Minneapolis, MN - Washington, DC (MSP - IAD) | United Express (Mesa) | E175 [THIS REPORT]
I arrived at MSP about three hours before the 12:15 scheduled departure time. On this post-thanksgiving Monday, the line for security was fairly quick – I was through the north checkpoint in about 15 minutes. Once through, I made a quick trip to the end of the E concourse for some quick spotting. I believe this was the final time I saw the old AA livery on a 737 other than the heritage bird.
Wanting to get some breakfast and avoid some of the crowds in the main mall area of the terminal, I headed to the Caribou Coffee near the A/B concourse. Another plus of the location is the seating looking over the A/B aisle, recently expanded by removing the inside B-concourse jet bridges. That change allows the larger CRJs to park at A gates.
I had a great view of a CRJ-200 arriving at A2 from Minot, ND.
After a while it was time to head to gate E7 for the flight back to IAD.
Our E175 arrived on time from IAH. At the time, United's boarding process was the typical handful of separated lines in front of the gate, where standing around was pretty much required. They've just announced a change to the process that simplifies this to two lanes and reduces lines extending into common areas of the terminals. For this flight, I was in boarding zone 3, and was the first to board in that zone thanks to some well-timed line waiting.
As this was my first time on United's E175, I was quite intrigued by the cabin. Outfitted with UA's latest slimline seats, I initially though they would be like sitting on a park bench…
However, once I sat down in 22A, I was pleasantly surprised at how the seat felt: firm but supportive. Far from the worst seat I've experienced.
Another side effect of these seats being so slim is that the legroom is slightly increased. I'd estimate just over an inch more in front of my knees than AA's E175. This is further helped by the seatback literature pocket being located at the top, away from your knee room.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the seating on this E175.
AA Maddog out at E11.
Just before we pushed back, another E175 arrived into E9.
Taxi and Departure
We pushed back from E7 a few minutes prior to scheduled departure time. Another view of the AA MD-80.
DL MD-90 with its rear stairs lowered.
Heading for runway 17 past the spotting area.
Takeoff, with a distant view of downtown St. Paul.
We quickly reached our cruising altitude.
Service on this flight was the standard afternoon offering from United. I got pretzels and a decent coffee.
The cruise phase of this flight went by quickly with the help of some pre-downloaded Netflix content. Streaming IFE was available, but I did not use it on this flight.
After a relatively quick cruise, we started descent towards the Washington area.
Turning towards the south, over the distant DC suburbs.
Turned back to the north right over Manassas airport.
Landing on 01C.
Taxiing for the D gates. Along with the AN-124 out on the W ramp, I managed to catch Aeroflot's once-weekly service to SVO taxi out.
Minneapolis - MSP
Washington - IAD
This flight was an easy journey to conclude this trip. MSP airport continues to be one of my favorites in the US. Mesa's E175 was a comfortable option, far better than their CRJ-700 I've previously taken on this MSP-IAD leg.
Dulles is a great airport continued to be let down by the United gates on concourses C and D. Unfortunately, those gates aren't being replaced anytime soon, so when flying UA out of Dulles, I will continue to spend as much time as possible in the A/B concourse.
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