First Look: United’s New 777 Premium Economy

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On Monday night, following in the footsteps (the legroom, that is) of Delta and American Airlines, United Airlines rolled out its first jet, a Boeing 777-200ER, outfitted with a premium economy cabin. Called Premium Plus, the roomy seats offer additional privacy and amenities and will be launched officially later this year.

Photo: United Airlines

The first Premium Plus seats

Unlike its competitors, United has been relatively slow to add a premium economy cabin. After plans for a premium economy section were announced, the launch was originally set for 2019.

But United made a big splash on social media earlier this week by announcing the arrival of the first jet equipped with a fully-loaded premium economy cabin. Premium Plus made its first trip on Monday night on a Boeing 777-320ER from San Francisco to Paris, garnering rave reviews from the first trickle of paying customers.

The Premium Plus leather seats are a distinctive shade of deep purple and are equipped with leg rest extensions, footrests, additional legroom, and broader seat back monitors for a cozier, more spacious ride.

For a splash of privacy and exclusivity, the three rows of 24 seats are set apart by both a front and rear wall from the much-larger Economy and Polaris (business class) cabins.

What’s more, Premium Plus seats will be equipped with more opportunities for inflight work and entertainment: 3-prong power outlets with USB capabilities at every seat and larger, better-quality video monitors, for example.

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The Premium Plus amenities

Photo: United Airlines

So, what can you expect from United Premium Plus seating in the future? In addition to more comfort and space, a nice set of small luxuries and perks will accompany your ticket.

When the Premium Plus product is officially launched at a separate pricing tier, seats will come with a luxury Saks Fifth Avenue pillow and blanket (no scratchy, thin blankets here!), amenity kits for grooming and comfort, china-plated meals with upgraded menu options, and even free beer, wine, and cocktails.

When will Premium Plus seats be available?

Even though Premium Plus has already had its invite-only dress rehearsal, if you will, it won’t officially debut until later this year.

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In the immediate future, premium economy cabins will only appear on 777-200s in certain international flights. The seats will  a 2-4-2 configuration in rows 20-22. Some Economy Plus seats, which are currently billed as extra legroom seats only, will come with a few extra perks until the official launch of the Premium Plus product.

United Premium Plus seats will eventually be available on 777-200s, 777-300ERs, 787-10s, and 767-300ERs. United elites can currently book those seats for free, but Premium Plus will soon have its own price point.

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