Review of United flight Washington Houston in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA6238
Class Economy
Seat 12A
Aircraft Embraer E-175
Flight time 03:10
Take-off 18 Feb 17, 17:55
Arrival at 18 Feb 17, 20:05
UA   #36 out of 66 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 338 reviews
aussenrist
Published on 26th October 2018
Salut and bienvenue to my third part of American Travel Story!

The Law of Inevitability: UA/NH/NQ to Houston



This series will cover my business trip to the US in Feb 2017. To make the series not so horrifying, I will reveal the itinerary as we go on.

The report will be broken down as follows (all in Y):
Chapter 1 - NQ812 HKG-NRT B767-300ER [Here]
Chapter 2 - UA804 NRT-IAD B777-200ER [Here]
Chapter 3 - UA6238 IAD-IAH ERJ-195 [You are here!]
Chapter 4 - [Please wait]
Chapter 5 - [Sorry I am very busy! I will try my best lol]

This chapter will cover the flight from Washington Dulles to Houston Intercontinental. There will be little tourist bonus in the second half of the report.


Background



Once upon a time our company has an office in Houston. The Management thought that Houston was geographically too far away from our HK office. They decided to move the entire office to the Bay Area since they believed San Francisco is much more convenience to HK. In HR perspective we facilitated the relocation of our colleagues.

Nevertheless after several rounds of negotiations, the management changed their minds that Houston still has its values and should be maintained. As a result only part of the colleagues would be relocated to the Bay Area before Easter. Although I was supposed no need to travel to Houston, my boss considered I should meet the Houston colleagues in person as I was involved in this project. This trip was to attend the staff functions including a day tour concluded by a staff dinner before the relocation.

There are no direct flights between HK and Houston while my boss would fly CX/AA to Houston, I had to find another way going there according to Company Policy. Being an UA Premier Sliver member, my obvious choice is to fly UA/NH. Communicating with the travel agent, he initially proposed those straightforward routings with both legs on UA:

a. HKG-SFO on UA B747 then SFO-IAH (No thank you)
b. HKG-ORD on ex-UA B772 then ORD-IAH (the ex-UA bird is a bit crappy)
c. HKG-EWR on ex-CO B772 then EWR-IAH

But to me it was panic to fly on the ex-UA outdated aircrafts and transit via the US Customs. My preference would be having a stop at Tokyo in order to fly some NH/NQ. Here was my revised itinerary which would be the same as the Head did:

d. HKG-NRT-IAH on NQ then NH/UA on ex-CO B772

Later I was notified that I was only required to be in town on Sunday. I changed my mind and constructed a "creative" routing so that I could fulfill the UA Premier’s at-least-4-UA-flights requirement ASAP. The agent searched again and suggested those indirect routings with 2 stops:

e. HKG-NRT-LAX-IAH on NH then UA/NH and UA (IME not bad, but I had taken the similar routing before)
f. HKG-NRT-IAD-IAH on NH then UA and UA

Choice (f) looked attractive because I had not been to Dulles before. But the cons is it includes all what I not preferred such as taking a crappy ex-UA B772 and transiting via the US Customs. Besides, the total flight time would be longer because it is a back track from the East Coast to the South. But on the bright side I could earn more Premier qualifying miles (PQM) so why not? I rolled the dice the NRT-IAD flight would not be worse than my UA B747 experience (sadly as you know things went very wrong on that flight lol)


Washington Dulles International Airport



Previously on last report, there is a FIDS at the TSA exit once I returned to the departure level. I was greeted by a friendly agent standing near the FIDS and she proactively asked if I needed help. Knowing I was looking for the gate of my connecting flight, she rolled her eyes on the FIDS and told me my next flight would depart at Concourse D which is another end of the Terminal. And knowing it was my 1st time at Dulles, she also introduced the Dulles to me and explained the UA Terminal is indeed temporary and it would be demolished. She even joked a new one would be built after all the human beings died lol

photo 201702_16243

Perhaps I was just released from the hell, my first impression of Dulles UA Terminal was not bad at all! My rating of IAD bumped to 10 because it does have smoking rooms!!! I rushed inside and recharged myself after the horror. I felt much better then!

