United Top Tier Elites Can Party in Economy Plus with Up to 8 Guests

One Mile at a Time points out a new change for United’s Global Services members and 100,000 mile flyers — instead of just being able to have one companion sit with them in economy-plus (United’s eection at the front of coach with extra legroom), they can now have up to (8) companions acconmpany them as long as those passengers are all on the same itinerary.

The historical restriction of one companion complimentary in economy plus — which still applies to Premier Associates, Premiers, and Premier Executives — meant that a husband, wife, and child traveling together on the same reservation had to sit in the back with less legroom. Frustrating for the 100,000 mile flyer, for sure. They give their loyalty to United, and when traveling with the family it isn’t recognized.

The most common reaction to this change is “wow, eight, you’ve got to be kidding me!” Roughly speaking, though, I think what United has done is taken off the restriction on companions sitting in economy plus. I’d guess, and I’m no expert on these matters, that nine people is the most that can share a single reservation. Perhaps some readers know more and can correct me in the comments.

Lucky does point out that a couple of United 1K members traveling with the full complement of companions could basically take up the entire economy-plus section of a 737. But this scenario is highly unlikely, 100,000 mile flyers don’t usually fly with that many companions! But they will be able to take their whole families with them into the section on those rare occasions where such members travel with the gang.

It does also mean, of course, that colleagues booking together on the same reservation can now be brought up front by that same 1K member as well. All the 1K members in my office will be the new heroes of the less well-traveled, for sure!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As a side note, all the people on a PNR get the luggage allowance of the elite traveler. This was brought to my attention by a debate coach, for whom the luggage allowance is a very big deal.. Debaters travel with 2 checked bins of evidence and their clothes as carry on. The new luggage fees will make or break a team being able to go to a tournament. Thus, gifting 3P status to your high school debate or athletic coach or orchestra conductor can help contain the fees for their trips to competitions.

  2. I think for once UA did the right thing. They essentially eliminated the scenario where some 1K traveling with one person over the limit whines about how unfair it is that his 5th child needs to sit in E-. And the cost is incredibly negligible as — as you point out — the limit is going to be virtually never tested. Even if I were to fly with a hord of co-workers, we’re not on the same itin as our corporate booking system forces us to book individually.

  3. Actually this change could be attractive to some businesses. Book the team in E+ as long as one person has appropriate status, and save some moolah.

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