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Anyone buy the United Economy Plus annual subscription?
Old 02-17-2016, 08:02 AM   #1
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Anyone buy the United Economy Plus annual subscription?

When we fly we usually travel a long distance and so Economy plus upgrades contribute quite a bit to the flight. DH is very tall 6'4", and most of it seems to be in his legs! So that extra legroom makes a huge difference for him.

I like being forward in the plane and being in a section that is sometimes less crowded, although I have been on flights that were completely full. We also get priority boarding (next after premium) with our MileagePlus Credit Card which means we're usually settled in quickly before the huge crush - especially on a full flight.

I see that United offers an Economy Plus annual subscription that covers upgrading to Economy plus for a year. As far as I can tell the only restriction is that economy seats must be available. There is variation in prices between specific economy plus seats on a given flight, but as far as I can tell all are covered under the subscription - provided they are available.

Lower 48 US is $499 a year, $200 to add a companion on the same reservation, $100 for Central and North America plus Hawaii, or $200 global. I think there are more options for more traveling companions.

So for us, $899 covers our upgrades including global flights. Well, we spent $439 each on economy plus upgrades on a single Europe trip last year - that's $878 total. We had five legs on that trip, so it really added up.

I had read some folks thinking you had to do a lot of flying for it to be worth it. Clearly, having a flying companion makes a big difference, as $499 might take a while to overcome, but $349.50 per person doesn't take as long to match for domestic.

We're planning a flight to Hawaii as well as a later flight to Europe this year. And the Hawaii flight E+ seats we would like will total up to $744 (six legs), so we'll have already be close to the cost of the subscription. I'll probably buy it as I expect the Europe flight upgrades to be at least $650.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:44 AM   #2
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This is an interesting option. It eliminates, or at least reduces, the uncertainty around economy plus pricing and makes it easier to build a travel budget for the upcoming year. We have a fair amount of long distance travel in mind, this is something to look into.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:53 AM   #3
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This is an interesting option. It eliminates, or at least reduces, the uncertainty around economy plus pricing and makes it easier to build a travel budget for the upcoming year. We have a fair amount of long distance travel in mind, this is something to look into.
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/app...onomyPlus.aspx

For long distances with two people traveling, I suspect one trip will cover most of it and two will result in major savings.

Unless you live near a major hub and fly mostly non stop flights.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:07 AM   #4
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does economy plus get free drinks like delta comfort? if so, you need to factor that in


what's sad is that you have to upgrade to get a "normal" sized seat. If you are in the valley you are likely flying in and out of IAH quite a bit
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:30 AM   #5
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does economy plus get free drinks like delta comfort? if so, you need to factor that in

what's sad is that you have to upgrade to get a "normal" sized seat. If you are in the valley you are likely flying in and out of IAH quite a bit
No free drinks - just more room and faster exit (shorter entrance too).

Even petite I find the regular economy seats claustrophobic.

Yep fly in and out of IAH all the time. Occasionally to DFW if American has a compelling counter offer. An extra short leg. The consolation is that McAllen airport is uncrowded, security check through is a breeze - usually no waits at all, and the airport is a short drive away.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:07 AM   #6
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That's an interesting option. We stick it out in the economy seats, thought, and probably will for the foreseeable future. I could see that being an option when we travel more, but right now our trips are a bit too random for it to pay off.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:14 AM   #7
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what's sad is that you have to upgrade to get a "normal" sized seat. If you are in the valley you are likely flying in and out of IAH quite a bit
What is a "normal" size seat? On Delta their Economy Comfort buys you more legroom, but the seat width is the same and there is still one shared armrest between the seats. Oh yes, you do get free drinks, premium entertainment and board a bit early. But, the main benefit is the few extra inches of legroom and a bit more recline. If you are next to a very large person, or Mr. Elbows, you will still have a problem on Delta.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:17 AM   #8
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What is a "normal" size seat? On Delta their Economy Comfort buys you more legroom, but the seat width is the same and there is still one shared armrest between the seats. Oh yes, you do get free drinks, premium entertainment and board a bit early. But, the main benefit is the few extra inches of legroom and a bit more recline. If you are next to a very large person, or Mr. Elbows, you will still have a problem on Delta.
United, not Delta - I agree the delta seats are the same size - on united you have to upgrade to get a normal sized seat, well normal for me anyway. I don't know how these seats keep getting smaller.

