United pulls lie-flat seats from all premium transcon flights
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update 4/23: United has shifted course — the airline now plans to add a 787-8 Dreamliner to one of its daily Newark-San Francisco round-trips, currently scheduled to be operated by a Boeing 737-800. With this change, business-class travelers will have an opportunity to book a lie-flat seat between Newark and the West Coast on one flight each day.
Over the last few years, United has offered lie-flat business-class seats on every single premium transcontinental flight, with flights between Newark and Los Angeles and San Francisco operated by a mix of Boeing 757s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners, including the 787-10. All flights between Boston and San Francisco received similar treatment, as well, with 2-2 lie-flats on a mix of United 757-200s.
Now, following an unprecedented drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, United has shifted its strategy significantly, operating all of its premium transcon flights with more fuel-efficient aircraft during the month of May. Per United:
Due to the significant drop in premium demand, beginning May 4, we will operate more efficient Boeing 737 aircraft on transcontinental routes between New York/Newark and Los Angeles and San Francisco and between San Francisco and Boston which were previously operated with Boeing 757 aircraft. We will continue monitoring and reviewing demand and adjust our schedule as necessary.
As a result, most May transcon flights sport standard first-class recliners, rather than the lie-flat seats passengers are accustomed to on these routes.
Seats are still being sold as business class, however, and pricing has not been adjusted — while $690 may seem entirely reasonable for a transcon lie-flat, it’s less appealing for a recliner, especially when economy cabins are going out nearly empty, and you can book a coach seat on the same plane for as little as $132.
Anyone flying at the moment most likely won’t be able to adjust plans, since travelers are only boarding planes when absolutely necessary. Still, if you’re after a lie-flat seat for your essential trip, there are some options — JetBlue continues to offer Mint service from Boston (BOS) and New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), and Delta is offering at least one daily lie-flat flight between some of the above cities on most days in May.
As for American Airlines, the carrier’s A321T is currently grounded, though, as of now, AA is scheduled to resume some lie-flat transcon service as soon as May 7. United, meanwhile, is currently scheduled to resume its regular transcon schedule on June 4, though I can’t see that happening unless demand somehow returns within the next few weeks.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees