Is It Worth Upgrading To Economy Plus

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On Thursday evening we’ll be flying on our second trip of 2014. We’re heading back to Europe on another short trip thanks to the Wideroe mistake fare back in November.

We took a trip to Norway in January and this time we will be flying into Milan. However, we won’t be staying there too long. (More details to follow in a future post.)

The cost for each of us to fly to Milan was a real bargain. The last time we got in on a deal this cheap was when Kim and I flew to Copenhagen for $151.50 (each) round trip. That trip was almost 3 years ago to the day!

What did we pay for our tickets to Milan? To fly from Newark Airport (EWR) to Milan (MXP), it cost $153.98 (each) for Kim and I with Lucas’ ticket costing $143.32. So for 3 round trip tickets to Europe the total cost is $451.28. Talk about an amazing deal!

This will be Lucas second time flying in his own seat. After turning 2 years old, his days as a lap baby have ended. During our flight to and from Norway, he sat during take-off but was held for almost the whole flight besides some iPad mini and in-flight entertainment time.

So basically Lucas’ seat ended up becoming more space for Kim and I.

A few days back I received an e-mail informing me that I could get “More leg room at a comfortable price“. Economy Plus seats start at an additional $99 each.

This didn’t sound like such a bad deal but I knew that it wasn’t for us. With the space we gain from Lucas’ seat (even if he sits in it!) we have plenty of room and are just fine. If it was just Kim and I flying, maybe (highly unlikely) I would’ve considered upgrading and giving it a shot one time. (We’ve flown in all cabin classes during flights but have never sat in Economy Plus/ Comfort.) Besides wanting to try out the more spacious economy seats I couldn’t really see ever spending the extra $$$. I’d rather save the additional funds to use towards activities during the trip rather than spend more to gain some extra leg room.

I wonderedwhat exactly do you get for the extra $99+(It turns out that seats in Economy Plus do start at $99 but that will only get you a middle seat. If you’d like to choose a window or aisle, that will be $10 more, $109 additional per person.)

I went over to United’s Economy Plus page and found out that upgrading does not offer much besides a little extra leg room and the chance to sit near the front so you can exit the plane easier. Is it worth around $100? I think not.

United MileagePlus members with status can get complimentary access to Economy Plus. If I had status with United, I’d gladly accept the upgrade!

So what do you think– Is it worth paying to upgrade to Economy Plus? Have you ever paid to upgrade? If so, did you find it worth the additional fee?

12 thoughts on “Is It Worth Upgrading To Economy Plus

  1. When flying internationally, I think it’s worth it. I have no status, so there is no hope of an upgrade. I fly RT LAS-EWR-MXP once a year. First year, I didn’t feel the need for economy plus. Second year, I KNEW I wanted the upgrade. I just deal with regular seats for the US part of the trip. Somehow I can justify the expense for the international part…. part of spoiling myself a little, I guess.

  2. Even with status the selection is awful. If you’re taking a commuter flight (morning, hub to hub) and you are silver on united, you can pick an EP seat only 24 hours before and even by then all the seats are gone or only middle seats remain. So many times if I get a regular aisle seat I’ll just stick to it as opposed to a middle EP seat. Same deal with international flights too, free selection only 24 hours before for S* members

    1. You have to think about it, silver is the lowest status, there are GS, 1K, Platinum, and Gold ahead of you, not to mention those without status that are willing to forge the money out for E+ when they book their tickets. So therefore by the time 24 hours prior to departure, not much left. I think it is absolutely fair for this practice, as being gold myself, when silver (or premier before the merger) used to get E+ at booking, however, as a gold (formely called premier executive) buying last minute ticket, there are no E+ left for me at all, I fly more than you do (50K+ miles), I should still be able to get E+ for last minute tickets !

      1. While I agree with that, (and I’m Exec Plat on American and used to having free seat selections wherever if I’m not already upgraded) I just feel 24 hours for somebody who has flown 25,000 miles with the airlines is a bit harsh given that a lot of business travelers (atleast my firm) aren’t allowed to expense premium seats and doing something like ORD-IAH at 6 in the morning or the return leg after a full day of work makes the whole selection deal rather bitter.
        I also feel given that I’ve booked tickets even two weeks out, I’ve never seen a decently open seat map with EP seats even if I were to pay for them…

  3. If did not jave status, I would pay the additional fee for a lomg international flight . The space difference is noticable on a 777 or 767. On a 747 it feels more cramped. During winther months you are less likely to have someone in the seat next to you in E+.

  4. In our LHR-DFW flight last year I paid to upgrade our seats (family of 4) to E+ on AA but I think the cost was less than $150 for all of us. At $100 each I’d probably opt to save the money.

    1. Would have to depend on the plane. We were on an old continental plan from bos – ord and was offered an upgrade for $45. We didn’t do it and definitely made the right decision. The plane was really old and the extra couple of inches weren’t worth it. However we upgraded for $85 from ORD to HNK in one of their newer configuration planes….would do it again.

  5. My last 3 flights I’ve actually moved last minute from E+ to E- w/ empty middle or empty row, as E+ packed is not as good as an empty E- next to me. That said, I’d never pay $218 r/t for E+, better to buy the subscription

  6. I’ll be on the flight thrusday from EWR – MXP (connection in FRA now, but hopefully an SDC to the direct flight).

    It isn’t worth upgrading. If they improved the service in economy plus, I’d say maybe. Otherwise, it is just more legroom and not worth any additional $$ (United elite).

  7. My husband is 6′ 4” and long-haul international flights are incredibly uncomfortable for him, so he’s a big fan of the Economy Plus upgrade. I’m shorter so it doesn’t matter much for me, but we still pay to upgrade me too so we can be together. For short flights we wouldn’t bother.

  8. Sharon- If you enjoy the upgrade to E+ then for you it is definitely worth the extra price!

    Akshay- I totally agree. I’d much prefer an aisle in economy rather than a middle in E+. As for Silvers only getting to select 24 hours in advance, what can ya do? I guess you have to wait your turn for the upgrade. 🙂

    ORDnHKG- I agree that higher status should get the E+ upgrade first but if you book last minute I don’t think this should be the case…

    Levy Flight- I could see it depending on the situation/ plane etc..

    Up&Away- $150 for 4 is a very fair price to pay to upgrade. $100 per person, while not outrageous is not worth it when paying for 3 seats in my opinion. I can deal with the space given to me in economy.

    Ryan- BOS-ORD is short enough flight so why spend the extra $. Do you mean HNL? For a longer flight $85 sounds fair!

    Michael P- For the price of these mistake fares, adding on the E+ fee still makes for a great deal but upgrading RT might be more than the ticket price!

    Scott- I’d take a row in econ over a seat in E+ too! Nice move. I didn’t look into the cost of subscriptions but did wonder what it would cost.

    A- We’re connecting in MUC. We fly home direct from MXP. I agree with you in regards to paying just for the leg room. Enjoy your trip!

    Cassie- You bring up a great point that I should’ve mentioned. For someone taller, I’d guess that E+ is a great deal in terms of comfort and worth every penny! I am 5’10 and my knees touch the seat in front of me at times in econ so I could only imagine the discomfort of someone that is 6’4!

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