What is "very large"? I guess I am since I'm unable to move in an economy seat. I laugh at people who ask if I'm going to w*rk on the plane. HEHEHAHAHAH I can't even open a laptop in economy.

For personal travel, I usually pony up for first class on delta if the fare is right. For an extra $100 one way I get two free checked bags, free drinks etc. Way worth it IMO.

For business travel I get the seat upgrade to a normal sized seat but not first class.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:49 AM   #9
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I'm still living off my Premier Gold status on United and can just pick a an Economy Plus seat when booking. This status will probably end this year . I'll certainly look into the annual subscription then as I like the legroom you get with those seats.

I just looked at the United site and it appears you can't cash in miles to purchase the subscription rather than using funds (that would be nice).
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:53 AM   #10
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What is "very large"? I guess I am since I'm unable to move in an economy seat. I laugh at people who ask if I'm going to w*rk on the plane. HEHEHAHAHAH I can't even open a laptop in economy.
.
Useful info about seats here: Compare Airline Seats - SeatGuru

Economy often is a 17 inch seat. Shameful! Heck that's smaller than many kids car seats. A business class seat is typically about 19.5 wide (continental US travel) and gets you enough room to open a laptop - usually.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:03 PM   #11
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I just do not fly enough to warrant paying for an upgrade like this....


I also think ticket prices for these upgrades are way overpriced... if they were more reasonable I would pay the extra for the space... but normally it is a huge cost...

Now, my DW did fly recently and the ticket price for the upgrade was $20... well worth the money...
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:19 PM   #12
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Useful info about seats here: Compare Airline Seats - SeatGuru

Economy often is a 17 inch seat. Shameful! Heck that's smaller than many kids car seats. A business class seat is typically about 19.5 wide (continental US travel) and gets you enough room to open a laptop - usually.
Yep I definitely use seatguru!
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:29 PM   #13
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Here is what I do nowadays: I never pay for Economy Plus or whatever. I don't have Gold status, but I do have Silver for another few months. When I book seats, United always asks if I want to pay for Economy Plus. I always decline. Those seats become available for free about 2 days to 1 day before the flight. I just go online and change my seat then. One can also change seats at check-in for no charge. It works about 90% of the time. I learned this when the customer service rep would change my seat for me whenever I checked luggage, "Oh, let me give you a better seat."

As for the Mileage Plus credit card, that is a joke. I have one, but everybody has one, so everybody boards in group 2. Group 1 is the gold elite. Group 2 is everybody else. Groups 3, 4, and 5 are losers who have no credit cards and had to pay cash for their tickets.

Wait a minute, I'm going to have to delete this post because I've blabbed how to get Economy Plus without paying for them. Plus I have insulted the 3 people who are in group 3, 4, and 5 (one person per each of those groups).
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:09 PM   #14
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...And the Hawaii flight E+ seats we would like will total up to $744 (six legs),
No wonder you need the additional leg room. When DW and I fly together, we only bring the usual 4 legs!

I'm 6'3" and 240lbs, so I get the need for the deluxe economy seats. And our usual transpacific route is 19 hrs in the air, so a little extra legroom goes a long way. As long as you fly enough to justify the membership, the only downside I see is that this will limit you to flying United (or be worthless if you choose another carrier). Does United always have the best routing and fares for where you want to go? I have lifetime 900k miles on United, but haven't flown more than a flight or two with them in the past 10 years. It's just turned out that there are better options for where I fly now. If you're sure that limiting yourself to United isn't too restrictive, then go for it.

