United Premium Plus Bottom Line Review: A great way to spend a daytime flight


I recently noted on the podcast and in a post about status matching to United Gold from American Airlines Platinum status. I did that status match specifically to get a better seat on the way to San Francisco to kick off our Frequent Miler Party of 5 Challenge. As a result of the match, I was able to fly United’s true Premium Plus product on a transcontinental flight from Washington Dulles (IAD) to San Francisco (SFO) yesterday. I have to say: I am impressed. This is a perfectly reasonable way to spend a daytime flight and I could totally see myself taking this home from Europe — particularly if United keeps charging 45K miles for it.

United Premium Plus Bottom Line

After flying across the country on a ~5+hr flight, I have to say that I am impressed with the United Premium Plus seat. The Premium Plus experience doesn’t add anything in that there are no extra freebies in terms of food or drinks (at least not domestically), but for a daytime flight it’s all about the seat and in that regard it exceeds the need.

On a transcontinental flight, Premium Plus is a true step up from economy class, with a wider seat, much larger tray table, leg rests that pop out thanks to increased recline, and a handy flap on the end of the tray table that would be perfect for holding a phone or tablet so you could watch something while you work.

United configures this as a 2-4-2 arrangement on the 777 and I would probably be decidedly less enthusiastic if seated in a middle seat in anything but the bulkhead row since it would be a pain getting in and out. That said, traveling as a family of four, it would probably be really convenient to have everyone close by and yet not on top of one another. One of the things I liked the most was not feeling like I was crammed against my seatmate (which was especially noticeable in contrast to the very small regional jet I flew to Washington). I was definitely happy that I was able to snag a bulkhead aisle seat and I would certainly go for that again in the future.

The in-flight entertainment is on a reasonably large screen that pops out from the center console and they include premium-ish over-ear headphones. I would definitely book this for a daytime flight from Europe to the US or from the East Coast to West Coast (and in a pinch perhaps on an overnight transcon).

How I booked it

I did a status match from American Airlines Platinum status to United Gold status a few weeks ago right before booking this flight. Much to my surprise, the status match was approved instantly and since I was matched to United Gold I was able to select Premium Plus seating at the time of booking for free. I should note that a reader pointed out that a United Gold member can not select Premium Plus seating on the Newark to San Francisco or Los Angeles routes, but it is possible on the routes from Washington, DC. I paid $282 for economy class from Albany, NY to San Francisco and selected the Premium Plus seating for free, which was a great deal considering that a seat in Premium Plus was going for north of $500 at the time I booked.

Photos and Captions Follow

The seat was great if you don’t need a flat bed. It was wide and much comfier than a typical economy class seat, with plenty of separation from your neighbor.
The tray table is in the arm rest on one side and the arm wrest on the inside creates some separation between seats.
There was plenty of legroom in the bulkhead seat to have my backpack in between my seat and the wall with plenty of space for my legs.
One thing I didn’t care for was the placement of the in-seat entertainment in the bulkhead, which was directly left of my left leg. That was occasionally uncomfortable when my backpack was at my feet.
I was pleased that the seat was a power recliner. The legs only swing out to an angle, but it is a simple push-button system.


The tray table came with a cup stain, but also a convenient flap that could be used to prop a phone or tablet for viewing. More importantly, there was plenty of tray table space for my laptop and my phone or a drink next to it on the tray table.
This is that flap in action being used to prop up by battery pack, though I imagine the purpose is geared toward making it possible to watch your phone.
There was power at each seat, though I heard a passenger or two asking where to find it. It’s sort of hidden in the center arm rest behind you (under your elbow).
This was the maximum amount of leg support from the recliner, which isn’t a ton but certainly felt more comfortable than the last regular economy class seat in which I sat.
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We just flew Frankfurt to Newark and had Premium Plus bulkhead seats and they were great. I have long legs and had tons of room.


Thanks, Nick! Good to know for our trip to Europe next year (hopefully)


flew premium plus from ewr to lax and got complimentary food and drinks as well as premier access


“The Premium Plus experience doesn’t add anything in that there are no extra freebies in terms of food or drinks (at least not domestically)”.
The confusion is that you were not flying in Premium Plus. Your boarding pass indicated you were in Economy (technically E+ which your status allowed you to choose). United occasionally uses planes with a P+ cabin on routes where that product is not marketed. While physically a more expensive seat, it’s serviced and sold as just E+. On P+ marketed flights it is not a complimentary upgrade.


Thank you. I’m UA Gold and have spent the last day confused over how Nick was getting P+ for free.

Alex H

Nick I’m curious how long you get the status for? I’m American platinum and don’t need united gold right away but would be nice to have!

Justin p

I am flying in this cabin from O’hare to Maui in November. My rate includes complimentary drinks, food, pillow, blanket, headphones, etc…

Must be on a per route basis how much you get!


“The Premium Plus experience doesn’t add anything in that there are no extra freebies in terms of food or drinks (at least not domestically)”.
The Premium Transcontinental routes like EWR-LAX/SFO where the product is sold as a class of service, not extra legroom, do include hot meals from the Polaris cabin.