United Airlines upgrades O’Hare, completes Economy Plus reconfiguration on Continental’s long-haul 757s and launches new routes

I’ll have a full recap of other airline, hotel and travel industry news from this week probably on Monday, but there were a few noteworthy items from United Airlines this week that I think deserve a unique post. If you didn’t already know…

  • Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported United-Continental is planning to upgrade Terminal 2 facilities at Chicago O’Hare Airport. A total of 10 new jet bridges will be introduced on the F-concourse, eliminating the need at some current gates to board directly from the tarmac. Even more welcome news, however, is the announcement of a new United Club lounge for T2 replacing the dated, crowded and insufficient existing embarrassment. The new lounge is purported to be “triple the size” of the current offering.
  • All of Continental’s international Boeing 757-200s now feature Economy Plus, a very welcome enhancement for those flying CO routes to/from Europe, as well as the domestic tag-ons. With the reconfiguration, there are now 16 flat-bed seats in BusinessFirst, 45 seats in Economy Plus and 108 in regular economy. It will be some time before the remainder of the domestic Continental fleet completes the E+ overhaul, but I’m hoping it will be as quick as I’ve been seeing United’s aircraft repainted.
  • United will be launching new routes soon, including a daily Washington Dulles to Honolulu nonstop operated with Continental’s 767-400 aircraft. Living here in Los Angeles and often taking the first flights to Dulles in the morning, I’ve seen firsthand the amount of people who arrive from Hawaii and connect onto that Dulles flight. It’s likely a very good decision from an O&D and yield perspective. Other additions include nonstops from Denver to Fairbanks, AK operating from June 7, 2012 through August 27, 2012, as well as seasonal service from Houston to Rapid City, SD and Houston/San Francisco to Jackson Hole, WY.


  1. The E+ reconfigurations are MUCH faster than the repaints. Only half the UA fleet is painted after nearly a year and a half, whereas it took only just over a month to do all the 757s and the entire fleet should be done by fall.

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