Tried & Tested

United Airlines B747-400 Economy Plus

23 Oct 2009 by Tom Otley

First impressions: I arrived at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 at 0530 for my 0650 departure on UA895 to Hong Kong. I had been pre-assigned the seat 60J in economy, which I had already experienced on the outward bound journey from Hong Kong a few days earlier (for the review, click here) and was anxious to avoid the experience, so inquired about upgrading to Economy Plus. The price was S$82 (about £38) one way. The flight is only around three and a half hours in duration, but I needed to sleep since I was working in Hong Kong for the rest of the day so I didn’t think twice, and booked it, securing seat 22D. The helpful member of staff also told me that the whole centre aisle of row 22 was free.

The lounge: I cleared immigration and then went up to the United lounge (I have a gold Star Alliance card), which is also the SATS lounge on the mezzanine level. There was a selection of food, both hot and cold. Flights are not called from here, so after having some cereal I walked down to the gate (B5) where the flight was already boarding. I went through security and then was onto the aircraft

The seat: The Economy Plus seat is in the same configuration as Economy on this B747-400 (3-4-3) but with up to five more inches leg room, and you immediately notice this. For the seatplan, click here

The cabin has seven rows (19-25), but if you like window seats for the views, note that on both sides row 21 has no window, and both 22 and 23 have limited window views (you have to lean forward to look out) because of the superstructure of the aircraft. Other points to note are that the IFE box is situated under seats B,D and G in each one of the seven rows, which compromises leg room slightly.

The flight: we took off on time, and the moment the seatbelt sign went off I lay across all four seat, pulled a blanket over myself, put two pillows under my head, fixed a seat belt over me, and went to sleep for two and a half hours. This was worth £35. I woke 30 minutes before landing and found the meal box which some fruit pieces, a bun and a pastry in it which I ate as we prepared to land at Hong Kong. We landed slightly early.

Verdict: the pricing of the Economy Plus product varies on every route, but for this one, it was well worth the money, and even if the aircraft had been busy, I would have been able to sleep with the extra leg room allowing more comfort.


Tom Otley

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