United Airlines has a new television ad out for their Premium Service (p.s.) flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles/San Francisco. Narrated by Matt Damon and showcasing United’s new BusinessFirst® lie-flat seats on the route, the ad compares a p.s. flight to an international flight, specifically emphasizing meal service.
It is a curious ad. Many have attacked it, but I don’t think it is so bad. I do think it is uninspiring, but that is the direction the Continental management team has decided to take and Darren from Frequently Flying argues that United’s ads should focus on the hard product. Note that while lie-flat seats are being installed now throughout the p.s. fleet, this retrofit is not scheduled to conclude until the end of 2013, so you may find yourself in the old non-lie-flat reclining seat over the next several months.
I was surprised to see that United is still using the p.s. term–I was sure they were going to abandon it.
The problem is that Delta and American also have lie-flat service coming (though not yet–AA has three-cabin A321s coming to these routes and Delta is intalling lie-flat seats as well) and good food on the routes. So what distinguishes United from the pack? An ad highlighting the new lie-flat seats but also pointing to United’s historic link to JFK, hubs in both SFO and LAX, and/or emphasizing how great service on the route will differentiate it from the competition would have been a better tactic to win customers in my humble opinion.
Do you like the new ad?