If United’s Economy Plus extra-legroom seating isn’t plus enough, United now offers Travel Options, two bundles of extra perks available on most flights that feature Economy Plus:
- Economy Plus Essentials – Economy Plus seating plus an extra checked bag
- Economy Plus Enhanced – Economy Plus seating plus an extra checked bag, Premier Access (priority check-in and boarding), airport lounge pass, extra frequent-flyer miles (500 for domestic 48 states, 1,000 elsewhere)
Prices for the extra perks vary, but United promises savings of up to 20 percent over normal prices for the services included with Economy Plus Essentials, and up to 25 percent with Economy Plus Enhanced.
Deal or No Deal
The “up to” qualifier leaves United plenty of wiggle room when it comes to the bundles’ promised savings. And it’s only a savings if you actually use all the extra services.
Of course, elite members of United’s MileagePlus program already receive upgrades to Economy Plus, free checked bags, and priority airport services. So the value proposition for them is especially tenuous.
At least for the free checked bag feature of Travel Options, United has a ready response: “Features of packages are always in addition to any other benefit you may already receive. The additional standard checked bag allowance is on top of all your other allowances, allowing you one more standard checked bag.” In other words, an elite member purchasing a Travel Options package would be entitled to one free checked bag as a Travel Options customer, plus one or more additional free checked bags, depending on elite status.
With coach legroom in increasingly short supply, there’s an argument to be made for upgrading to an Economy Plus seat, depending on the length of the flight and the surcharge over normal coach. The argument for United’s Travel Options is considerably weaker.
Reader Reality Check
Do you pay extra to upgrade to Economy Plus?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
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