United’s extra-legroom Economy Plus seats reviewed on the London-Chicago route


I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 2 at 0545 for my 0750 departure on flight UA929 and proceeded to United’s check-in at Zone D. It was very quiet at this time. There were banks of self check-in kiosks and one desk open each for economy, Premier Access and Global First – there was someone in front of me at economy so I was called over to the Premier Access desk and seen to there. Security was quick.


I was granted access to the United Club lounge, located in satellite terminal B where United’s flights depart from – read my review here.


This was originally meant to start at 0705 from Gate B48, a couple of minutes’ walk from the lounge, but it was announced that the flight was delayed and to await an update. At 0757 we were told it was ready for boarding and when I reached the gate at 0805 it was on final call.

I was welcomed on board and made my way to my seat (21J). A young person was already sitting in it and the flight attendant asked if I would mind moving to their allocated seat in the exit row (19K) as they were too young to occupy it – that was fine with me.


Economy Plus seats on this three-class B767-300 are located at the front of the economy cabin (rows 19-28); see seat plan here. They are the same seats as in regular economy, in a 2-3-2 configuration (A-B, C-E-H, J-K), but offer greater legroom (34 inches rather than 31) and an extra inch of recline (five inches instead of four). Seat width is the same, at 17.6 inches. Note middle seats 28C-E-H are standard economy.

Upholstered in dark blue fabric, the seat felt dated – there was a crack in the central armrest, where my control buttons were located and from which my tray table folded out, and the in-flight entertainment system was not on demand, instead offering nine film and TV options on a loop. A small IFE screen folded out from under the armrest, while the magazine rack was attached to the bulkhead. Other rows have seatback screens and racks and fold-down tables. There was no in-seat power.

As I was in the exit row, I couldn’t stow anything in front of me during take-off but there was a small space for my handbag under my own seat.

While there was no AVOD, the aircraft was wifi equipped (US$16.99 for the flight) and you could also stream entertainment to your device with United’s Private Screening offering. To use this, you connect to the wifi network (free when using this service) then go to unitedwifi.com and select your film or TV show. If you are using a mobile device rather than a laptop, you have to download United’s app before the flight. The onboard brochure said that the rollout of Private Screening was now 41 per cent complete on the B767.


Exit row 19 and exit row seats 20A-B and 20J-K offer the most legroom in Economy Plus, but even in the other Economy Plus seats I think paying for the extra space is worth it. Not only can you stretch out more but you get served first and can disembark more quickly – good on this flight because I got a head-start in the immigration queue.

This section was also very quiet on this flight, while standard economy was busy, which meant that some people in Economy Plus stretched out across the three centre seats to sleep. Some taller people in economy, in contrast, looked pretty cramped.

Sitting in the front of the cabin also meant I had easy access to the washrooms immediately in front – strictly speaking I think these were meant for business passengers but no one stopped me from using them. I did find it quite cold sitting by the emergency exit, however.


We pushed back at 0820 and took off at 0835. A breakfast service started 20 minutes later. There was a choice of eggs or waffle – I had the latter and it came with maple and peach compote and bacon. It wasn’t great. Some fresh fruit salad, a small muffin and a choice of drink were also offered, along with a small bottle of water (which tasted quite unpleasant). Economy passengers can have complimentary beer and house wine along with soft drinks. Plastic cutlery was provided and I found that my tray slid around on my fold-out table quite a lot, so it was hard to cut anything.

The lights were dimmed and I switched on my light to read rather than bothering with the non-AVOD entertainment. Further small bottles of water were offered periodically. An hour and a half before landing, a snack was served – a turkey and gouda pretzel sandwich, which was pretty tasteless – along with another choice of drink.


We landed at 1030 and quickly disembarked. Immigration took about 20 minutes and my bag was waiting on the other side.


The aircraft needs upgrading and the food was not among the best I have had in long-haul economy, but I had a comfortable flight thanks to the extra space afforded by Economy Plus, which I think is worth investing in. Service was pleasant and being the first to disembark from the cabin was a real bonus.


Internet rates for a return Economy Plus flight from London to Chicago in August ranged between £921 and £1,356 depending on flexibility.