photo 201702_16281

Outside the smoking lounge there is a UA Global First lounge across the concourse

photo dscf1159 copy

The UA Terminal does not have moving walkways so it is a long walk across the Terminal to my gate. But I was not in hurry so I strolled slowly towards Concourse D

photo dscf1164 copy

Not surprisingly my rating of the United Terminal immediately fell to 8 because of its outdated and non-user friendly layout. During boarding the Gate area was jammed pack where the crowd spread over the entire Concourse.

photo dscf1168 copy

At Eternity's Gates to the notorious Moon (Buggies)

photo dscf1171 copy

Some Concourse C snapshots. United Globes can be seen everywhere

photo dscf1169 copyphoto dscf1161 copy

The United Club in Concourse C

photo dscf1174 copy

View of tarmac and Concourses A/B with European lineup

photo dscf1176 copy

Dulles PR advertisements are everywhere

photo 201702_17060

Another FIDS. My flight was shown on time

photo 201702_16540

An UA B739

photo dscf1172 copy

I reached the rainbow color corridor which indicates you are about to enter the Concourse D

photo dscf1182 copy

Unlike Concourse C, Concourse D had much fewer people in the late afternoon. Another United Club in Concourse D.

photo dscf1186 copy

Eateries in Concourse D. Despite in high risk of vomiting, I still brought a sandwich for my dinner because I was in extreme hungry

photo dscf1189 copy

My Gate. Only few passengers appeared at that moment

photo dscf1190 copy

My bird was already here (N86311, a 2.5-year-old E175)

photo dscf1192 copy

The Gate FIDS showed our plane was full today…

photo dscf1199 copy

And I was the 6th on the waiting list for upgrade

photo 201702_17310

Still had time I wondered around. There is another smoking room in Concourse D and I stayed there until boarding

photo 201702_17131

Boarding was called on time 30 minutes prior to departure and I backed to my Gate. Technically there was only 1 boarding line since all the passengers were in Group 1&2 lol

photo dscf1201 copy


Flight Report



Embarking

photo 201702_17382

Was that the reason for my coffee poisoning?!?

photo 201702_17384

The smiley FAs gave me a warm greeting

photo 201702_17391photo 201702_17394

I found my seat 12A. Seat pitch is always good on an UA E175

photo 201702_17443

View from the wing

photo dscf1205 copy

The seat back materials. I was very happy for the existence of the barf bag^^

photo dscf1203 copy

The FAs urged the passengers to board quickly since our plane would be followed by a tight schedule. However there was a passenger not showing up until 1751. We pushed back delayed a bit at 1759

Following was preflight safety demonstration

photo 201702_17570

Taxiing and OMG the HORROR: my previous bird was departing to FRA!!! I wished the passengers there would be OK throughout the journey lol

photo dscf1216 copy

We took off from Runway 30 15 minutes after pushed back

photo dscf1233 copy

Beverage services started once levelled off

photo 201702_18354

I requested OJ and a snack mix was also distributed

photo 201702_18374

I connected to the inflight Wi-Fi which was worked. Today we flew over along the Appalachian

photo 201702_18413

Standard entertainment offering

photo 201702_18435

My dinner. Don’t worry I did not vomit on this flight ;)

photo 201702_18401

Being a very ill person, I dozed off after dinner until descending

photo dscf1241 copy

Eventually we landed at runway 8R at 20:04. The pilot announced that there were no gates available so we had to wait awhile on the tarmac.

