United Premium Plus: Worth It?

Hello blog world! 
Long time no write. 

Again, only coming back after a major trip; why? Because my life is not as exciting as it seems 😂

I am, however, excited to write about this experience, just because when I was researching this, I wasn’t too sure if it was worth it or not. 

Back story: my mother and I had to go to South Korea for about a week (family-related stuff). It’s been about 10 years since we both went back to Korea so we were looking for flights that would be efficient on time, comfortable, and affordable from SFO. The choices we had were Asiana, Korean Air, or United. The price difference was about $200 – $400 (we were going during thanksgiving weekend, so understandable why the price would be so high). Just based on the time we had and how long those flights are, we decided to go with United. First purchasing the economy seats all the way in the back. 

After a couple months and COVID on my mind, I was looking at our seat plan for our aircraft and noticed something called “Premium Plus”. To upgrade to these more spacious seats, the cost was an additional $200. For myself, I was thinking “that’s not too bad” – but what else is there? 

I watched a couple of YouTube videos and read a few articles about why it would be worth it but those were about flights that were less than 8 hours. While SFO > ICN is about 12-hours, and for someone that’s 5’8, I really had to think: would it be really worth it? After a couple more weeks of contemplating, jumped the gun and upgraded my mom’s and my seats to Premium Plus. 

So, was it worth it? 

Photo from united.com

As I mentioned, I’m 5’8. Economy seats are super cramped, and honestly, with that many people traveling during the holidays, people get impatience and rude at some point (especially when flights are 12 hours). So, to walk onto the plane where the seats are 38” long was amazing for my long legs. 

Also, the row layout for Premium Plus is 2x3x2, meaning two seats on the sides and three seats in the middle. If traveling with a +1, it’s a perfect way to have some privacy/intimacy by sitting next to just them than having someone next to you on a 3x3x3 seat plan in economy. Being COVID-conscious too, it was nice to just be next to my mom rather than being surrounded by a bunch of people. 

So, the highlights so far: more space, fewer people. What about the inflight experience? 

Mom settling into her seat

As we walked towards our seats, we were greeted with a blanket and pillow set from Saks Fifth, which was comfortable. We were also provided with noise-reducing headphones, which were pretty fitting to enjoy with our 13″ screen for entertainment.

It didn’t hit me until later in the flight that Premium Plus felt very similar to a business class experience (minus the lie-flat seats and a couple thousand dollars). I say this because we had the flight attendants taking orders of our meals, then being served those meals with flatware and cloth napkins, as well as complimentary alcoholic beverages. Food – not bad, but I definitely missed the Korean meals you’d be able to get on Asiana/Korean Air.

Other experience I couldn’t tell you much as I went to sleep quickly after my meal. However, I can point out that our seats did recline back more than the standard economy seats, (supposedly 6″ of recline) and you also have a leg/foot rest that allows you to sleep in a more comfortable position than a cramped position like in economy.

So, to answer the question: in a 10+ hour international trip where one is traveling and wants to splurge, but is on a budget and wants comfort, upgrading to United Premium Plus: WORTH IT.

PS, not going to lie – felt like a peasant, and was amazing how United’s new aircraft was so high-tech. My mom and I were so amused with all the little things the plane provided. But it was a fun memory we both shared and I’m glad to have gone to Korea with her during this time.

PSS, not sponsored 😂 Just wanted to write about my experience to help those who are interested in learning and knowing about United Premium Plus.

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