I was flying back to New York with a friend and was shopping for flights with the best times and prices. United had the lowest fares, at $195 for a standard Economy fare. The next best-priced fare was JetBlue for $240. Although I have elite status with American which currently gets me benefits on JetBlue, I didn’t think it was worth the additional fare difference. So, United was booked! On the Los Angeles (LAX) to Newark (EWR) route, United has a variety of plane types, from the 777, 787 to the 757-200 that I was booked on.
United Flight 1128
Los Angeles (LAX) to Newark (EWR)
Status: On Time
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
I currently do not have any status with United, so there were only a few standard economy seats to choose from when I booked my flight about one month before departure. I was able to get two seats next to each other so I could sit with my friend, but they were in the second to last row of the plane.
Not to fret, a cool policy that United has is that 24 hours before the flight, all “preferred seats” that are saved for Mileage Plus elite members, are available to the general public. So, I checked in right at the 24-hour mark and saw “unique” preferred seats available in row 21. These seats are special because it’s in an exit row, it is missing a window seat to account for the aircraft door. Thus, there are only 2 seats on each side in this row (B, C and D, E) versus the standard 3-3 configuration for this aircraft.
Takeoff Tip: If you’re traveling with just one companion and want a row to yourself, book row 21 on the United 757-200 (Version 2) as it is the only row in Economy that is 2 seats across on each side.
I took these seats so my friend and I wouldn’t have to sit next to someone else. If you wanted to reserve these seats before the 24-hour mark and if you don’t have elite status, I checked two days before the flight and they were selling for $50 for the aisle seat and $32 for the middle seat.
At the Airport:
I visited the AMEX Centurion Lounge located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) before my flight and it was a solid place to grab a bite and get some work done (minus no runway views). The TBIT is a bit of a trek to United’s LAX Terminal 7, so allow extra time if you plan to do so. It’s all connected post-security through bridges and tunnels and took me about 20 minutes to walk.
Originally, my flight didn’t seem too full based on the seat map a few hours before departure. But, since the flight before us was delayed 2 hours, and the flight after us was scheduled to be delayed 3 hours, I bet a lot of people switched to our flight as gate agents announced it would be a completely full flight.
We boarded at 12:55 pm, 50 minutes before our scheduled departure. Booking a standard economy fare comes with a carry-on bag and allows you to board in Group 4. My friend and I got lucky, as we were the last two passengers they would allow on with carry-on bags. Phew! So, on full flights with the 757, just to note you may not get overhead space for your carry-on if you are in Group 4. There were still a decent amount of people behind us in Group 4 who were quite disappointed that they would have to gate-check their bags.
Disinfecting wipes were handed out during boarding which I appreciated. We finished boarding in 35 minutes, and we were just waiting for them to load the last remaining checked bags.
The Plane and Seat:
This specific aircraft had nice-looking modern cushions, and seat-back entertainment at every seat. Our specific plane was originally delivered to Continental Airlines over 24 years ago, but it definitely did not feel that old. A blanket was also waiting at each seat, which was a nice touch. The Los Angeles to Newark route is considered United’s premium transcontinental route, and this plane was also equipped with lie-flat Polaris seats in a 2-2 configuration (a step below the Polaris seats on widebodies with direct aisle access).
Our “special” seats in Row 21 were nice, and I thought the legroom was pretty good. It seemed to have been a bit more legroom than a standard economy seat as well. It is special as it is in the exit row, and the window has a door. So, row 21 is missing the window seat, and the window seat in row 22 has a ton of legroom.
SeatGuru states state that economy seats on this aircraft have 30-31 inches of pitch and 16.6 to 17.8 inches of width, depending on the seat. Additionally, they state that the row 21 seats are ones to “Be Aware” of. It says that the seat cushion is about half the thickness of others on the plane, which some find uncomfortable. I didn’t find the seat cushion particularly uncomfortable, but it also does not recline. For a 5.5-hour afternoon hop, it was fine for me. My friend said she was perfectly fine with the seat as well. Perhaps it would be less comfortable if the flight was a red-eye.
Our captain announced that our flight time once airborne would be 5 hours en route. Then, we needed to rearrange some seats towards the front of the cabin as a person had a pet but didn’t book it correctly, and needed a window seat. Most people were quite helpful and many volunteered so that our flight could leave on time.
We ended up pushing back from the gate about 10 minutes after our scheduled departure and after a relatively quick taxi for LAX, we took off about 10 minutes after leaving the gate.
Shortly after reaching cruising altitude, a snack and beverage service was provided. For snacks, the two choices were a savory snack mix (garlic bread bites, rye bagel chips, and mini pretzel twists) and a dark chocolate and sea salt chocolate quinoa crisp. Both tasted great, but the crisp was just too small!
Additionally, a nice touch is the full cans of soda given.
Two hours before landing, they came by with a water service. And, a little over one hour before landing, a second beverage service was provided which was nice.
The 10-inch seatback screen had high definition, with plenty of movies, tv shows, and songs. Similar to when I flew on United in Polaris, there was a cool relax mode where you could watch soothing videos and listen to calm music.
Another cool feature is “From The Flight Deck”, where you can hear live communication between the flight deck and FAA air traffic control. It was a cool feature to listen to!
On this flight, Wi-Fi was available for a flat $8 for MileagePlus Members or free for T-Mobile customers. Messaging was free for everyone. The network was by Panasonic, and it was a bit slow but allowed me to check emails and surf the web.
There are two lavatories in the rear of the aircraft and one in the middle for economy passengers. The time I used the lavatory it was quite clean which was appreciated.
Overall, I had a solid flight onboard the United 757-200 in Economy. The seatback IFE and multiple beverage services were highlights, but I wish their snacks were larger and more filling. Additionally, I highly recommend the two-seaters in Row 22 on this aircraft when traveling with just one companion, so you do not have to sit with a stranger.
Have you flown on the United 757-200 recently? How was your experience? Comment below!
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