photo dscf1260 copy

In the end we were not only stuck on our seats, but also on the tarmac for half an hour…

photo 201702_20515photo 201702_20351

Finally we parked at Terminal C North at the scheduled arrival time

photo dscf1265 copy

Disembarking. Passengers rushed out of the plane for the toilet lol

photo 201702_20374

Last view of my bird. The new Terminal C North in the background was almost ready for opening

photo dscf1268 copy

Terminal C North airside. There was a long boarding queue to SCL

photo 201702_20435

Heading down to the baggage claim

photo dscf1269 copyphoto dscf1270 copyphoto 201702_20482

According to the FIDS, my bag would appear at carousel 10. But after waiting at that empty carousel for about 30 minutes it turned out that it was actually carousel 12!

photo dscf1272 copy

I picked my baggage and went outdoor. My company car was already here. I was OK and did not vomit on the car. I later rejoined my colleagues at hotel




Bonus: Houston I have a Problem: American Southern Story



Originally for the staff tour next day it started with visiting the NASA Space Center. But it kept raining on that morning so we changed our itinerary to the MFAH in the Museum District.

photo dscf1369 copy

It was good because it is indoor activity. And more importantly I did not feel very well on that day and began vomiting again after the breakfast lol



Here is the preview of next American Travel Story Apocalypse (if I had time to write lol)

photo dscf1340 copy

We had lunch in the Museum Café. Learning about my American Horror Story the day before, my US colleagues encouraged me to ask for compensation through the UA website. They even volunteered to draft the message to “appreciate” United lol

It was free time following the Museum visit. Suggested by our US colleagues, we went to the Hermann Park nearby.

photo dscf1388 copy

A WM B737 heading to HOU

photo dscf1387 copy

Bonjour Sam!

photo dscf1392 copy

It is a huge park and there were a lot of families having BBQ on Sunday

photo dscf1399 copy

The little train is the eye-catching of the Park^^

photo dscf1395 copyphoto dscf1404 copy 1

Unfortunately I had thrown in the towel in the Park so I went to the Texas Medical Center nearby lol The hospital outlook when I was discharged.

photo dscf1418 copy

I directly backed to my hotel taking rest rather than joining the evening staff dinner in the midtown.





This is the flight report and here is the preview of next report: Shall We Begin?

photo 201702_07494

Thank you for your reading!
See more

Verdict

United

7.1/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering5.5

Washington - IAD

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Houston - IAH

8.1/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

A standard domestic flight on UA which is smooth and comfortable. The cabin is clean with good seat pitch. Standard seat back materials and the WIFI is good. The crews are friendly. We arrived within the flight time.
For IAD, despite the outdated UA Terminal design, it is clean and smoker friendly since it has smoking rooms.
For IAH, it is spacious but the baggage claim is a hit and miss.

Related

12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 472187 by
    sotto_Deactivated 82 Comments

    UA's Y-Meal service at IAH (3 hrs) is downright ridiculous and poor compared to PG in Y HKT CNX (2 hrs).
    American airlines behave as if they invented flying. The consumer should avoid such airlines.

    • Comment 496269 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 225 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Sotto! Sorry for the very late reply lol
      Normally for US domestic flights only a snack would be provided except the trans-con route i.e. NYC-SFO/LAX. This is the norm when flying within the North America which the services concept is totally different from the Asian carriers. For PG I heard that their in-flight services are good. Maybe in one day I would fly on them as they have flights to HKG and are also an Asia Miles Partner^^

  • Comment 472250 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Hi Ashley,

    Sorry to read about your illness during your visit to IAH.

    IAD is very outdated and looks "provincial" compared to other major airports in the world. It certainly does not reflect on the status of being the premier intl airport for the capital of the USA.

    For a country that was a pioneer in the aviation industry and that had the most competitive airline industry at one time, the service that is offered on domestic flights is shameful. Everything is "nickel and dimed" and even if the pax is willing to pay for a dignified hot meal there is none to be offered. "How far the mighly have fallen" as the saying goes. At least your sandwich seemed to contain a decent amount of meat and you did not have to purge your consumption.

