Yesterday I outlined my experience with United’s new unlimited domestic upgrade program, although there’s still something I don’t understand. As I mentioned, upgrades out of Tampa will be ridiculously easy for everyone, so just for fun I decided to check the Economy Plus seatmap today for a flight on Friday. It’s well within the upgrade window for Premier members (let alone higher tier elites) and there are still at least nine confirmable upgrade seats available, so all upgrades from elites (or even non-elites requesting an upgrade) should have cleared. By my logic, that would mean Economy Plus should be pretty darn empty. But that’s not the case. This is what the seatmap looks like:
By my count there are 17 people in Economy Plus — that’s more than the number of people in first class! Now I realize that some people buy an annual membership for “Economy Plus Access,” but it can’t be that many people. And I realize some people might have a companion in coach, but there are more people in Economy Plus than first class, which just doesn’t make any sense to me. My connecting flight is the same, amazingly enough, with about 20 seats still taken in Economy Plus despite the upgrade window for Premier members having passed and there still being confirmed upgrade space.
Enlighted me, please? Maybe I way underestimated the number of people that buy “Economy Plus Access.”