Aug192018

United 777-300ER 50A-B, K-L are my favorite economy seats

Last month I had a United Airlines reset. Our flight San Francisco SFO to Frankfurt FRA was my best economy flight with UA of the past two years. Our reserved seats on the United 777-300ER aircraft were last row 51 K-L, but had been changed to another row in the middle of the aircraft by UA when I checked in.

UA has pissed me off by changing our pre-selected seats at ticketing time for our past two transatlantic flights and even separating us to different rows on our flight from Munich to SFO in June to “keep a family together”.

United kiosk check-in at SFO airport allowed me to change our seats again. When I saw loads of seat availability options, I ended up in my favorite economy seats 50 A-B (or 50 K-L) on the 777-300ER aircraft.

Advantages of Row 50-51 window side seats (A-B, K-L) are:

  • Only 2 economy seats side-by-side when all other economy rows on aircraft are 3 seats.
  • Row 50 has more leg room than row 51 as we found out when testing seats in both rows. Apparently, row 51 has less pitch than row 50 based on our direct comparisons.
  • Row 50 has advantage to Row 51 with Row 49’s 3-seat arrangement providing an extra seat for additional underseat storage.
  • Row 51 has advantage of being last row, so nobody can push on back of your seat, but disadvantage of being next to toilet and toilet flush is loud enough to hear if you are not listening to other music or movie sounds.
  • Row 50 has advantage over row 51 with access to two AC outlets. Row 51 only has one AC outlet.

UA 777-300ER Seat 50B and 50K have 1.5x underseat storage space. Row 50 has two AC outlets.

UA 777-300ER Row 51A-B had smaller pitch. Kelley’s knees had less space than when seated in Row 50. Only 1 AC outlet and less underseat storage space.

My previous four United Airlines transatlantic flights in 2017 and 2018 had me wondering why I bother buying UA tickets to earn Aegean Airlines Tier Miles for Star Alliance elite status. I could have saved at least $100 per ticket flying cheaper Lufthansa-operated flights.

San Francisco Airport Beatles G gate

To our delight, the San Francisco SFO to Frankfurt flight had only about 35% passenger load in economy.

We were the only passengers seated in Row 50.

Kelley used the ‘boarding complete’ signal to move to Row 50 middle section with 4 seats to lie flat for most of the flight.

Downtown San Francisco. Tallest skyscraper is Salesforce Tower (1,070 ft). Bay Bridge visible, whereas Golden Gate enshrouded on typical July fog day afternoon.

Customer service was even better than I expected. I received special order Hindu meals after having my special order meals on the last two United transatlantic flights given to other passengers following seat changes imposed by United to keep other “families seated together”.

To top off the flight experience for me, Stella was on board the flight.

Stella Artois on board

Kelley in Row 50 lie-flat ‘poverty jetsetter’ class.

I don’t sleep much on planes. My preferred activity is binge-watching movies.

Frankfurt Airport FRA

In the ethereal space and time of air travel between continents, we followed our tradition for adjusting to jet lag, local time and the leisurely pursuit of happiness. While waiting 2 hours for our Lufthansa flight to Rome FCO, we hit the central dining hub of the terminal for a pint of German lager at Hausmann’s.

Hausmann’s Frankfurt Airport

Welcome to Rome FCO Fiumicino Airport.

United Airlines Rome – San Francisco round trip ticket $506

United economy class ticket flying Rome FCO-Munich MUC-San Francisco SFO-Frankfurt FRA-Rome FCO in the last week of June outbound to SFO and back to Rome in mid-July cost $506 round trip per person.

United Mileage Plus earning for this economy K class (FCO-SFO outbound) and economy L class (SFO-FCO) ticket would have been 1,690 redeemable frequent flyer miles, 346 PQD and 12,173 PQM. I do not have any United Mileage Plus elite status.

We credited the two long-haul transatlantic flight segments to our Aegean Miles+Bonus accounts for 50% Tier Miles earned. Aegean Miles+Bonus credited 5,775 Tier Miles and redeemable miles for the two UA flights MUC-SFO, SFO-FRA.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. You got lucky. I’d take those 2 seat rows over cramped PE seats. Especially if you have the row to yourself. Had that happen on a LAX-SYD, and I felt like I had won the lottery!

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