Travel Date: August 2015
Travel Itinerary: From San Francisco (SFO) to Incheon (ICN)
So, maybe it’s because I was watching a lot of “Parks and Rec,” or it was a mini-birthday present to myself, but I decided to go with the “TREAT YO SELF” mentality and upgrade my longest flight (originally 12 hours, eventually 16-ish hours) to Economy Plus instead of Economy. It was $169 to upgrade, and I thought, “You just had a birthday one week ago, TREAT YO SELF.”
Anyhow, I’m glad I did because this flight wound up taking four hours more than originally planned, and I got to straighten my legs out, which was amazing.
Why did this flight take four more hours than it should have? Well, it was perhaps the craziest flight I’ve ever been on, and I may have had brief thoughts of, “Oh, Sweet Jesus, please don’t let this plane be one of those planes that goes down. I can’t die yet. I seriously cannot die yet!” during some rough turbulence (to be fair that goes through my mind when planes go through turbulence…). We were delayed two hours on the ground because something was wrong with one of the radios, and they needed to repair it. Delays aren’t the worst, but they definitely suck when you’re already on the plane without snacks, internet, and general forms of mindless distraction. While in the air, we were also told there was a slight mechanical issue that would force us to land in Tokyo’s Narita Airport because the winds in Incheon were too strong for the current mechanical situation to handle. The fervent praying happened after we experienced turbulence following this message. We then had to change planes in Narita, so while I should have been Incheon around 3 p.m, I got there around 7 p.m. Which meant my journey back to Jeollabuk got a lot more complicated.
Did I mention there was a cat that was running around in the middle of all this?
Would I recommend upgrading to Economy Plus? Not necessarily. You’re literally only purchasing extra leg space. It wound up being perfect for a 16 hour flight, but I was fine in Economy on my flight from Incheon to Seoul, which was around 11 hours. If your flight is going to be loooooong, than I say, “Treat yo self.” Less than 10, you’ll be fine. Save the money to treat yo self with something fun wherever you’re traveling to.
Pretty good, nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about either. The captain did a good job of keeping us informed, and the stewardesses were polite-ish, but could be pushy a times. You could also tell when they were irritated, which I feel you should be able to hide in a customer service position. (No, I know you should because I’ve worked it before and been able to keep thoughts of strangling the customer clearly out of my tone).
Bless United, the temperature was perfect! Maybe even slightly chilly at times. My overhead fan worked in getting to me, and I was comfortable the whole time. I didn’t walk off sweating. It was perfect.
Food was pretty good for the one meal I had. You had the choice between ravioli and chicken teriyaki. I figured I wouldn’t be eating ravioli here for a while, so I went with that. It had chicken and spinach in it, which was a nice surprise, and we got ice cream sandwiches for desert. United had a really nice layout in their in-flight magazine about how they design their courses. I may have slept through some of them.
We didn’t get a breakfast meal because of the Japan switch, so on our Japan-Seoul flight we got half sandwiches. I don’t know what was in them, but they didn’t taste particularly good…
While we didn’t get any individual screens, if you had a tablet, phone, or laptop, you could pick your own movie and watch it on there. They also had plugs, so your phone won’t die, and they still had movies playing on the main screens. If you do want to watch on your tablet, download the United App. I didn’t and couldn’t for the life of me get the movies to work on my laptop.
In terms of movie/television selection the options were fantastic and recent. Also, you can buy wi-fi for $19.99 for the whole flight, but it’s very slow, and you can’t do very much with it.
Over all, United Economy Plus was a pretty good experience, and I’d recommend traveling with them over other airlines. They clearly care about making your flight better, and while there are still a few bugs to work out, they’re definitely trying. I’d probably not get economy plus again if I anticipate my flight being fairly short, but it was pretty nice to prop my feet up against a wall and let them stretch.
Words by Samantha, Photograph from Wikimedia Commons