Review of United flight Mumbai Newark in Premium Eco

Airline United
Flight UA49
Class Premium Eco
Seat 20B
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 16:25
Take-off 18 Feb 19, 00:10
Arrival at 18 Feb 19, 06:05
UA   #113 out of 130 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 275 reviews
Trojans
By 2766
Published on 19th February 2019
Welcome to my trip report covering BOM-EWR in United's new Premium Plus (Premium Economy) seat. I don't have too many pics of the service given cabin was dark throughout but still wanted to give some feedback on these new seats.


BOM airport was decorated outside for Chattrapati Shivaji Jayanti(Birth Anniversary) that falls on 19th Feb.

photo 20190217_213209photo 20190217_213211

Uber ride was convenient and I was at the airport at 9.35 PM for our 12.10 AM departure to Newark

photo 20190217_213455


Check-In


Having lost my 1K status on Feb 1, I resigned myself to back of the loooooong check-in queue. It was about 45 people deep and I had no clue how we would make it in time given the security and immigration lines are long too.

photo 20190217_213925

I had done OLCI, so my check-in was quick. Prior to reaching the desk, there was an agent asking some security questions. He asked to see a printout of my itinerary and I kindly asked him to see his passenger manifest that he had in hand. He already had my passport. I asked the check-in agent about the long lines and they said they are allowed only 7 desks by the airport and they were using 8 tonight. I suggested to them that they should have a bag drop line for those who have checked in online(and already completed the US APIS. I was done with check-in by 10.40 PM and now had to navigate the security and immigration lines.

some artwork after security
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I made a quick visit to the Loyalty Lounge which has changed since I last visited in November 2018. I was directed to the space which was earlier used by the Pranaam GVK Lounge. There were still some people going one level down to the old Loyalty Lounge. I didn't have much time to explore both. The food was simple - veg and chicken biryani and one some veg and chicken curry along with 2 salads and some sandwiches. I didn't see any alcohol here.

After a quick bite - I made by way to Gate 46 - the only gate that can handle the secondary screening for US bound flights.




Premium Economy Seat

I was able to select PE seat as I was a United 1K when I had booked my ticket. It made the 16 hour ride much more comfortable given how bad the 3-4-3 economy seating is on this plane. The interior looked clean and new. I had the bulkhead aisle seat which had loads of legroom - enough for the window passenger to go over without disturbing me. All the passengers in PE knew we were lucky to be assigned a plane with PE seats and able to score the free upgrade before UA begins to charge for the PE seats from April.



The seat controls took some time to get used to. There were 3 main buttons - 1 for recline and the other 2 to manage the footrest. There was also a button to lower the aisle side armrest - but it seemed like a useless option to have. The seat didn't seem too wide compared to the pmCO planes that used to operate on this route. There was a USB port, individual power and audio ports under the armrest which could be flipped up. for easy access. There was some storage space under the armrest for simple things line phone or ipad. Overall the seat was a decent upgrade compared to the dense seating in regular coach

Dinner

Dinner was served soon after takeoff - veg or chicken with vegetables. I opted for the Veg meal which was some creamy paneer dish with white rice. After dinner service, we were given one small potato sandwich and a small chocolate to have during the flight. Dessert was a small tub of Kheer. Soon after dinner, I put on my eyeshades and ear plugs and slept.

I(and almost everyone in Premium Economy) were woken up about 6 hours later by a family of 4 that were split between business and PE and they gathered in the middle of the night speaking loudly. They were rotating amongst themselves between business and PE. I made a trip to the back galley. They had tea, coffee, juice and water available. I got some tea and saw a movie. With 4 hours still remaining, I managed to sleep for another 2 hours and then woke up for the breakfast service.

Breakfast

Breakfast was either eggs or veg. Veg was south indian - 2 small uttapa's with a medu vada sambar, muffin, plain yogurt(why would they give a plain yogurt with an south indian breakfast!) and some fruits.

Soon we were in Newark with a busy immigration hall. It was good to land on President's Day Holiday - there was no traffic on the turnpike and I made it to NYC in 20 minutes.
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Verdict

United

4.8/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew4.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering1.0

Mumbai - BOM

7.3/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness5.0

Newark - EWR

1.0/10
Efficiency0.0
Access1.5
Services1.0
Cleanliness1.5

Conclusion

Overall - the seat was pleasant with great leg room. It's not something I would buy up to though. In fact, after this trip I will avoid the nonstop on United 773's in coach.
The 3-4-3 are super dense and unpleasant for 16 hour journeys. I think United missed a great opportunity to fit better seats. I prefer BA's new WTP seats to these.
I found the incline was not that great and it gacve me lower back pain after few hours.

Related

4 Comments

  • Comment 489098 by
    lbfortress 54 Comments

    Unfortunately, United is converting more of their 777 to 3-4-3 in economy. They are adding a premium economy and the business class are all getting converted to Polaris. So it will be bad for us peasants and nice for those who can afford it or have the status to upgrade. The food sounded nice. No pictures? I've read that the Indian/Hindu meals are usually the better meals on United.

    • Comment 489141 by
      Trojans AUTHOR 2 Comments

      The meal service was same as regular economy. After March 29th - it will be a true PE service. I could not click pics as the cabin was dark during both meal services and people were sleeping around me. In fact, I could not even see what I was eating for the mains. The Hindu/Indian meals are better than regular UA meals for sure (ex EWR and India). Since I had eaten in the lounge prior to boarding, I had just a few bites of the main and had the desert which was decent.

      I was in regular economy on EWR-BOM last week - it was bearable only because I had 2 vacant seats next to me(in the middle 4). The main issue is your knees will be crushed if the person ahead reclines as with no recline, my knees were touching the seat in front and that there was media equipment which took away some leg space. I'll do everything possible to avoid these non-stops on United

  • Comment 489385 by
    koresh SILVER 41 Comments

    The 3-4-3 economy seating on Boeing 773ER is very uncomfortable. I couldn't bear it on a 5 hr flight from Hong Kong to Mumbai. I dreaded the return flight after that experience on Cathay Pacific. Would requires lots of tolerance to be sitting for 12 hrs.

    Enjoyed reading your trip report. Thanks for sharing

  • Comment 489752 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4780 Comments

    Hi Trojans, thanks for this first look at United's new Premium Economy product! The cabin looks nice and is a nice upgrade from the awful new 3-4-3 Y configuration. It sounds like UA is doing what AA did before they introduced Premium Economy officially for sale by making the seats EconomyPlus or free for pax with status with Economy service. I find the easiest way to take meal pics on night flights is to switch on the individual reading light for a minute to take a pic. I usually have it on when I eat on night flights anyway---gotta see what you're eating so you don't make a mess haha.

    Thanks for sharing!

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