I thought it would be helpful to take a look at what the current premium transcontinental experience is like on United Airlines in economy class. This review covers my recent United flight from Newark to Los Angeles onboard a 767-300.
United Airlines 767-300 Premium Transcontinental Economy Class Review During Pandemic
On my way back from New York last month, I decided not to upgrade to business class. It wasn’t because I couldn’t, but because economy class had a lot of open seats and I could spread out and also see how United’s economy product has changed.
Newark (EWR) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Depart: 07:00 PM
Arrive: 10:00 PM
Duration: 6hr, 01min
Seat: 22K (Economy Class)
The 767-300 cabin is among United’s best in economy class. With a 2-3-2 configuration, your chances of sitting next to a stranger when traveling with a friend or loved on are lower. And on this particular flight, almost no one had to sit next to a stranger. I was assigned an exit row seat in Row 22 and the seat next to me remained opened. In fact, much of the EconomyPlus (United’s extra-legroom economy section) remained opened.
If you’re looking for the economy class seat with the most legroom, choose 22D,E,F. It’s part of the exit row and it reminds me of the old row nine on United’s premium service p.s. 757-200s.
Don’t expect pillows and blankets onboard during this time.
A flight attendant offered each passenger a greeting and a sanitizing wipe upon entry to the aircraft and these were picked up prior to takeoff.
Once we leveled off, flight attendants again sprang into action, offering a modified service.
Traditionally, EconomyPlus passengers received a complimentary hot meal while those in regular economy class had the option of purchasing snack boxes or meals onboard.
Presently, United does not offer any meals in domestic economy class. In fact, United has suspended the sales of all food onboard, even including packaged snack boxes.
Instead, each economy class passenger receives a bag on flights more than two hours with a salty and sweet snack plus a small bottle of water and another wipe. My bag included pretzels and a biscoff cookie.
One reason I write this review is to urge you to plan ahead. I did not and I was quite hungry. Thankfully I had some mixed nuts and fruit in my bag, though I should have planned better (restaurants are open again in Newark Airport).
In addition to the snack bag, flight attendants performed two full beverage services and water runs in-between during the flight. Service was very pleasant.
One thing I do like about flying economy class is that there are less distractions and I tend to be more productive. I spent the flight reading and it was very productive.
I also checked out United’s IFE system onboard. United has a great library of movies and TV shows onboard but I recommend you bring your headphones. Complimentary earphones are provided, but I had to strain to hear dialogue. The IFE system is United’s latest and was updated when the new Polaris seats were installed.
As an added bonus, “From the Flight Deck” air traffic control communication (formerly called Channel 9) was available:
Lavatories were clean…I drank several bottles of water plus two cups of coffee and was therefore a frequent visitor…
The six hours (flight time was closer to five hours) flew by quickly. We landed ahead of schedule in LAX.
Once on the ground, I bolted for In-N-Out on Sepulveda Blvd and enjoyed a double-double animal style with French Fries…my treat for flying economy class.
Don’t expect much in terms of onboard food these days behind the curtain, but you’ll be well watered. Nevertheless, the flight was comfortable, on-time, and service was pleasant. Hopefully we’ll see the return of meal service in economy class sooner rather than later, but you’ve been warned. Overall, a fine flight.
Wow. So they essentially dropped E+ service down to E- levels? Not cool. I’ve only done ps once in E+ and it was wonderful. Nice meal and free booze in coach!
It was really great before the pandemic. Hopefully that returns…
Thanks for the update-the exit row seats look great but they do not recline do they?
The second exit row does recline. (Row 21)
hmmmm. In-n-Out is my chosen treat when arriving back in the US fr0m overseas. Good choice, especially the animal style option
FYI that IFE is the Panasonic x2 which isn’t the latest generation United offers. The x3 is available on all 787-10, select 787-8/9, select 767-300ER, and select 757-200 aircraft.
I far prefer this version than the 787-10 version, which does not offer movie previews.
My compliments to you Matthew on your decision making skills – I’d have gone to In-N-Out on Sepulveda for a double-double too after that calorie deficient flight! And, you’ll have great plane spotting for entertainment too.
I like the new(ish) In-n-Out on Sepulveda (PCH) in El Segundo. The lines are almost always much, much shorter and saves me a good 30 minutes to an hour.
Also, on the flight, you can always ask for extra snack bags once everybody has had their first one if you’re hungry. There’re usually leftovers. Sometimes they have a Biscoff and sometimes a Stroopwafel. It’s almost always pretzels. But no, there’s no meal on any domestic flight in any main cabin class.
You probably get as many comments about In-N-Out as anything else, but since others started it first…you should really try the burger with a “whole grilled” onion instead of the regular grilled onions. If you actually like to taste the onion it’s a far better choice (without having the raw onions).
You Californians and your In-n-Out. Honestly, I don’t get it. Shake Shack and Five Guys has it beat to a pulp in taste and quality.
I fully expect to be beaten down now. I can take it. Have at it.
I agree I&O is over hyped. The beef patties are getting too thin. Nothing fantastic. I’m Californian born and bred.
I was an INO fanboy. But the Shack blows it away (at a price premium of course)
Five Guys is fine but really just a big sloppy burger
I do enjoy Five Guys, but the buns are always soggy and more expensive.
Oops, I meant Shake Shack, not five guys.
Both are more expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Five Guys and Shake Shack, but for the value, I find In-N-Out best. It’s less than half the price and almost (if not more) tasty.
In N Out burgers are OK, animal style, but the fries are terrible dry cardboard. Blech.
Smashburger, BurgerFi, Burgerim are all better. Five Guys, meh.
There, I think I have to turn in my So Cal native card now.
I love their soggy fries!
Five Guys is outrageously overpriced for the soggy mess they consistently serve. In-N-Out is reasonably priced, and tasty to boot!
Maybe you should try Monty’s ( …plant-based using impossible burger); seems to be very popular, but reported to be slightly expensive. It’s new since I last passed through so I haven’t been there, but already quite a few locations.
I like plant-based burgers, Paolo. I find them perfectly adequate.
Whataburger, hands down!!!!
May I ask where you ended up eating your In-n-Out Burger meal? From your photos. it looks like they are not yet allowing indoor dining – were there any outdoor tables available? (I hate eating in my car, and won’t do it.)
In-n-Out Burger definitely gets my vote as the best burger. At Five Guys, the big problem (besides being much more expensive) is that they slap a cold piece of cheese on the sandwich right before they wrap it and give it to you- yuck! In-n-Out Burger knows that the cheese needs to be melted on the burger while it’s grilling. Only went once to Shake Shack -better shake, but it’s also too expensive compared to In-n-Out.
They have a patio outside. Indeed, no way I am eating in my car either!
In-n-out should get its own separate review!
Crown Burger, SLC
do you remember if the row 20 had limited recline? I read mixed reviews. thanks!
Yes, recline is limited.