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 youre OK withall 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.

Get extra legroom and a seat in front of the Economy sections with Economy Plus®.

Economy Plus is available on all United flights and most United Express® flights. You can upgrade to an Economy Plus seat at any time from booking to check-in.

I was able to select Economy Plus seats when I checked in for my flight because, at the time, I had Silver Elite status. 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.

a person's legs in a seat belt

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.

a person's legs in a seat with a bag inside

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),

a screenshot of a phone

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 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 pretty much 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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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Tennen February 10, 2024 - 7:05 pm

IMHO, UA E+ seats are the most overpriced and offer the fewest benefits. Unlike other airlines’ extra legroom seats, E+ doesn’t get early boarding or free drinks, but they’re routinely more expensive. It’s strange to me that the pricing is so out of whack – IIRC, on most UA aircraft, the E+ to E- ratio is better than almost all other airlines. They probably have to give it away for free more often (to non-status Basic fare pax or others without seat assignments), so I don’t know why they don’t try to sell them at a decent price…


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