Cross Country in a Crew Rest Seat

like a magical unicorn flying over a rainbow, i managed to snag the elusive crew rest seat. i’ve always seen them curtained off on long flights (so the crew can rest, duh) and when they opened up a couple days before my flight this morning from SFO to EWR, i nabbed one right away before even knowing what it entailed. i originally just wanted to see what they’re like, but then i saw rumors on flyertalk about the magical economy plus plus seating and partial business class service (including the meal!) — and i was hooked! if you see the seat available on before the online check-in window opens, grab it, and even though it won’t show you in that seat, chances are, you are. that was the case for me, although i did call to verify.

a sign this might not last, though: while waiting for the flight to take off, several flight attendants were arguing about whether or not crew rest seats, which are sold as economy (and available as economy plus, i.e., free for united elite and purchase for others) but physically located in the business class section, should indeed get served a meal. one FA: “well, last time, we just did it as a courtesy” and “they do load 30 meals” (i.e., enough to cover everyone). the other: “well, i’m not doing it. i’m not doing it!” they called several others into their discussion and i’m not sure exactly how it ended, but as you can see below, we did get served!

the crew rest seats look like regular economy plus seats, but with more legroom and a footrest. there were international business class blankets (the quilted ones) and large pillows (but they ran out of pillows by the time they got to 14B, i guess, so all i got was a first class pillowcase lol) waiting on the seat, and we were offered water or orange juice before takeoff. i’m not sure if we could have gotten free booze or not since i don’t drink, but we did not get a printed menu or a bread roll with meal service. unlike what seatguru says, i couldn’t find a power outlet.

hopefully this “courtesy” continues, and if you are on a domestic flight in a three-class 767-300, watch like a hawk starting maybe 3 days before departure to try and nab one of these seats in rows 13 and 14!

the main drawbacks are that you’re staring down someone in a rear-facing business seat and there is very little underseat stowage, and the overhead bin above row 14 doesn’t open all the way due to the tied-back curtain.

you do get served with business class place settings. you have coach-style in-flight entertainment via a screen that swings up. (i chose to watch something on my tablet instead.)

we were verbally offered french toast or eggs; i chose the eggs. tasted better than it looks. (she was also nice enough put down a a cloth placemat.)

there is a footrest that extends. the large unmarked button next to the ones that make the seat recline and release the video screen makes the footrest pop up; there is a black handle on top of the footrest that you can pull to extend the length of it.

ok, gotta run. flight to hamburg starts boarding in 10 minutes.

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