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United Airlines

The Best & Worst Seats on United Airlines (From People Who’ve Sat There Before)

The Best & Worst Seats on United Airlines (From People Who’ve Sat There Before)
Taylor Rains

If you really want to know where to sit, you want to know if the air conditioning’s too cold, the seat doesn’t recline or if you’ll never get a good night’s sleep because of the light in the galley. So check out our user guide to the best and worst seats on United Airlines.

Flying United Airlines on a domestic or short international flight? You may find yourself on one of the airline’s narrow-body planes. Which is the best of those seats? It depends on what kind of flier you are. So, I decided to dive into FlyerTalk forums and SeatGuru reviews for a guide to where to sit on your next flight.

Not flying one of these plane models? Stay tuned for the next installment in this series: The Best (& Worst) Seats on United Airlines, Pt.2: Wide-Body Planes. Or, head to this FlyerTalk thread that lists the best and worst places to sit on every United Plane, no matter where you’re going.

How do you know which plane model you’re flying? Head here for a quick guide.

For a shortcut to each of these models, click the links below.

Boeing 737, United Airlines

The Boeings 737s

Each of the 737 series aircraft has multiple seat layouts, three for -700s, four for -800s, three for -900s, and only one for the -900 MAX. Based on flyer opinions, these aircraft have a good selection of seats, especially behind the bulkhead, if you’re looking for extra legroom. However, there were a lot of complaints about regular economy’s seat pitch.

United Airlines Boeing 737-700 (version 1) Seat Map

737-700

The Best Seats: Row 7

  • Any seat in row 7. It’s behind the bulkhead so there’s plenty of legroom and they don’t always charge more 

The Best Seats: The Exit Rows

  • Row 20 on version 1 of this aircraft is great when you’re flying with a companion because it’s a two-seater. However, these seats are in an exit row so you may be charged more to choose these seats. Also, keep in mind that there is limited recline in exit row seats. 
  • Row 21 is also an exit row. It has less legroom than row 20, but the seats recline. Many FlyerTalkers did prefer row 21 over row 20 due to the recline.

The Best Seats: United First®

  • Seats 1A and 1B are the best because there’s no one reclining into you. There is also a cutout in the bulkhead wall, offering plenty of legroom for passengers.

The Worst Seats: Economy

  • Row 10 in Economy Plus, and row 11 in some versions of this aircraft does not have a window.

The Worst Seats: United First®

  • Seats 1E and 1F don’t have extra legroom.

Note: There are two versions of the 737-700. View them here.

Have more questions about this plane’s seats? Ask them in the FlyerTalk forum thread, Everything You Wanted to Know About Where to Sit on a United 737-700

United Airlines Boeing_737-800 Seats

737-800

Best Seats: The Gamble

  • Row 7 in Economy Plus can be good or bad depending on the aircraft layout. On the most common version of this plane, row 7 is one of the best seats in Economy Plus because of the extra legroom under the bulkhead. However, on other versions of this plane, the bulkhead extends to the floor, so the legroom is restricted.

Best Seats: Extra Legroom

  • Rows 20 and 21 in Economy Plus both have extra legroom. However, the seats in row 20 don’t recline.

Best Seats: United Business Class

  • 1B is the preferred F class seat over 1A, 1E, and 1F because there’s a cutout in the bulkhead in front of it which gives you extra legroom. If you can’t nab 1B, try for 1A, 1E, and 1F. These seats have less legroom but there’s still enough.

Worst Seats: Economy Plus

  • Row 15 is in front of the first exit row, so it does not recline. Flyers have also reported a misaligned window and minimal shoulder space in the window seats.
  • Rows 11 and 12 are missing a window.

Worst Seats: United Business Class

  • Row 4 in business class has minimal recline due to the bulkhead behind it. However, some flyers reported that the recline was still comfortable.

 

Note: There are two versions of the 737-700. View them here.

Have more questions about this plane’s seats? Ask them in the FlyerTalk forum thread, Where to Sit on a United 737-800?

United Airlines 737-900v1 Seats

737-900/MAX

The Best Seats: Extra Legroom

  • All versions of this aircraft have extra legroom in row 7 as the bulkhead does not extend to the floor. However, 7A, 7B, and 7C have been replaced by a lavatory, so the proximity may not be desirable.

The Exit Row

  • Like the 737-800, rows 15 and 20 do not recline, and exit rows 20 and 21 have extra legroom. Row 21 window seats reportedly have a short armrest attached to the exit door, so it may be uncomfortable.

The Worst Seats: Economy Plus

  • This aircraft has an extra row of premium cabin seats, row 5. Flyers have reported that these seats do not recline and are next to the lavatories, making them unfavorable.

The Worst Seats: Economy

  • Seats 11A, 12A, and 12F do not have windows.

 Note: There are three versions of the 737-900 currently in service. View them here.

