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Review: United B767-300 Premium Economy (IAH-EWR)

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

After arriving in Houston on my United Express flight from Baton Rouge it was time for the next part of the trip, one that I was really looking forward to. I hadn't been on a 767 in 5 years so I was looking forward to hopping back on board.


Booking

Before the New York segment of this trip was added, I was planning on flying back to Austin from Baton Rouge and booked a flight back, via Houston, with United. A couple months before departure I had to cancel that flight and rebook which I worried would result in an extremely high fare. Fortunately, I booked my one way flight in Economy from Baton Rouge to Newark, via Houston seven weeks before departure for $270.


Pre-Flight

We arrived into Houston 10 minutes early and I headed for the Skyway tram and Terminal E. 15 minutes after arrival I was off the train and headed for my departure gate.

I was still exhausted from my weekend in Baton Rouge so, after making my way to Gate E7 with 45 minutes until boarding, I found a nearby restaurant to get some food and recharge. On a longer layover I would have headed for the Houston Centurion Lounge.

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Departure Gate E7 Interior
Houston-Intercontinental Departure Gate E7

The closest restaurant to the gate was El Premio Tex Mex Bar and Grill. The place was completely deserted at 10:30a so I had my choice of seats at the bar. I ordered a Dos XX dressed and a chicken Caesar salad hoping that it would bring me back to life.

The salad and a little hair of the dog hit the spot and I headed off to Gate E7 to board my flight to Newark.


Boarding

Boarding for our flight was slightly delayed and I arrived at the gate 15 minutes after our scheduled boarding time. By this point the lines were quite long and, with United putting First Class and 3/4 of their elite status tiers in Group 1, it felt like half the plane on this high J 767 was already lined up.

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Gate E7 Boarding Area
Boarding queue for United 255 to Newark

Boarding finally began 20 minutes behind schedule and the line was moving slow as the e-gates were in use and not playing nicely this morning. As I neared the front of the queue, boarding was paused due to some wheelchair passengers needing some extra time to get into their seats.

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Gate E7 E-Gates
E-gates in use for our flight this morning

The pause in boarding was short and, after a few attempts at scanning my boarding pass, the e-gates opened and I headed down the jet bridge.


United Airlines

UA 255

IAH-EWR (Houston-Bush Intercontinental - Newark Liberty International)

Seat: 21F (Premium Economy)

B767-300 (N643UA)

Scheduled: 11:55a-4:29p

Actual: 12:14p-4:58p


The jet bridge at Gate E7 was quite long and didn't provide a great view of our plane, though I did manage to sneak a peek of the side of our 767 that would be taking me to Newark.

A United Boeing 767 waits at the end of the jet bridge at Houston's Intercontinental Airport
N643UA Peeking around the Corner

Seat

I boarded through door 1L and crossed over to the far side of the aircraft before making a right through the First Class cabin. This 767 was in a premium heavy configuration and featured 46 seats spread across 18 rows. The Premium Economy cabin, branded as Premium Plus, is located directly behind First Class and features 22 seats spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration (the center section only has three rows). The Premium Economy seats have the look and feel of domestic first class seats. The best news for travelers is that there aren't any middle seats in the Premium Economy cabin on United's 767, due to the fuselage width.

United Airlines Boeing 767-300 Premium Plus Seats
United B767-300 Premium Plus Seating

I selected seat 21F, an aisle seat in the center section of the cabin. While the flight between Houston and Newark isn't terribly long, I liked this location since I had direct aisle access and nobody had to climb over me. I was able to book these seats on an Economy ticket thanks to my United status. That's because United treats these as Economy Plus extra legroom seats on domestic, non-premium flights.


While the legroom and seats resembled domestic First Class, there were a few additional amenities since this is an internationally equipped aircraft. Most notably, a footrest could be folded down from the seat in front and a leg rest was also available. I chose not to use either one for the duration of the flight since it was the middle of the day.

United Boeing 767 Premium Plus Cabin Legroom Seat 21F
United Boeing 767 Premium Plus Legroom
United Boeing 767-300 Premium Plus Seatback Footrest
United Boeing 767 Premium Plus Seatback Footrest

A large and crisp IFE screen was mounted in the seatback and measured over 13" in size. It was well stocked with a variety of movies and TV shows. A coat hook was also located on the seatback though it wasn't really practical to use.

