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The United transcon experience is about to get a bit better — well, except for those of you traveling on a basic economy ticket (and anyone else not flying business or Economy Plus).

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Beginning July 1, customers can expect the following improvements in business class:

  • New Polaris-inspired menu items
  • New Saks Fifth Avenue amenity kits
  • Crafthouse Moscow Mules (served with candied ginger and lime)
  • Hot towel service prior to take-off and landing
  • Pre-arrival snacks including chips and almonds

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Additionally (and this is big news!), passengers traveling in Economy Plus will receive a full hot meal at no additional charge, including a hot fresh entree, dessert and fruit, along with a pre-arrival snack and alcoholic beverages. “Sample menu selections include savory roasted chicken with a smoked barbecue sauce and butternut squash tortellini with sage cream sauce. Dessert options will include New York’s favorite sweet treat, cheesecake, as well as a chocolate brownie and fresh seasonal fruit.”

Economy Plus seats are still free for elite members on these flights, while customers without status will need to pay $109-139 each way, depending on the seat and route. Note that American and Delta offer cold food on some transcon flights, but all passengers receive a free meal, not just those sitting in an upgraded seat.

As for the new Boston premium service, United will be operating some flights with its p.s. 757s, which offer up to 28 flat-bed seats in business. Additionally, during select peak periods, the airline will fly a 777-200, typically on the morning SFO departure and the early evening flight from Boston. Note that these 777s offer 2-4-2 seating in business class and 3-4-3 in coach, so you’ll be better off flying the 757. Round-trip business class fares start at $1,197, which is a hair lower than flights from NYC, which start at $1,323 round-trip. There are no complimentary upgrades for elites on premium transcon flights, though you can apply certificates or upgrade with cash/miles — so don’t expect to score a “free” lie-flat when flying Boston-San Francisco.

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Unfortunately these new perks won’t be available system-wide — you’ll only find the new and improved service on premium transcontinental flights, including those from Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), along with new premium service the airline is launching between Boston (BOS) and SFO.

Know before you go.

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