Get ready to pay more if you want to select your seat on your next United flight. United Airlines is officially joining the trend of charging extra for seat selection in economy class. The new arrangement became effective on Dec. 14. However, you may not have noticed it if you were taking a break from flying to be home for the holidays. Which seats are being deemed more valuable by the powers that be at United? Economy seats that are located near the front of the cabin will cost you extra going forward.
It’s understandable if you’re not exactly shocked by the revelation that United plans to charge customers extra for desirable seats in its economy cabins. After all, United is simply following a trend that was started by rival airlines. Both Delta and American already charge extra for passengers who want coach seats that are considered to be more desirable than average. The carriers only measure desirability based on location. The pricier coach seats offered by Delta and American truly are just normal seats. You won’t get any extra pitch or legroom when you fork over extra money for “elite” coach seats. The same goes for the seats on United flights that have been deemed more valuable. The legroom will stay the same even though prices will rise.
How much more are people forking over for the privilege of choosing their seats these days? The cost for desirable coach seats isn’t exactly cheap. A person can expect to pay up to $80 extra for a preferred seat in economy on routes like the one between New York and Los Angeles. Of course, you can expect to pay much less on other routes. The fee per seat is going to depend on the route you book, the aircraft you fly on and the level of demand you encounter at any given point in the year.
United is giving customers a flicker of hope as we arrive in the new year. The airline is finally allowing members of its MileagePlus loyalty program to earn credit when they fly using basic-economy tickets. Of course, credit will be earned at a reduced rate when you’re flying with ultra-cheap tickets. You’ll only get 50 percent of the qualifying miles and half of a qualifying segment if you travel using bottom-tier tickets. United will be offering full credit for each dollar spent on a ticket.