The IFE remote and seat controls were located on the side of the armrest between the two seats. While it may be nice to have a remote when the seat is reclined, I never used it on this flight as I found the touchscreen in the seat back easy to reach and use.

United 7Boeing 67-300 Premium Plus Seat and IFE Controls
United 767-300 Premium Plus Seat and IFE Controls

A power outlet with 12V and USB-A connections were also located next to the seat.

United Boeing 767-300 Premium Plus In-Seat Power
United 767-300 Premium Plus In-Seat Power

Finally, on the opposite side of the seat, the tray table was located in the armrest closest to the aisle. It popped up and out with a pull of a small lever, though it took more force than expected to get it to release.

United Boeing 767-300 Premium Plus Tray Table
United 767-300 Premium Plus Tray Table

Departure

With the delay boarding and a slight ATC delay into Newark, we ended up pushing off of the gate roughly 20 minutes late. During our taxi to the runway the cabin crew came through with earbuds.

United Airlines Premium Plus Earbuds
United Premium Plus Earbuds

Since I wasn't seated near a window, I didn't have any good views of our departure from Houston but we had a smooth climb up to our cruising altitude. As we climbed out of Houston I fired up the IFE and started a movie, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. While the cast looked promising, the movie was far from memorable.


In-Flight

About 30 minutes after takeoff the cabin crew started their in-flight service. Since United treats this as an extension of the Economy Cabin on domestic routes, the service was no different than you would find on any other United Economy flight.


We were given the choice of snack mix or cookies along with a selection of complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. I took the snack mix and a cup of black coffee. Snack boxes and alcoholic beverages were also available for purchase. I was still celebrating the LSU win so I ordered a vodka soda as well.

United Boeing 767-300 Premium Plus In-Flight Service
United Premium Plus In-Flight Service

I passed the time after the snack service watching the remainder of the movie and working on a backlog of trip reports. Once the movie ended, the IFE had a neat feature that showed the time remaining in-flight and the movies that you could finish in that amount of time. Maybe I've been overlooking it (or flying too many ancient United A320's with no IFE) but I really appreciated the concept.

United Boeing 767-300 Premium Plus IFE Countdown Screen
United 767-300 Premium Plus IFE Countdown Screen

After the movie finished I decided to visit the lavatory. While the 767 is one of the narrowest widebody aircraft, the bathrooms were still spacious enough. Though they were fairly sparse.

On the way back to my seat I got a good view of the Economy cabin. The 767 is one of my favorite long haul planes as there is only one middle seat per row. This particular layout is also great for elites due to the large number of Business Class, Premium Economy, and extra legroom Economy seats. There are only 56 economy seats on this plane.

United Airlines Boeing 767-300 Economy Cabin
United 767-300 Economy Cabin

Arrival

Back at my seat, we began a long and twisty approach into Newark. Airspace around New York City is already congested and the poor weather they were experiencing made it worse. Fortunately, the bumps were minimal since we were on a widebody.


We touched down thirty minutes behind schedule and taxied over to gate C90. Though our total delay was only 29 minutes, some folks were scrambling to make International connections. Since Mrs. ATX's flight from Austin was delayed due to weather, I wasn't in a rush and waited for most of the plane to disembark before grabbing my bags and heading out into the terminal. I got a great look at N643UA, an almost 33 year old bird that delivered us safely to Newark.

United Airlines 767-300 N643UA at Newark Liberty International Airport
N643UA, our 33 year old 767 that brought us from Houston to Newark

Since Mrs. ATX was scheduled to arrive at Terminal A, I headed for the inter-terminal transfer shuttle located at gate C71.

Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal C Intra-Terminal Transfer Shuttle Stop
Newark Airport Terminal C Shuttle Stop

From there, it was a 10 minute ride over to Terminal A. This was my first visit to the new terminal and the place was absolutely gorgeous. If you couldn't see the NYC skyline and all of the United aircraft, you may have forgotten you were in Newark!

Mrs. ATX's flight finally arrived from Austin, an hour and a half late, and we headed to baggage claim before grabbing an Uber into the city.


Summary

Flying a widebody on a domestic flight is always going to be a better experience than a narrowbody on the same route. This particular flight was extremely comfortable thanks to the new Premium Plus cabin on the 767 that I was able to book for free thanks to my status. The cabin crew was friendly, the seats were comfortable, and the IFE was crisp. Not only would I gladly fly this product again, I'd likely go out of my way to do so.


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