Of the big 3 United States based airlines, American Airlines has led the way with premium economy. They were the first airline to announce the cabin in 2015 and the first airline to install the product across its entire fleet. Delta Air Lines and Untied Airlines created their own premium economy product and announced back in 2016 and in early 2018, respectively. Delta has been very slowly adding the service to its planes along with the Delta One Suites, while United has finally started to catch up to the rest of the competition.

Today, United Airlines announced that as of March 30, 2019 they will operate 20+ international routes with the Premium Plus product and will begin formally selling the cabin on December 3, 2018. Pricing should be competitive and variable, per route, and you will be able to redeem miles for seats and upgrades in Premium Plus too. Elites will still be able to jump from Economy to Untied Polaris business class pending a purchase in fare bucket “W” or higher, although Premium Plus passengers will have a higher priority to United Polaris business class upgrades.

a row of seats in an airplane

What’s Included in Premium Plus?

The Premium Plus seats are similar to what you’ll find in domestic first class with some enhanced tweaks. Each seat has up to 19 inches of width, 38 inches of pitch, and 6 inches of recline. The seats have leg rests and foot rests.  Passengers also get a 13-inch in-flight entertainment screen, enhanced food offerings, complimentary beverages, dedicated power and USB outlets, Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and noise-reducing headphones.

Passengers connecting to a Premium Plus flight will be able to select Economy Plus seats free of charge on all connecting segments that do not have a premium economy cabin. United has said that Premium Plus tickets don’t include lounge access, but customers will be eligible for discounted access to the United Club. Prices are not known at this point. An important designation here is that it is only for United Clubs not Polaris Lounges, which we consider to be the nicest lounges in America.

rows of seats in an airplane

The Routes

So far United’s new Premium Plus cabin is only available  on select 777-300ERs, select 777-200ERs and all 787-10 Dreamliners.

777-300ER Schedule

Start Date Flight # Depart Arrive
3/30/2019 UA 179 Newark (EWR) Hong Kong (HKG)
3/30/2019 UA 48 Newark (EWR) Mumbai (BOM)
3/30/2019 UA 90 Newark (EWR) Tel Aviv (TLV)
3/30/2019 UA 79 Newark (EWR) Tokyo (NRT)
3/30/2019 UA 58 San Francisco (SFO) Frankfurt (FRA)
3/30/2019 UA 869 San Francisco (SFO) Hong Kong (HKG)
3/30/2019 UA 871 San Francisco (SFO) Taipei (TPE)
3/30/2019 UA 954 San Francisco (SFO) Tel Aviv (TLV)
3/30/2019 UA 837 San Francisco (SFO) Tokyo (NRT)
4/29/2019 UA 901 San Francisco (SFO) London (LHR)

777-200ER Schedule

Start Date Flight # Depart Arrive
3/30/2019 UA 999 Newark (EWR) Brussels (BRU)
3/30/2019 UA 57 Newark (EWR) Paris (CDG)
3/30/2019 UA 917 San Francisco (SFO) Auckland (AKL)
3/30/2019 UA 888 San Francisco (SFO) Beijing (PEK)
3/30/2019 UA 926 San Francisco (SFO) Frankfurt (FRA)
4/29/2019 UA 990 San Francisco (SFO) Paris (CDG)
3/30/2019 UA 950 Washington, D.C. (IAD) Brussels (BRU)
4/29/2019 UA 915 Washington, D.C. (IAD) Paris (CDG)
5/22/2019 UA 72 Washington, D.C. (IAD) Tel Aviv (TLV)

787-10 Schedule

Start Date Flight # Depart Arrive
3/30/2019 UA 960 Newark (EWR) Frankfurt (FRA)
3/30/2019 UA 84 Newark (EWR) Tel Aviv (TLV)
4/29/2019 UA 57 Newark (EWR) Paris (CDG)
4/29/2019 UA 120 Newark (EWR) Barcelona (BCN)
5/22/2019 UA 999 Newark (EWR) Brussels (BRU)
5/22/2019 UA 23 Newark (EWR) Dublin (DUB)

If you are traveling aboard a fight configured with a Premium Plus seats not listed above, the Premium Plus cabin will be designated and sold as Economy Plus which are free to select as an elite member.

an airplane with many seats

In Conclusion

It’s great to see more airlines trying to add more affordable larger seat options to their aircraft rather than slashing personal space and adding more rows. Premium economy is a great way to earn affordable status with an airline. While United doesn’t currently fall into the top or bottom of our Premium Economy rankings, we hope produce a head to head product comparison among the big 3, once the seats are more easily accessible. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it wind up on the list soon.

Images Via United Airlines