Have more questions about this plane’s seats? Ask them in the FlyerTalk forum thread, Where to Sit on a United 737-900?

Boeing 757, United Airlines

The Boeings 757s

The 757 series aircraft have only a few seat layouts, two for the 757-200s, and only one for the 757-300. Consistent with the 737 series, bulkhead and exit row seats are the best for legroom, while regular economy should be avoided due to minimal pitch. Premium cabins on these aircraft feature lay-flat beds and received mixed reviews. It does not seem you could go wrong with any choice; however, aisle seats and row 1 may experience more galley noise and light.

 

United Airlines 757-200v1

757-200

The Best Seats: Economy Plus

  • 7A/7B/7C and 8D/8E/8F are behind the bulkhead, so there is plenty of legroom. Reviewers report these are the best economy seats on the aircraft.

The Worst Seats: Economy Plus

  • Row 11 does not have a window.
  • Rows 12 and 20 have limited to no recline, which may be uncomfortable for an overnight or long-haul flight.
  • Seat 21A’s armrest is attached to the exit door and some flyers say that the location is quite chilly.

The Best Seats: United Business First

  • As far as premium cabins, most FlyerTalkers agreed that 1E/1F are better than 1A/1B and other rows because there’s less direct galley noise and light. However, due to the diagonal layout of the seats, it can be cramped if you’re over six feet tall.
  • Seat 4F is also good because its away from the galley so it has extra privacy. But, it’s close to the bathroom.
  • On version 2 of this aircraft, there are seven rows of business class. Reviewers suggest rows 1 and 5 due to the bulkhead adding extra legroom.

 Note: There are two versions of the 757-200 currently in service. View them here.

Have more questions about this plane’s seats? Ask them in the FlyerTalk forum thread, Where to Sit on a United 757-200?

United Airlines 757-300

757-300

The Best Seats: Economy Plus

  • Seats 8A/8B/8C/8F have extra legroom due to the exit seats in front. 8D and 8E have regular economy plus legroom due to row 7 seats in front.

The Worst Seats: Economy Plus

  • Row 21 is an exit row seat, but it has limited to no recline.

The Worst Seats: Economy

  • Row 20 has limited to no recline.
  • Row 17 is missing a window.

The Best Seats: Economy

  • Row 22 has prime seats due it being a two-seat configuration and having extra legroom.
  • Row 7 is also a two-seat configuration and may be favorable for couples. But, it is next to the bathroom.
  • Seats 1A/1B are by a large cutout in the bulkhead for a lot of extra legroom.

Have more questions about this plane’s seats? Ask them in the FlyerTalk forum thread, Where to Sit on a United 757-300?

 

United Airlines Airbus A319

The Airbus Planes

The Airbus A319 and A320 only have one configuration per aircraft. They have less premium cabin seats available than other planes in the fleet and the reviews were mixed for all seat options. Economy Plus received good reviews, especially row 7 behind the bulkhead, while regular economy received complaints of cramping and little legroom.

United Airlines A319

A319/A320

The Best Seats: Economy Plus

  • Row 7 is the bulkhead seat and has extra legroom.
  • Row 21 reclines and has extra legroom, ideal for taller travelers.
  • Economy Plus has more than enough legroom and has comfortable seats. Many flyers reported that these seats on the A320 seemed wider than the 737 series aircraft and were the best Economy Plus seats on United mainline narrow-bodies.

The Worst Seats: Economy Plus

  • Row 20 has extra legroom but does not recline.

The Worst Seats: United First

  • The premium cabin on the A320 was reported to have great legroom and recline on all seats, while the first row of the A319 has restricted legroom due to the bulkhead. Flyers complained of inadequate padding in A319 seats that made them uncomfortable on longer flights.

Note: There are two versions of the A319. View them here. There are two versions of the A320. View them here.

Have more questions about these seats? Ask them in the FlyerTalk forum thread, Everything You Wanted to Know About Where to Sit on a United A319/A320

 Best Worst Seats United Airlines

Additional Points

Reviews are pretty consistent on both FlyerTalk and SeatGuru. Here are some additional general points made that I want to highlight:

  • Flyers have reported reduced legroom in regular economy seats, so it may be beneficial to grab Economy Plus if you can.
  • For all narrow-body aircraft, the last row has limited to no recline and is next to the aft lavatories, so it would be wise to avoid these seats.
  • Bulkhead seats may have reduced width due to stationary armrests and may lack floor storage. Furthermore, on aircraft equipped with inflight entertainment, it does not always sit directly in front of the seat.

