Earlier this week, Tempe based US Airways announced several upgrades to its on-board product including the following (as per a report from Inflight Weekly):
|US Airways Domestic First Class – Image credit – US Airways|
- A new look and branding for the domestic First Class meal tray
- New china for domestic First Class to align with the Envoy design on long haul international flights
- Refresh of domestic First Class meals to address quality and provisioning ratios
- Snack basket for pre-arrival service on long-haul domestic flights
- New continental breakfast concept on domestic red-eye flights
- Newly designed Envoy amenity kit with enhanced content
- A new modern design wine glass for Envoy
- Complimentary headsets on transoceanic flights to Europe, the Middle East, and South America in Economy class
- Complimentary beer/wine during primary meal service on transoceanic flights in Economy class
- DineFresh Economy meals for purchase on return flights to the U.S.
Many of these changes are long overdue. US Airways has by far the poorest service of any domestic first class product; lacking meals on flights shorter than three and a half hours.
I flew US Airways First earlier this year La Guardia – Washington Reagan – Kansas City, and it was definitely underwhelming.
The addition of china for domestic First Class adds a significant touch of class and increases the product’s appeal for frequent flyers. The long haul economy class product on close to half of routes (those operated by Boeing 757/767) doesn’t even have in-seat entertainment so the complimentary headsets are nice; as is the complimentary beer/wine for most travelers.
|US Airways First Class snack basket – credit US Airways|
DineFresh looks intriguing on the website with strong options including a vegetarian offer; premium meals in economy class are already utilized by Air France and KLM so the concept isn’t unique. The price, at $19.99 is a little steep, but I’ll have the opportunity to try it out later this year when I fly either Philadelphia-Rome on the A330-300 or Zurich-Philadelphia on the 767-200ER (both in economy class).
As US Airways moves closer to a merger with Dallas Fort Worth based American Airlines, improving its product quality is an important, if under-appreciated step in smoothing the merger process.