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In recent years, United Airlines introduced a new cabin category on some long haul flights; United Premium Plus. This is a premium economy cabin which sits above Economy Plus, Economy and Basic Economy and below the Business, First and Polaris fare classes.
The Premium Plus cabin includes larger reclining seats, a selection of premium food and drink and a few amenities that you won’t receive in economy. This provides a mid tier cabin, which may not be business class, but it is certainly above the standard economy class flying experience.
This service class is available on United Boeing 767s, 777s, and 787s on Transpacific, Transatlantic, Premium Transcontinental and Hawaiian flights.
What’s Included with United Premium Plus?
The Premium Plus cabin has a number of features that you can enjoy. These include:
The United Premium Plus seats are behind the Polaris business class cabin and they have a similar feel to the United domestic first class. The seat is up to 19 inches wide, which may feel significantly wider compared to basic economy seats.
However, the real difference is the pitch of the seat. You’ll have six inches of recline with up to 38 inches of pitch, ie, the distance between your seat and the one behind you.
Another important feature that you’ll get in Premium Plus is an adjustable footrest. This means that at maximum recline and the right footrest position, you should be able to nap comfortably.
You can reset the footrest simply by using the top of your shoes and pressing up or down.
This is a small detail, but it is subtle and helpful. You can use the hanger for your jacket or to hold a light purse, or your headset when it is not in use.
You’ll find a power outlet behind you, under your armrest. While this may not seem intuitive, you don’t have to bend down and you can rest your phone on the armrest as it is charging.
The headphone jack is with the power outlet, meaning your headphone wire will come from behind you, which can save you some tangling issues.
There is sufficient space to install two different jacks, so whether you’re using upgraded headphones or a 3.5 mm single prong jack, you’ll be able to plug in.
The seat back screen is far larger than you’ll find in regular economy seats.
In most aircraft models, it is 13 inches compared to economy’s nine inches. If you’re on a transatlantic or transpacific flight, you’ll be provided with noise reduction, deluxe stereo headphones.
There is also a remote for the system on the side panel of your seat. You can press the release button to pull it towards you and then stow it away by sliding it back into place.
In Premium Plus, you’ll have a menu that has enhanced meal and drink choices, cloth napkins and silverware on select long haul flights. This includes a hot entree, dessert, fruit and complimentary beverages.
If you’re on an international route, you’ll benefit from a Saks Fifth Avenue bedding set with pillow and blanket along with an amenity kit that contains a pair of earplugs, a toothbrush, sleep mask, a pair of socks and Sunday Riley skincare items.
Finally, as a Premium Plus passenger, you can use the Premier Access airport line, access to dedicated overhead bin space and check up to two bags for free.
On select international flights you can also get discounted access to United Club lounges.
How Can I Upgrade to United Premium Plus?
You can purchase a Premium Plus fare when booking, you simply need to select Premium Plus when you search for your travel itinerary and travel dates. You can then check the costs to see if there is a cheaper time or day to fly, if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
You can also pay for an upgrade but bear in mind the upgrade prices can vary significantly depending on the itinerary. If you want to upgrade to Premium Plus, the cost will be higher if you’ve booked a cheaper ticket.
However, it is possible to use your MileagePlus miles to pay for an upgrade. The redemption rate will depend on the regions of travel and the original fare class. You can sign into your account and then check the MileagePlus cost to upgrade for your existing travel itinerary.
You may also qualify for an upgrade if you’re a Premier member. Premier members are automatically eligible for complimentary Premier upgrades, but upgrade seats are assigned in order of priority. There are no guarantees that you’ll get your upgrade as the priority is given to higher status members.
Does United Premium Plus Get Lounge Access?
Premium Plus customers can receive a discount for United Club access. You’ll need to purchase a trip pass when you book your fare or before you travel.
You can also purchase a discounted one time pass on your day of travel at the United Club location, but you may be declined entry if the lounge is experiencing a high volume of travelers at that time.
How Does United Premium Plus Compare to United Economy and United Polaris?
Since United Premium Plus sits between the Economy and Polaris cabins, it is natural to wonder how Premium Plus compares.
The most obvious difference between the three cabins is the seats. Premium Plus seats have more legroom compared to Economy, but they are not the flat bed seats that you’ll get in Polaris. So, while you can more easily stretch out in Premium Plus, you won’t get that “bed” feel as you do with a Polaris seat.
Another key difference is the boarding priority. Premium Plus customers have Group Two boarding, but Polaris is Group One. The Polaris cabin is right up front and these passengers are the first to board and disembark. However, Premium Plus will be able to board and get comfortable while Economy and the other fare classes are still entering the aircraft.
As a Polaris customer, you can also have access to the business class lounge. While Premium Plus does offer discounted access to the United Lounge, you still need to purchase a one time pass. Polaris customers also get one additional free checked bag compared to Premium Plus customers.
Are United Premium Plus Seats Worth It?
This will come down to a value judgment. If you’re on a long haul flight and prefer to travel in comfort but don’t want to shell out for Polaris, business class or first class, Premium Plus is a good compromise. You can have access to some nice premium touches including more spacious seating and some amenities that you won’t get in the economy cabins to make your flying experience a little more luxurious.
Of course, the amenities do vary according to your itinerary, but in some aircraft models, Premium Plus feels like a separate cabin, so you can enjoy a sense of exclusivity and luxury without needing to pay the business or first class fare prices.
However, if you’re prepared to make some compromises to your creature comforts when you fly, you may not feel as if the hundreds of dollars difference in fares is worth it for you.
United does have a 24 hour flexible booking policy. This allows you to change or cancel your reservation within 24 hours of booking your trip, providing your travel date is at least one week away.
As with first or business class, in Premium Plus, you can choose any available seat within the cabin for free.
Wi-Fi is available on most United flights, but it is not included in Premium Plus fares. You’ll need to purchase a day pass and download the United App to your device before boarding.
United does not publish any age restrictions for passengers in Premium Plus cabins.