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What happens to all those empty "Economy Plus" seats?

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I have a full-fare, Y, ticket on United Airlines - US to London and return. I am NOT a UA Elite member. On one of my flights, I have no seat assignment although my flight is "confirmed" According to the seating map, there are no empty seats on this particular flight -- no empty "free" seats that is. There are nearly 14 rows of empty "Economy Plus" seats on the flight. In order to get an EP seat assignment in advance, it will cost me an extra $99. What happens if I don't pay and just go to the airport? Will I eventually be assigned one of the empty EP seats in order to make my flight? Not being a UA frequent flier, I don't know how their system works.

Can anyone offer some insight? Thanks

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