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mamamia2 Apr 25th, 2011 02:21 PM

United B777 to Europe: worth $99 to upgrade to Economy Plus ?
We're leaving Friday ORD to FRA on a UA, B-777.

Since our tickets are with Continental we got seats in the back of the plane (at least that's what my agent explained to me): 38J, and 39H & J... Not the very last raw (43), but still not something to be too excited about... Especially me, being claustrophobic...

The UA agent tells me today that the flight is quite full, but we could upgrade to Economy Plus for $99 a ticket, doing it online, 24 hrs prior to flight, or at the airport.

Needs your advice, for a trans-Atlantic flight, is there a significant enough difference in comfort for us to pay that money? And is there any chance we get it for free at the counter?


DonTopaz Apr 25th, 2011 03:05 PM

39 H/J are window & aisle, 38J is window. If you pay the money for econ+, you will not get a window/aisle combo; they're all taken (both the 2:24pm flight and the 6:15pm flight).

The extra leg room is definitely a benefit and welcome in the e+ seats. But the width is still the same, and you get the same meals, [surly] flight attendants, and other features of economy travel on UA. Lots of open e+ seats on the late (6:15) flight at the moment, which is why they're trying to push them.

julia1 Apr 25th, 2011 04:15 PM

Doubt you would get it for free at the counter, unless you have status. If you're claustrophobic, you won't like 39H because the curvature of the plane steals some of its space. With E+ you get more legroom, between rows, but not more width. And you're further forward, which may feel less claustrophobic. $99 sounds pretty reasonable, as long as you don't get stuck in a middle seat in the center section.

mamamia2 Apr 25th, 2011 07:48 PM

Yes, our flight is at 2:24, so yes, I see only seats available are in the middle raws...

Maybe we'll get a bit earlier to the airport and see if there are any window seats. From what I learned, the map online is not always telling the full truth.... Unless passengers don't show up to their flights, not sure....

rkkwan Apr 25th, 2011 07:54 PM

Irrelevant now, but even though you booked with Continental, you could have gotten the UA PNR for your reservations and change your seats on Or by calling United.

mamamia2 Apr 25th, 2011 10:27 PM

I actually talked to an agent who was very helpful with some other issues.... He claimed that as of now, their system still looks at Continental as a separate airline, thus the seating map I see on my screen shows the plane as being fully booked, while he can see lots of vacant seats....

He suggested we get it done at the airport. I say if the plane has lots of vacant seats when we arrive at the airport, than why pay $99, if we can switch soon after take off?

ms_go Apr 26th, 2011 03:02 AM

I'm looking at for UA944 on Friday. It shows Y5, which means that economy is pretty close to being full. All regular economy seats are showing as occupied, while a little over half the E+ seats are available. Together, those points tell me that there are a lot of confirmed passengers who don't yet have seat assignments (not eligible for E+ but nothing available in regular E). There will be a little shuffling between now and Friday, maybe, as upgrades get processed, but most of those currently without seat assignments will end up getting E+ seats at the gate, shortly before boarding. Chance of getting E+ for free when you already have seat assignments is slim.

<i>I say if the plane has lots of vacant seats when we arrive at the airport, than why pay $99, if we can switch soon after take off?</i>

In my experience, most United flight attendants are pretty good about not allowing this. And I've even seen other passengers notify flight attendants when people have tried to "upgrade" themselves.

rkkwan Apr 26th, 2011 03:05 AM

The regular economy section is either booked full, or they've stopped letting people switch seats until at the airport. So there's nothing you can do.

However, economy plus section is wide open. Plenty of 5-across rows in the middle totally open.

rkkwan Apr 26th, 2011 03:07 AM

But anyways, that wasn't what I was talking about. I meant, earlier, soon after you booked your tickets, you could have changed your seats, regardless of whether you book it through UA or CO.

qwovadis Apr 26th, 2011 04:35 AM

I am over 6 feet need all the legroom/width I can get

though I just flew back on the 2 seats in the back

enjoyed not sitting with another person just my wife.

still quite cramped though and seats did not recline fully

the upgrade for a low price is always worth it for me

for seat width and legroom

good article on this and new designs in the most recent

qwovadis Apr 26th, 2011 04:38 AM

also the back of the plane has a lot more

"sway" to and fro with turbulence not wise

if seasickness prone.

mamamia2 Apr 26th, 2011 08:46 AM

rkkwan, believe me, I tried changing it from day one, first asking the travel agent and then trying doing it online by myself, I couldn't. That's when the agent was telling me CO tickets are treated differently than "real" UA tickets.... Maybe she meant "passengers" instead of "tickets"?

rkkwan Apr 26th, 2011 05:13 PM

Oh well, that has not been my experience, but like people say, YMMV. :)

mrwunrfl Apr 26th, 2011 11:35 PM

30 HJ and 30B are open. So is 30B. Lots of legroom.

Do you have status on Continental? If you do then you can get a status match online. It took a week or more for Continental to match my UA status. But you might be able to get a status match to UA for your return.

If I had 39H I would definitely pay for E+ if I didn't have status.

Counting on moving up to E+ after takeoff is not a very good idea.

mamamia2 Apr 27th, 2011 07:26 AM

No status at either of them.... I guess we'll have a little business to do at the airport.....


sf7307 Apr 27th, 2011 09:02 AM

I've also seen the flight attendants move people out of e+ seats they didn't pay for. No different than moving into an empty business or first class seat really.

surfmom Apr 27th, 2011 09:57 AM

We just flew home on E+ on SAS (free upgrade). For $99, I would do it in a heartbeat! The extra space was wonderful and while E was pretty full, E+ was not, so my kids were able to move around into empty seats as they needed. After takeoff, they drew the curtain, so no one could move up there even if they tried. I don't think the FA's would have allowed it.

mamamia2 Apr 27th, 2011 11:28 AM

Since we're talking.... Are they still using the traditional headphones to give us passengers on those flights, or are they now giving us those tiny earbuds that keep falling and do little to reduce the outside noise?

A friend of mine gave me a pair of those "noise canceling" headphones which must be doing a great job but are quite bulky and heavy. The plug looks just like any regular headphone plug, so if United is gonna give me small earbuds, I'd rather bring my own cheap headphones.


rkkwan Apr 27th, 2011 12:04 PM

surfmom - SAS has real premium economy. UA only has economy plus which is some as economy with just extra legroom. Same seat, same food, etc.

And to the OP, no, you cannot just move into E+ on UA. If you must have them, then pay for them.

wally34949 Apr 27th, 2011 01:18 PM

I flew to Hawaii twice with United this year.,once in Economy Plus and once in economy. When I sat in Economy, I had the isle seat and someone had the window seat. The middle seat was empty. When I sat in Economy Plus, I had the isle seat and both the middle and window seat were occupied.

I would take economy over economy plus only if I knew there was an empty seat next to me.

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