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United Will Charge Fees for Economy Seats at the Front of the Plane

How much is getting off the plane a minute or two faster worth to you? United Airlines is banking on the fact that some flyers will pay more for the privilege of sitting in the front of the economy cabin—even though the seats will have the same exact amount of legroom and features as the ones in the back.

It’s somewhat unsurprising another airline is tacking on an obscure seating fee. Maybe United should start auctioning off the seats in the front to people who are about to miss their connecting flight due to a United delay, as they would be more motivated to be in the first few rows to exit.

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According to Travel Weekly, the airline will start charging more for seats in the front of the economy cabin as part of its new Corporate Preferred program, which will give benefits (including free dibs on those front seats) to flyers whose employers have a corporate contract with United Airlines.

[st_content_ad]United has not yet said how much they plan on charging for those seats. Frequent flyers who have United’s Mileage Plus Premier status will also be able to reserve those seats for free.

Everyone else? Head to the back of the plane or prepare to pay (or wait, as any unsold front seats will be released for free at the time of check-in).

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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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