Home Airlines Is It Worth Paying For United’s Economy Plus Seats?

Is It Worth Paying For United’s Economy Plus Seats?

by joeheg

United offers several categories of seats on its planes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting because the names are nonspecific and confusing. For US domestic flights, you’ll get to choose from these categories:

  • United First – This is the first-class product on flights within the US and Canada. This will be a seat in a first-class leather recliner.
  • Economy Plus – Extra legroom seats in the front of the Economy cabin
  • Premier Seating – Regular seat but is closer to the front, usually not a middle seat.
  • Economy – Regular seat on the plane including seat selection and carry-on bag
  • Basic Economy – Bare bones ticket. Don’t purchase unless you know all the restrictions this ticket has.

On almost all United domestic flights, there are only two cabins, First and Economy. Despite the price difference, all economy seats are the same.


United Economy Plus passengers DO NOT get preferred status in the United boarding process.


The seat in Economy Plus is the same as you’ll find throughout United’s Main Cabin area. The only difference is that the seats have extra legroom.

Stretch out in Economy Plus with more space to work or relax. Economy Plus seats feature up to 6 inches (15 cm) of extra legroom and are located near the front of the United Economy cabin, helping to get you on your way when you reach your destination. Economy Plus seating is available on all United flights and most United Express® flights. Customers who have selected Basic Economy will not, however, be able to purchase Economy Plus seating.

Since I temporarily have United Silver Elite status, I was able to select Economy Plus seats when I checked in for my flight. Seats are on a space-available basis, so I logged in precisely 24 hours before my trip.

The first flight was a short hop on an E170. I had plenty of room.

My net flight on a 737MAX wasn’t as roomy. I had several inches of clearance between my knees and the seat and could stretch my almost 6ft frame with little difficulty.

In-Flight Service

In Economy Plus you’ll get the same snacks as the rest of the Main Cabin passengers. If you’d like to purchase a larger snack or a drink, you have to register your credit card to your United account before the flight, as they do not accept card payments on United flights.

Is it worth it?

The price for Economy Plus varies depending on the flight length and seat you select. The bulkhead and exit rows are the most expensive, while the middle seats are a few dollars cheaper than the window or aisle seats.

As an example, United is charging from $72 to $94 for a flight from Orlando to Newark (2+ hours),

Many people sitting in Economy Plus aren’t paying for the seats. If available, United Gold, Platinum and 1K members can confirm Economy Plus seats at booking. Silver members, like myself, can upgrade 24 hours before a flight. Available seats are fluid because as lower status levels become eligible, other seats become available as the highest level members get upgraded to First Class.

But if you’re paying for the seats, is it worth it?

It depends on the trip and your personal preferences. If you’re tall and can’t sit in a regular seat comfortably, then a few extra inches of legroom isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. For others, it may be worth the money to sit closer to the front for mobility purposes or if you have a close connection.

For shorter flights, it’s not worth the extra $150-$200 for legroom and a seat closer to the front of the plane.  In addition, I’d much rather pay for Spirit’s Big Front Seat or JetBlue’s Even More Space which gives an extra 7 inches of legroom.

However, I’d consider paying for the space on a redeye flight from the west coast. Those extra inches could make the difference between getting 20 minutes of sleep or 3 hours of sleep.

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