United Airlines Introduces ‘Preferred Seating’ Right Behind ‘Economy Plus’ Zone For A Fee (Free For Premier Members)


United Airlines has found a new way to earn some extra money by classifying the seating zone right behind the Economy Plus section as ‘Preferred Seats‘ that come at a cost for regular Economy Passengers.

Preferred seating is available on all United and United Express flights, and prices, starting at $9, vary based on the route with the selection being complimentary for Premier members.

Many carriers have already discovered the lucrative income source of selling seats in the front of the plane for extra cash even if these seats don’t even offer the slightest bit of extra comfort. United is just the latest airline to jump on that bandwagon and has sent out an email to their customers today advertising this new feature.

We want you to take advantage of all the great United MileagePlus® Premier® status benefits available to you, so we’re reaching out to let you know about preferred seating, which you’re now able to enjoy.

Preferred seats have standard legroom but are closer to the front of the aircraft in the first few rows behind Economy Plus®. While other customers will be required to purchase these seats for an additional cost, as a member with Premier status, you’re able to select any available preferred seats for you and up to eight companions at any time.

Since this benefit is in addition to your Economy Plus benefits, it’s great for last-minute bookings and when Economy Plus seating isn’t available. Preferred seating will be indicated on the seat map when you’re booking or selecting seats.

You can access the United website here to learn more about it.

Preferred seating includes United Economy seats that have standard legroom but are closer to the front of the aircraft in the first few rows behind Economy Plus®.

When you purchase preferred seating, you’ll not only enjoy a better seat in Economy, but you’ll also receive earlier onboard service and, when you land, get off the plane and on your way faster. Better yet, MileagePlus members with Premier® status can select preferred seating at no additional cost and all other MileagePlus members will earn Premier qualifying dollars on preferred seating purchases after travel has been completed.

Preferred seating is available on all United and United Express® flights, and prices, starting at $9, vary based on the route. Customers who are traveling on Basic Economy tickets are eligible to purchase preferred seating.

Honestly I never had the situation where an Economy Plus seat wasn’t available to me as a Premier Member even for last minute bookings, standby and flight changes.

What this does it squeezing even the last drop of juice out of the lemon (passengers) which is standard seats. So far standard seats were always able to be reserved free of charge but with this new feature of Preferred Seats for sale the number of available seats for free will obviously go down leading to an increasing number of passengers who won’t have any seat reservation when arriving at the airport.

Here is an example for a flight from Los Angeles to New York in January:

The price is $9 for a seat in the preferred zone and this includes middle seats. If you’re a family of four this would be $36 to sit in a standard seat and personally I wouldn’t pay for that. So what happens when suddenly the complimentary seats are not available anymore? This will then result in many families not being seated together and then creating a scene at the gate or on board which I can understand as well.


Airlines are taking their nickel and diming mentality to yet another level and the problems that are eventually be caused by this will impact the daily operations. Good for Premier Status customers from Silver upwards but the average person is once again being taken to the cleaners.

While I happily pay for a decent premium seat option that offers additional comfort I’d never pay for a standard seat just because it’s in the front of the plane. The notion that this provides any benefit to the passenger is nonsense.

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