Other options for more leg room are exit row and bulkhead seating, but they have their drawbacks too (reclining, storage, video screens).
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Old 02-17-2016, 06:14 PM   #15
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No wonder you need the additional leg room. When DW and I fly together, we only bring the usual 4 legs!

I'm 6'3" and 240lbs, so I get the need for the deluxe economy seats. And our usual transpacific route is 19 hrs in the air, so a little extra legroom goes a long way. As long as you fly enough to justify the membership, the only downside I see is that this will limit you to flying United (or be worthless if you choose another carrier). Does United always have the best routing and fares for where you want to go? I have lifetime 900k miles on United, but haven't flown more than a flight or two with them in the past 10 years. It's just turned out that there are better options for where I fly now. If you're sure that limiting yourself to United isn't too restrictive, then go for it.

Other options for more leg room are exit row and bulkhead seating, but they have their drawbacks too (reclining, storage, video screens).
United is the most convenient usually and competitive. The other is American, but the routing through DFW isn't usually as convenient.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:57 PM   #16
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OP, with all the traveling on United, don't you have Silver status? If so, you (and companion in the same PNR) are eligible for free E+ at check-in. And they are typically available. Just remember to check-in as soon as online check-in opens.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:52 PM   #17
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I won't be holding my breath waiting but it would be nice to see the American carriers copy some of the International carriers and offer an economy plus seat that no only offers more leg room and recline but is also bigger/wider than standard economy. Some of the Asian carriers offer it and it's a big improvement on longer overseas flights.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:56 PM   #18
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OP, with all the traveling on United, don't you have Silver status? If so, you (and companion in the same PNR) are eligible for free E+ at check-in. And they are typically available. Just remember to check-in as soon as online check-in opens.
No, I don't have Silver status.

And even if I did, I don't know if I want to wait until check-in or the 24 hour window to select my seat. I can already see a bunch of E+ seats are taken on the long legs even though it's almost 2 months out.

DH is kind of picky about his seating, and I really try to accommodate. Neither of us will take a middle seat. We sometimes both do aisle seats.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:59 PM   #19
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I won't be holding my breath waiting but it would be nice to see the American carriers copy some of the International carriers and offer an economy plus seat that no only offers more leg room and recline but is also bigger/wider than standard economy. Some of the Asian carriers offer it and it's a big improvement on longer overseas flights.
Yes that's what I've been using on Cathay Pacific and EVA Air. They typically cost about 50% more than the lowest cost economy seats, though.

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Old 02-17-2016, 09:03 PM   #20
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Here is what I do nowadays: I never pay for Economy Plus or whatever. I don't have Gold status, but I do have Silver for another few months. When I book seats, United always asks if I want to pay for Economy Plus. I always decline. Those seats become available for free about 2 days to 1 day before the flight. I just go online and change my seat then. One can also change seats at check-in for no charge. It works about 90% of the time. I learned this when the customer service rep would change my seat for me whenever I checked luggage, "Oh, let me give you a better seat."
I don't have silver status.

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As for the Mileage Plus credit card, that is a joke. I have one, but everybody has one, so everybody boards in group 2. Group 1 is the gold elite. Group 2 is everybody else. Groups 3, 4, and 5 are losers who have no credit cards and had to pay cash for their tickets.
It certainly hasn't been a joke for me. First of all - first checked bag is free for me and a companion. That was the original motivation.

Second - yes, Group 2 is sometimes large. But groups 3, 4, and 5 are still even larger. I have gotten on several full international flights, even with a big group 2, gotten to my seat quickly because it's an E+ seat, and gotten bags stowed and been well settled before the aisles are jammed with people and everyone desperately trying to stuff their carry-on bags.

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Wait a minute, I'm going to have to delete this post because I've blabbed how to get Economy Plus without paying for them. Plus I have insulted the 3 people who are in group 3, 4, and 5 (one person per each of those groups).
This is well known if someone has premier status. And no comment on the second sentence.
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