The Closest Thing You'll Get to Premium Economy on United
American Airlines recently began flying its new premium economy product, and Delta's gearing up to launch a new cabin of its own next month, called Premium Select. That leaves United as the sole legacy carrier to not offer a cabin between coach and biz — and even though we've heard rumblings of something on the horizon, officially there's no indication that will change.
However, I noticed something interesting ahead of my trip on United's inaugural flight with the retrofitted 767-300ER over the weekend: two rows of Economy Plus at the far back of the cabin.
What's even more peculiar about these seats is that just four seats occupy the same space that six do on the other side of the plane — implying that there's even more legroom than you'll typically find in Economy Plus.
And that is indeed the case — these Economy Plus seats are special, given that they're often reserved as crew rests for the flight attendants. That's the purpose they served on my 8-hour return from London to Newark, but on our sub-6-hour outbound across the Atlantic, all four seats were available for purchase — and, better yet, all elite members could select them for free.
After seeing these special seats, I'd even consider paying the extra $193 one-way to lock one in, especially if there was availability in row 40, given that those seats offer even more room. And while all four seats do have leg rests, passengers can't use the slide-out blackout curtain, unfortunately — it's only available for the crew.
While United offers similar crew rest seats on its other 767s, these are the nicest I've seen yet — and they're the first Economy Plus seats I've seen located at the far back of the plane. (Note: starboard seats in rows 40 and 41 do not offer extra legroom.)
Even if you don't manage to score a seat in row 40 (or 41), you'll likely find economy to be more appealing on the retrofitted 767-300ER — since the cabin width limits economy seating to 2-3-2, the airline is able to offer a seat width of up to 18.5 inches, which is a tremendous improvement over the brand-new 777-300ER.
In addition to the four crew rest seats outlined above, the new 767 offers 46 Economy Seats at the front of the cabin — most have 34 inches of pitch, but center (DEF) seats in row 21 have a tremendous 43 inches, as you'll see in a follow-up post later this week.
Unfortunately there's only one aircraft flying with these new seats so far, and it won't be scheduled to operate any specific flight until 1-2 days before departure — so, for now, you won't be able to plan far ahead if you really want to travel on this particular plane.
See these posts for more on United's new 767-300ER: