United to pursue high-fare travelers with more premium seats

United Airlines will woo high-fare passengers by retrofitting more than 100 planes to add more premium seats on key routes.

The airline also plans to start using a new 50-seat jet with mostly premium seats on some key business-travel routes.

United announced the moves Wednesday. They are part of an industry trend to give more space and better service to high-paying passengers who account for a disproportionate share of airline revenue.

Andrew Nocella, the airline’s chief commercial officer, says United doesn’t have enough business-class seats on premium routes, “and this fixed that problem.”

Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst at Atmosphere Research, said United’s announcement was a direct challenge to Delta Air Lines and its strong following among high-fare passengers.

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