My Take

If you’re looking for the best economy seat on mainline United narrow body jets, based on the comments from FlyerTalkers and SeatGuru reviewers, I suggest the bulkhead seat and the last exit row seats. Both rows will give you the legroom and recline you desire (as long as the bulkhead does not extend to the floor, which in most cases, it does not). If you do not mind zero recline, then exit row 21’s legroom will be very roomy. I also suggest grabbing Economy Plus on any United flight, especially if you are tall. I am only 5’3”, so regular economy does not bother me, but I know that taller travelers can feel very cramped in 30′ to 31′ pitch seats. Additionally, row 22 and row 7 (two-seater rows) on the 757-300 seem incredibly comfortable.

If you’re a Premium Cabin flyer, then I do not think you can go wrong with most of the seat options; however, be aware of row 5 in the 737-900 as it reportedly does not recline. The A319 and A320 premium cabin seats seemed to receive the most complaints about comfort and worth, so you may be better off grabbing row 7 in economy plus for short flights. For 757 aircraft, row 1 near the galley, aisle seats, and rows near the lavatory received the most complaints due to noise, lights, and odor, so I would personally go with a window seat in row 2 or 3, but to each their own.

Because some aircraft have multiple seat layouts, it is important to check SeatGuru before your flight to see which aircraft version you will be flying on. Although, many FlyerTalkers have complained about SeatGuru’s reliability, so check out the full FlyerTalk wiki forum for favored United seats here.

What are your favorite places to sit on United narrow body aircraft? Do you think the Premium Cabin or Economy Plus is worth the upgrade? Let us know in the comments!

How Do I Know Which Plane I’ll Be On?

The easiest way to find out what plane model you’ll be flying is to check United Airlines’ website. Simply click “details” on the flight you wish to reserve and the menu will show you–on the left-hand side, next to the United logo–what plane model you’re flying, along with information about the snack, wifi, and outlet situation on board. In the example below, this flight will be on a Boeing 737-900.

Click “Details” on your reservation to see what plane model you’re flying. In this example, It’s a Boeing 737-900

View Comments (11)

11 Comments

  1. jmpaul

    January 9, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    A320 “Shoulder Room” : The comments “Many flyers reported that these seats on the A320 seemed wider than the 737 series aircraft” are not their imagination. As I’ve posted elsewhere on FT the A320 really IS wider, by more a half foot. That’s at least 1″ extra shoulder room for everyone. If you care about an inch of *legroom* you also should care about a free inch of *shoulder room* just by booking the A320.

  2. flyshooter

    January 10, 2020 at 4:27 am

    Just as airlines have a size box for carryons in the gate area, so too should they have a passenger size box. Don’t fit in the seat, buy another seat!

  3. Seansdad

    January 10, 2020 at 5:25 am

    Any seat on United is the “worst seat.” My last attempt to fly on United this past December was thwarted by United canceling the flight and being unable to rebook me in a timely manner. And even though my bags never left the ground, I had to wait to receive them for nearly 24 hours in the frigid baggage claim area, which resulted in me coming down with a virus, ruining what became my stay-cation holiday. United simply did not plan or allocate trained or adequate personnel to address my issue, which also afflicted affected numerous other passengers. United’s offer of $125 compensation was a joke!

  4. bagwell

    January 10, 2020 at 7:23 am

    yep. A319/320 cabin is definitely more comfortable than any 737.

  5. cebootsw

    January 10, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Why does anyone consider bulkhead seats the best? There is no seatback storage! In addition, the overhead storage is usually BEHIND the seat, making it difficult and cumbersome to grab carryon luggage.

    Back in the day when I traveled with an infant, the bulkhead crib snap-ons were handy, but my need for that was short-lived.

  6. CO FF

    January 10, 2020 at 11:11 am

    There is no such plane as the “737-900 MAX”. There is the 737-900 (both regular and 737-900ER), and the (grounded) 737 MAX 7, MAX8, 737 MAX9 and 737 MAX10.

  7. stickytoffee

    January 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Interested in opinions on 777-200 Row 51 seats A,B or K,L please.
    Is there a window?
    Noise level.
    Is overhead bin storage right above the seats or down the aisle a bit?
    Thanks

  8. Meg Butler

    January 10, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    If someone doesn’t answer your question in the comments, try finding that model on this page and ask the question there. You may get a faster response. https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/1535765-consolidated-where-sit-united-plane-threads.html

  9. GoDucks

    January 10, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    I’m really surprised to read any recommendations for Row 1 on United narrow bodies other than 737-700. Legroom is more restricted than other rows almost across the board, you have no storage in front of you and depending on the aircraft you may have to use an overhead bin that’s behind you. There’s a reason that row 1 is generally booked last.

  10. stickytoffee

    January 11, 2020 at 3:42 am

    Meg Butler thanks will try there.

  11. AX2007

    January 12, 2020 at 8:49 am

    A small (and common) typo in the very beginning of the Airbus section: “They have less premium cabin seats available than other planes in the fleet and the reviews were mixed for all seat options” – they do not have “less premium cabin seats”, they have fewer. When referring to an object with a specific number, use fewer.

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