The Chicago-based carrier is supporting the upgrade via an online multi-media campaign to promote the "United First international business class," which the airline will launch this fall.
The effort, including a Web site, touts business-class features like video-on-demand and other media, as well as new menu selections, a new wine list, upgraded restrooms and other amenities.
The campaign features an animated icon of a woman sleeping on an airborne feather. The banners link to suitedreams.united.com, with embedded video that features the seating amenities, new menu selections developed by Chef Charlie Trotter and wine offerings from Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost. Tag: "It's time to fly."
United emerged from the shadow of bankruptcy in February last year, after four years under Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection and restructuring with the help of a $3 billion loan from JP Morgan Chase.
The company is the latest among international carriers attempting to differentiate themselves in the lucrative business-class segment of the market, post 9/11.
Companies like Air France, British Airways, Delta, and newcomers like Eos, which only serves business-class travelers, have tried to upgrade both pre-flight and on-flight service. Eos, for instance, speeds travelers through security, as does Air France.
British Airways, which is taking over terminal 5 at London's Heathrow International Airport, says it will spend £60 million to build six business-class lounges.
Delta Airlines, for its part, announced last year that it would begin introducing its own lie-flat seating in suite-style compartments by early next year, when the Atlanta-based carrier takes delivery of the new Boeing 777 aircraft.
And American Airlines, which began its own business-class upgrade program last summer, said on Monday that it will begin installing fold-flat business class seats on its entire fleet of 47 Boeing 777 planes, while adding its suite-style compartments to certain first-class cabins.