United Adds Boston to Premium Cross-Country Service

United Airlines is adding a new route to its premium transcontinental service and offering meals for passengers in upgraded coach seats on the flights.

Service between Boston and San Francisco will join the lineup of premium cross-country markets, which also include routes from Newark, New Jersey, to Los Angeles and San Francisco, United Continental Holdings Inc. said in a statement Wednesday. Fliers who pay extra for Economy Plus seating will get free hot meals and a complimentary alcoholic drink on the updated transcontinental service, which starts July 1.

United is playing catch-up to Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. in expanding or upgrading its offerings on highly competitive cross-country routes. United is dropping the name p.s. Premium Service and will refer to the product as premium transcontinental service, said Maggie Schmerin, the Chicago-based airline’s director of brand public relations.

Unlike Delta and American, United won’t provide complimentary meals to passengers in regular coach seats on premium cross-country flights. Delta said in February it was restoring the amenity for economy fliers on 12 transcontinental U.S. routes, while American also returned free meals in the main cabin between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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