience for a good Business Class cabin…which is what the competition currently demands.