United Airlines to launch Premium Plus, aka 'premium economy'

By David Flynn, January 19 2018
United Airlines to launch Premium Plus, aka 'premium economy'

United Airlines is set to add a true 'premium economy' seat to international flights under the Premium Plus brand.

The Premium Plus experience will include wider seats with more recline and legroom, with United also promising "upgraded dining on china dinnerware, free alcoholic beverages, a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow, an amenity kit and more."

To date, the Star Alliance carrier has – like US competitors American Airlines and Delta Air Lines – opted for an Economy Plus cabin with the same seat and meals as economy, only with extra legroom.

However, recent years have seen both American and Delta add a dedicated premium economy class, and United is now keen to follow suit.

The airline will reveal full details – including the aircraft to be fitted with Premium Plus and the routes they'll fly – in the coming months.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 69

United could gold plate their seats and offer them for free - I'd still never fly with them again.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

And a big AMEN to that Sr Batrill

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 16

United have premium economy it is what they call Business Class.................worst airline in the air today since they killed off everything that was good from Continental........I am with you; never United, ever.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 207

Ditto what Sr Batrill said!!

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 32

I wonder if this will replace Economy Plus.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 468

American retained Main Cabin Extra when they added Premium Economy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 35

Most likely not when you consider that they have 40+ Economy Plus on just about any of their mainline aircraft, to an upwards of 100+. They can still sell the seat, but they're just trying to catch another market segment.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 163

United will need to go along way to create the cabin impression they are seeking. It is more than just putting in a new seat/cabin style and offering a 5th avenue blanket.. Will be interesting to see the final offering and pricing, but won't hold my breath.

I find the major American Airlines (United, American, Delta) all so old school.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 123

And it’s about time... now the lucrative pacific market will have not just QF holding a monopoly on Y+ and then VA with their reasonable fares, but AA, DL soon, and then UA as well. This will see the Y+ fares decrease across the airlines in the same way that J fares hit as low as $5K on these airlines when they run promo sales.

18 Jan 2015

Total posts 3

It is so sad to see the decline of U.S. flagged airlines. I refuse to fly them internationally. Give me SQ, JAL, AZ or Quantas. I worked in Asia for ten years and realized that the American airlines must require that their cabin staff be former prison guards! They are so put out to have to serve you. United can come up with any new name, seats or other gimmick but it's still United, uncivil service. Unless their staff can have a complete attitude change I see no reason to ever fly them. I'm one disgruntled American.

British Airways - Executive Club

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 3

I wouldn't hold my breath. UA announced Polaris business class in June 2016 but the first aircraft fitted with the (already outdated) new seats wasn't flying internationally until well into 2017 - and it was only one. The fleet isn't planned to be fully Polaris for many years. I imagine the PE cabin will be the same.

I would love to know how many of the people who continually rubbish United have actually flown on them recently. I have flown United Polaris several times in the past year and the comfort of the seat, the professionalism of the crew and the quality and speed of the meals was better than QF and VA. I would fly them again in an instant.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 207

I flew UA Polaris HKG-SFO a month ago. Impressive hard product. Miserable soft product. Food was mediocre by international J standards. The wine list was OK, although none of the FA's could recommend which of the white wine selections would have paired best with my meal choice. FA's were brusque throughout the flight with all pax and each other, service was either rushed or glacial and poorly coordinated (e.g. one half of the cabin not getting a pre-meal drink service at all, over 30-minute wait after finishing meals before trays were cleared away, to name just two examples), lots of noisy argumentative banter from the galley (a couple of pax actually asked the FA's to quieten down). Having flown UA regularly over the years, it seems the investment in their hard product is not being matched by enough investment in their soft product, because their people are still letting them down as much as they always have.

18 Jan 2015

Total posts 3

Stuart's world makes a logical argument. After being burned by United's service over the years I'm rather hesitant to even give them another chance. Maybe I should try a flight which offers true Polaris service and see if they have changed. If the cabin staff is professional and courteous I'll be most surprised and appreciative. If not, you will certainly hear about it! LOL!

21 Jan 2018

Total posts 1

I have reservations for August to fly to London and Scotland and upgraded to economy plus.

I am very interested in this new premium economy class and would love to know the pricing to even upgrade more I can't wait for the pricing and routes to come out.
I am now wondering if I booked the wrong airline after all your comments on how bad they are.
I hope it's not as bad as you all say.

Sharon55 I suspect a lot of these people haven't flown United in a long time. The product from Australia now is solid - modern, reliable Dreamliners with better food than the old days and cabin crew who really seem to enjoy flying Down Under. I have flown United often of late and they have impressed!

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

I have to agree. I've flown their PS domestic services in business many, many times, and I've never had a big miss.

The 787-9 product to Australia seems decent enough. Six-abreast biz is a little old-hat, but it's what QF have on the 388, and it's fine if you're traveling as a couple.

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