    Very nice pics documenting your journey. The bonus ones are especially compelling (except for the one of the hospital). Hopefully you will have the opportunity to revisit in a more agreeable condition.

    Thank you very much for sharing this enjoyable read.

    • Comment 472356 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5607 Comments

      "IAD is very outdated and looks "provincial" compared to other major airports in the world."
      - Only the United hub gates in Concourse C/D. My usual experience is Concourse A/B, which is certainly world class and beautiful.

      • Comment 472414 by
        jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

        Hey Kevin. I respectfully disagree. You mean that concourse where the TK and LH lounges are located with all the different world flags scattered around? It's marginally better but no way approaching a world class airport like HKG, SIN, MUC or ZRH.

        Granted, the big windows afford some great plane spotting, but apart from that I don't find it aesthetically compelling. It lacks a certain something - call it style or sophistication that is present at other world class airports that I do not find it here. It's just plain functional. ;)

        • Comment 472475 by
          KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5607 Comments

          You can't compare any U.S. Airport with HKG or SIN...that's not reasonable. Again, I'll disagree here, being that I fly out of IAD at least once a month, the experience of the main Saarinen Terminal and the A/B concourses (Yes where TK and LH lounges are) is hardly "outdated" or "provincial"

          • Comment 472739 by
            jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

            "You can't compare any U.S. Airport with HKG or SIN"
            - Au contraire, if anything the U.S. has always been at the forefront of the aviation industry and therefore should also have one of the best facilities in the world.

            "..the experience of the main Saarinen Terminal and the A/B concourses (Yes where TK and LH lounges are) is hardly "outdated" or "provincial"
            - I am sure that you are familiar with IAD like the back of your hand and your perspective is just as valid. Different strokes for different folks as the saying goes. Let's just say that we agree to disagree, especially on such a subjective topic. Bonne journée.

            • Comment 472742 by
              KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5607 Comments

              I’m obviously biased ;-P
              To me SIN and HKG are in a league of their own, but I get what you’re saying.
              Yes, the US should be at the forefront, sadly facility-wise, that’s not the case. Similar to the US carriers, the US industry in general has been at the forefront of cost cutting and race to bottom, sadly.

              Bonne soirée mon ami

    • Comment 496270 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 225 Comments

      Whoa un grand débat here HAHAHA BTW thanks for your comments Adan and Kévin! I am very sorry for the very late reply lol
      Both of you have your points regarding different parts of Dulles and it is a good example demonstrating the different perspectives^^ Yes the United Terminal at IAD is super crappy because it was used to be temporary. It is shame for United not having commitment there and even publicly blamed operating at Dulles is very expensive! Also, the transportation for IAD is also a miss but it should be better once the Sliver Line Extension is opened.
      On the other hand, we should not neglect the fact that it has some nice features especially the Saarinen Terminal which indeed has an important influence on the Airport’s architecture design in Asia such as Taoyuan Airport. Moreover, Dulles is one of few US airports having the smoking facilities, which is a big advantage for smokers.

  • Comment 472357 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5607 Comments

    Hey, Ashley, thanks for sharing this report. Sorry to hear you were sick. Typical domestic service for a U.S. carrier. In a way you were lucky to have an E-jet since they're so much more comfortable in Y with the 2-2 configuration and wider seats than A32X ot 737s. It is kind of surprising that they run such a small aircraft on a Hub-to-Hub route, but then again it's United...they just love RJs.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 496271 by
      aussenrist AUTHOR 225 Comments

      Merci pour votre commentaire Kévin ! Désolé pour réponse trop tard lol
      Originally this flight was an A320, but few days before UA changed it to an E-jet... IIRC UA also uses the E-jets between SFO/LAX. Agreed with you that UA’s E-jets are more comfortable than 737s (the leg room also) !

Login to post a comment.