a row of seats in an airplane

Oat milk is the new soy milk, cross fit is the new cocktail bar and premium economy is the new economy. As of this week, United is officially selling premium economy seats on international flights, bridging the gap between economy and business in both price and amenity. At the best of times, premium economy is designed to be much more than a larger seat and by all indications, United will offer something worth a peek. So, should you buy in?

headphones on a chairMarch 30th, 2019 Premium Economy

United is selling a bonafide premium economy cabin for the first time. Seats are now on sale, for flights departing from March 30th, 2019 and onward on a variety of international routes operated by the Boeing 777-300ER, 777-200ER and 787-10 Dreamliner. It’s understood that 787-9 aircraft will be amongst the very last to receive the new Polaris business class, and premium economy seating.

a city with water in the backgroundUnited Premium Economy Launch Routes

A solid 17+ flight routes will kick off the initial March 30th launch, with others online throughout 2019. Most of the action will kick off around flights from New York Liberty International (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington Dulles (IAD). A full list of start dates is as follows…

3/30/2019 UA 179 Newark (EWR) Hong Kong (HKG)
3/30/2019 UA 48 Newark (EWR) Mumbai (BOM)
3/30/2019 UA 90 Newark (EWR) Tel Aviv (TLV)
3/30/2019 UA 79 Newark (EWR) Tokyo (NRT)
3/30/2019 UA 999 Newark (EWR) Brussels (BRU)
3/30/2019 UA 57 Newark (EWR) Paris (CDG)
3/30/2019 UA 960 Newark (EWR) Frankfurt (FRA)
3/30/2019 UA 84 Newark (EWR) Tel Aviv (TLV)
4/29/2019 UA 57 Newark (EWR) Paris (CDG)
4/29/2019 UA 120 Newark (EWR) Barcelona (BCN)
5/22/2019 UA 999 Newark (EWR) Brussels (BRU)
5/22/2019 UA 23 Newark (EWR) Dublin (DUB)
3/30/2019 UA 58 San Francisco (SFO) Frankfurt (FRA)
3/30/2019 UA 869 San Francisco (SFO) Hong Kong (HKG)
3/30/2019 UA 871 San Francisco (SFO) Taipei (TPE)
3/30/2019 UA 954 San Francisco (SFO) Tel Aviv (TLV)
3/30/2019 UA 837 San Francisco (SFO) Tokyo (NRT)
4/29/2019 UA 901 San Francisco (SFO) London (LHR)
3/30/2019 UA 917 San Francisco (SFO) Auckland (AKL)
3/30/2019 UA 888 San Francisco (SFO) Beijing (PEK)
3/30/2019 UA 926 San Francisco (SFO) Frankfurt (FRA)
4/29/2019 UA 990 San Francisco (SFO) Paris (CDG)
3/30/2019 UA 950 Washington, D.C. (IAD) Brussels (BRU)
4/29/2019 UA 915 Washington, D.C. (IAD) Paris (CDG)
5/22/2019 UA 72 Washington, D.C. (IAD) Tel Aviv (TLV)

a row of seats in an airplaneThe United Premium Economy Offering

United’s premium economy cabin, known as Premium Plus will offer up to 19” of seat width, compared to 17” found in most United economy seats. There will also be an impressive 38 inches of pitch, compared to just 31” found in economy. A full 6” of recline is also promised. In addition the seats will feature Saks Fifth Avenue pillows and bedding. Customers may use Premier Access for priority check in and will receive early boarding, alcoholic beverages, extra meals and noise cancelling headphones. The entertainment screen is also quite sizable and provides very high end touch screen functionality.

a row of seats with screensIs It Worth The Upgrade?

At the right price, premium economy is the new international travel sweet spot. It puts frequent flyers a lucky upgrade away from business class, and adds a level of comfort and amenity which any reasonable flyer can enjoy comfortably. With Delta and American each launching their own versions to compete with fierce international airline competition, prices have dipped under $800 for round trips to Europe and Asia. At a price like this, it’s impossible to argue with the logic of paying roughly $100-$300 more for a far superior experience.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. Are all United planes with Premium Plus also Polaris equipped planes? It would make a good shortcut to spot the new seats in United’s confusing fleet.

  2. I tried several flights on United’s website and see the new PE seats on the seat map but I never hit a flight that had them available for booking.

  3. Flew from ewr to Bom on United premium economy.waste of money.the only alcohol served were wine and beer.the food was lousy.the proclaimed noise cancelling headphones were cheap headphones made for United.
    Upgrades a big joke the published list remains static and passengers get upgraded on unknown basis

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *