Quick Points: Reserve premium economy seats for the price of a coach seat on select wide-body domestic routes


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Although the “Big Three” U.S. service providers run single-aisle aircrafts — like the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 — for most of their prominent domestic routes, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines fly twin-aisle jets.

Airlines normally usage wide-body jets on longer-haul trips, so they generally provide a much better inflight experience (with attributes like seatback Televisions, power electrical outlets and bigger expenses containers). But most certainly, the highlight of these wide-body jets is the capacity to reserve premium economy seats for the price of an additional legroom seat.

Here’s what you require to understand about obtaining a “free” upgrade to a premium economy seat on your following trip.

Related: Complete overview to reservation premium economy utilizing factors and miles

How to discover ‘totally free’ premium economy seats

Premium economy on an American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER. BENJI STAWSKI/THE INFORMATION PERSON

Except for a couple of instances where the airline company markets premium economy seats as a different cabin (primarily long-haul trips to Hawaii and some transcontinental solution run by Delta), you can reserve premium economy seats on numerous domestic trips run by wide-body airplane as United Economy Plus, American Premium Economy or Delta Comfort+.

That implies you can utilize your free of charge additional legroom seats — an elite condition advantage — to reserve premium economy seats. You can pay to select these seats if you do not have exclusive condition. Expect the exact same advantages and solution you would certainly obtain if taking a trip in an additional legroom seat, yet normally, the premium economy seat is much better.

When reservation a trip, check the airplane kind that runs the trip. Pull up the seat map if you see a wide-body jet like an Airbus A330 or A350, or a Boeing 767, 777 or 787.


If you recognize what to look for, you can inform if the seats are premium economy.


For one, the seat arrangement will certainly vary from the remainder of the economy cabin. On Boeing 777s, like the one over, a typical premium economy seating arrangement is 2-4-2 rather of the conventional economy 3-4-3. This is due to the fact that the premium economy seats are larger.

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Additionally, in the instance of United’s Premium Plus cabin, the row numbers of the premium economy cabin (rows 20, 21 and 22) are considerably various from the remainder of the Economy Plus cabin (rows 30 to 34, 40 and 41). All blue seats, consisting of those in premium economy, can be scheduled on this airplane as Economy Plus. That implies Premier Silver participants are qualified to obtain them for totally free at check-in. Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K and United Global Services participants can select those seats at scheduling without cost — and United’s charitable Economy Plus buddy guidelines still use.

American makes it a little more difficult. You can not promptly distinguish the row number that you remain in premium economy, so pay attention to the seating design on the seat map. Premium economy has a 2-3-2 arrangement on this airplane, rather than the conventional 3-3-3 arrangement on the remainder of the airplane.

Seat map of an American Airlines trip taking a trip from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). AA.COM

All orange seats, consisting of those in premium economy, can be scheduled as Main Cabin Extra (American’s additional legroom seats) on this trip.

Delta Air Lines, which has a tendency to have bigger premium economy cabins than United and American, marks some of its domestic premium economy seats as Comfort+. If your Medallion condition qualifies you to free of charge Comfort+, you can grab one of these seats totally free of cost.

Seat map on a Delta Air Lines trip from LAX to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). DELTA.COM

If you’re dissatisfied with the premium economy seat offered when you schedule your trip or if all the premium economy seats are taken, established an ExpertFlyer seat pointer. (ExpertFlyer is possessed by TPG’s moms and dad business, Red Ventures.) If a seat appears, you’ll obtain an e-mail alert. ExpertFlyer has actually aided me venture out of facility premium economy seats numerous times.

Related: How to utilize ExpertFlyer notifies to grab a much better seat

Premium economy seats vs. domestic superior seats

Premium Select on a Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-900neo. ZACH GRIFF/THE INFORMATION PERSON

Now, the enjoyable component.

Premium economy seats are considerably much better than conventional additional legroom seats. Instead, they’re approximately according to what you would certainly obtain from a single-aisle domestic superior seat.

Let’s contrast seat measurements utilizing United’s fleet. These dimensions originated from United’s internet site.

Boeing 777-300ER Economy Plus Boeing 777-300ER premium economy Boeing 737-900 (MAX 9) first-rate
Pitch 34 inches 38 inches 37 inches
Width 17.05 inches 18.5 inches 20 inches
Recline 4 inches 6 inches 5 inches

As you can see, the size isn’t fairly as roomy as what you would certainly discover in first-rate on a Boeing 737; nonetheless, the pitch and recline are greater than what you would certainly discover in narrow-body first-rate.

So, allow’s return to this instance.


For $397, Premier Gold and greater participants can reserve a premium economy seat — approximately comparable to a superior seat marketing for greater than $3,000. Of training course, the superior seat deals a correct dish, added examined travel luggage allocation, Premier Access and much better solution. Still, the 2 are approximately in line if you look entirely at the seat.

United might transform its devices, perhaps relocating you to a conventional Economy Plus seat, yet from my experience, that just takes place when in a blue moon.

Related: Why United’s increased Premium Plus rollout isn’t specifically great information

Domestic routes with wide-body jets

Here are some of the domestic trips on which United, American and Delta typically usage wide-body solutions (at the time of writing). In our examinations, you can reserve premium economy seats as additional legroom seats on these routes. As you can see, these are on high-traffic routes to, from or in between centers. These routes go through transform.


  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD), Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to IAD, ORD, HNL and IAH
  • Denver International Airport (DEN) to ORD and IAD
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to IAH

Note that United additionally runs numerous everyday premium economy solutions from SFO and LAX to EWR that are marketed as a different cabin.


  • Miami International Airport (MIA) to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Tampa International Airport (TPA), LAX and ORD
  • DFW to Orlando International Airport (MCO), Cancun International Airport (CUN) in Mexico, ORD and LAX
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to CUN and PHX


  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LAX
  • LAX to DTW

Related: Perfectly great yet absolutely nothing extra: American Airlines premium economy throughout the Atlantic

Bottom line

In enhancement to a different cabin better to the front of the airplane, premium economy seats often tend to provide an inflight amusement system with a remote, a extra charitable seat recline, a tiny foot rest and (my fave) a folding table in the armrest that’s large sufficient to prevent an elbow joint battle with your seatmate.

While your airline company can constantly transform its airplane kind, booking premium economy for the price of an additional legroom seat is one of the ideal domestic trip keys. The following time you see a wide-body jet on a trip you’re taking into consideration scheduling, bear in mind that some additional legroom seats might be better than others.

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/premium-economy-totally free/

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