In reviewing a seat map for an upcoming trip, I noticed something unusual on my Embraer 145 ExpressJet flight – rows one and 12 were showing as Economy Plus. Odd, I thought, since I’ve never seen that before having flown on ERJ-145s previously and while there is a touch more legroom, it’s certainly not what I’d consider to be United’s standard Economy Plus product. Particularly row one.
In this now ancillary revenue-driven industry, however, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at United wanting to bilk a few extra bucks out of “premium” rows on single-cabin regional jets. Still a bit shady in my opinion, but then I was even more taken back looking at my return from the same city.
This time I am on a Trans States Airlines Embraer 145 and the seat map didn’t show the same Economy Plus zone, if you will, in green. So I decided to log out and do a test booking as a non-elite flyer. I chose some dates and picked an ExpressJet flight one-way and Trans States on the way back. In selecting seats on ExpressJet, I was indeed offered to buy up to Economy Plus.
On the way back on Trans States, I was able to select the same exit row seat (which I thought was odd by itself as a non-elite) without having to pay for it.
And so my final itinerary shows me in the same seat on both flights, albeit different operating carriers, on the same type of aircraft, but one costs $19 and is labeled Economy Plus.
Total marketing fail. It’s inconsistent, deceptive and absolutely doesn’t live up to what Economy Plus truly is. The infrequent traveler will be nothing but confused and sorely let down if they were to book such an itinerary, probably leaving a lasting impression that they wasted 20 bucks on a crappy seat with United.
I checked more markets and found the same scenario. It seems only ExpressJet ERJ-145s are loaded with this faux-Economy Plus offering. United either needs to remove the sale of those seats it from ExpressJet or – gasp – add it across all United Express carriers operating the Embraer 145.
Do the right thing, United… just remove the sale of Economy Plus from smaller single-cabin regional jets. The offering doesn’t live up to the marketed product on those jets.