Economy plus

economy plus

Plus what?

United Airlines has impeccable timing. They sent me an email this morning, only hours before I would board a United flight to Hawaii, touting what they call Economy Plus. The email was illustrated with a sketch to two leggy passengers lounging comfortably in their airline seats (see above).

Here's a picture of my legs in my airline seat. Not quite the same, is it?

my legs

The good news is that I was quite near the front of the economy cabin of the Boeing 767, just behind the bulkhead and two emergency exit doors, with a window seat in a row with only two seats. The bad news is that the traveling companion assigned by the Fates was one of those tall, gangly young men whose skeleton grew faster than his sense of body space. You know the kind I'm talking about: 6ft 8in tall, baseball cap with the brim at the back, ill-fitting, low-slung nylon basketball shorts hanging down to mid-calf, and arms and legs all akimbo. And with a serious case of can't-sit-still-itis. Lordy, it was a long flight.

A bright sunny day above the clouds

The other innovation United has made to economy travel is to charge for meals, box-lunches as it were. But later, as we approached Hawaii, they came through the cabin offering "glass of wine on the house" and "Mai-tai on the house". Now what's up with that?

But just imagine what I could have experienced with the cachet of Economy Plus:

  • Economy Plus seat assignments for you and one guest traveling on the same reservation
  • Access to Economy Plus for one full year for $299, also available as
  • Economy Plus Access with Premier® Fast Track or
  • Economy Plus Access with United Red Carpet Club®

What a deal! Like I should pay extra for a narrow, uncomfortable seat but with minimally suitable legroom! No wonder United, and other airlines, are in bankruptcy protection or on the verge thereof.