Who lies more? American and United, the world’s number one and two are about to wage a battle over which one lies more. Lies more and lies flatter, that is. They are both re-designing their premium services with long, luxurious lie-flat beds in their pursuit of the premium market. Both are particularly going after the North Atlantic business-class market, where they have lagged behind European carriers such as British Airways and Lufthansa and where the new all-premium carriers such as Eos have estabished a beach-head. United has unveiled a sleeper seat for its premium service on its Boeing 747s, 767s and 777s, while American has a new lie flat-bed for its Boeing 777 premium sections.
The two carriers are avoiding toe-to-toe battles though United claims its are the first truly lie-flat beds; it will certainly have more of them on more planes when they’re done. This is the first major upgrade to United’s premium class since the 1995-1999 redesign and includes I-pod connections, 15+ inch video monitors that are triple the size of its average video screen and other niceties. Both the American and the United beds stretch out to 76 inches. We won’t take sides, or fronts or backs, especially since we haven’t tried either, but we have to hand United a big kudos for its advertising campaign, suitedreams. Using its trademark music from the Gershwin classic ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, which the airline purchased back in the 1980s, it has some very clever graphics and illustrations.