Who doesn’t want to travel in First Class? Well, most of us do. If you're flying with United Airlines and want to upgrade to first-class or a similar experience, you can use their seat upgrade option. United Airlines Seat Upgrade service allows you to change your seat to a higher cabin for an additional cost. To proceed with this seat upgrade request, you need to follow a certain set of rules. This blog outlines all the information you need to change to a better seat option on United Airlines. Let’s learn more about it in the subsections below.

Who Is Eligible For United Airlines Seat Upgrades?

Anyone who booked a United Airlines or United Express flight is eligible to upgrade their seats as long as they pay a certain fee. The process and time for requesting an upgrade totally depend on your United Premier status level. Here is a simple introduction for your reference:

Premier Members

If you are a premier member with a proper status level on United Airlines, you can upgrade your seats at any time up until you board. You can even request a seat upgrade onboard depending on some conditions. 

In case there are no seat assignments available, you can check back closer to the departure date or ask a gate representative to help you upgrade your seats with United.

Non-Premier Members

If you are not a member of United Premier, you can purchase an Economy Plus seat directly or upgrade to this cabin at the time of booking flights. In case, you have a Basic Economy booking, you can only purchase a Plus seat while checking in for your United Airlines flight booking.

United Airlines Seat Upgrade Types and Conditions

There are several types of upgrades offered by United Airlines and your Premier status level decides when and how you can request it. There are free upgrades with MileagePlus rewards and paid or complimentary upgrades for select customers. Follow the table below to completely understand the available options and methods to request United Airlines for an upgrade of seats.

Upgrade OptionAvailabilityMethods for Upgrading
Upgrade to Economy Plus or Premium CabinAnytime before boarding

Online at United.com 

Using the United app 

Via the United Customer Contact Center 

At airport check-in kiosks 

With a gate agent

MileagePlus Travel AwardDuring and post-booking

Online at United.com

Using the United app 

Via the United Customer Contact Center

MileagePlus Upgrade AwardThroughout the booking process, at check-in, and at the gate

Online at United.com

Via the United Customer Contact Center

With a gate agent

Star Alliance Upgrade AwardAfter booking

MileagePlus members:

Online at United.com

Premier members: 

Online at United.com Via the United

Customer Contact Center

Complimentary Premier UpgradesAvailable on eligible Premier Member flights as long as space is available

Automatically applied to eligible flights

Using the United App

Contact the United Customer Contact Center

PlusPoints UpgradesIf you have enough PlusPoints and you are a member of Premier Platinum or Premier 1K

On United flights and selected partner airlines.

You can even upgrade another traveler not on your reservations.

How Do I Upgrade My United Airlines Flight Seats?

To upgrade your flight seats with United Airlines and get a higher cabin booking with advanced services, you have plenty of options. Here are the details:

Use Your MileagePlus Account

  • Open the United Airlines Booking website (www.united.com).
  • Sign in to your MileagePlus Account.
  • Choose the flight you wish to upgrade seats on.
  • You will see an Upgrade reservation option if you are eligible for it.
  • Make your request online by following the screen prompts.
  • If you have upgrade priority, your request will be processed right away.
  • Otherwise, you’d be put on the waiting list.
  • As soon as your selected upgrade becomes available, you will receive a notification.
  • Use the email you received to process your upgrade.

After these steps, you will get new ticket details, using which you can download your boarding pass to get ready to fly.

Call United Airlines Reservations

  • Find and dial the United Airlines customer service number.
  • You can even call the Premier Priority Desk number on your digital membership card.
  • Follow the IVR menu to connect to a live person at United.
  • Once the call connects, you can share your upgrade requirements with the airline.
  • After that, the agent will ask for your flight details.
  • Share your personal information with him as well.
  • He will check your upgrade eligibility and even help you upgrade your seats.

Keep in mind that you must pay a small charge as a seat upgrade fee to United Airlines as you request a new seat in a higher cabin. This fee is mandatory as you are switching from a lower cabin to a higher cabin.

Talk to an Airport Agent

You can even talk with an airport agent at the United Airlines check-in desk or your gate agent to ask for an upgrade. Make sure that you are early to get the chance for Airport upgrades, as time is key when departure is near. Usually, in such a scenario, an upgrade is only available to you when an existing passenger gives up his seat at the last minute. To get this upgrade you must share your travel details and related documents with the agent and understand the detailed process to process the request.

Use Your Flight Details for Paid Upgrades

If you are not a MileagePlus member and do not have any awards for complimentary upgrades, you can also request paid upgrades. Here are the simple steps to follow:

  • Visit the United Airlines official website.
  • Search and select your flights using your flight number & last name.
  • Check if you see a Seat Upgrade option on the flight you wish to upgrade.
  • If you are eligible, make your request.
  • Follow the screen instructions to make your request.
  • Wait for the response from the airline.
  • Process your upgrade and make payments.
  • Confirm and get ready for your departure with an upgraded seat.

Remember that United Airlines puts you on a priority waitlist, and once you are cleared, you will get upgraded seats.

How Does United Airlines Waitlist Priority Works for Upgrades?

United Airlines system processes seat upgrade requests until three hours prior to the flight’s departure. If you want to make any request beyond that, you can only visit a gate agent at your departure gate. Also, the airline puts you on a priority waitlist that works in the following order (decreasing):

  • United Global Services Requests.
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Rewards
  • PlusPoints Upgrades
  • Premier Status Travelers
  • Fare Cabin higher to higher first and lower to higher next.
  • United Club Infinite Card Holders
  • United Presidential Plus Card Holders
  • Participants of the United Corporate Preferred Program.
  • United Chase Cardholders who have annual spending of $25000.
  • Date and Time of your Upgrade request.

If your seat upgrade request does not get confirmed until you check-in the airline adds you to an upgrade standby list. On eligible flights, you can fly on standby with your upgrade request as long as the seats become available later.

See Also: What is the United Airlines Seat Selection Policy?

Final Words

That’s all you need to know about seat upgrades with United Airlines. The airline does not charge any fee for award upgrade requests, but it will be chargeable if you request a paid upgrade with a fee depending on several factors. You can find out more about this option through United Airlines customer service or connect with us at Unitedfareshub for real-time information. Feel free to contact us and get answers to upgrade your flight seats with ease.