Flight-Report

Review of United flight Houston Newark in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA557
Class Economy
Seat 21A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:55
Take-off 19 Feb 17, 11:30
Arrival at 19 Feb 17, 15:25
UA   #111 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 270 reviews
ashleyyau
By 580
Published on 23rd April 2019

Bonjour à tous ! Following the American Travel/Vacation Story I am going to start a new series ACS! ^^ 
 


Title to be REVEALED


This series will cover my trip to visit my little brother who was studying aboard in Feb 2017. To make the series a bit mystery, the itinerary will be revealed as we go on and divided as follows (all in Y): 
 


Routing

  • Chapter 1 - UA557 IAH-EWR B737-800 You are here
  • Chapter 2 - I wanted those elephants! Coming soon
  • Chapter 3 - Please wait Coming soon
  • Chapter 4 - I will try my best lol Coming soon


This chapter covers the intra-hub flight from Houston Intercontinental to Newark Liberty.

BTW where did my little brother study?
 


Background


As per my company practice, in 2016 year-end I was reminded to clear my outstanding annual leaves before April 2017 otherwise they would be forfeited. Therefore I planned to clear my leaves by extending my business trip to Houston in order to visit my brother who was studying aboard then. One day I found a good fare to my brother’s town which the itinerary contains United flights. This fitted me well because I could earn more PQM so why not.

Being a Premier Silver member, I could select the economy plus seat during online check-in and I found there was a window seat available on the exit row. Voilà! I could enjoy the extra legroom^^ This makes my first time sitting on the exit row.


George Bush Intercontinental Airport


Previously on last report, I felt much better after a night of unconscious with the aids of physicians from the Texas Medical Center. On next day morning I woke up early and received a not so good message from IAH: there was a rainstorm alert!


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Although the United app showed my flight would not be affected, I seriously doubted if it was true. Having the similar departure time, our company car drove the Head, my boss and I to the airport. It was pouring rain outside on the way to the airport.


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Once entered the IAH territory, we were welcomed by an UA E-jet


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My boss flew AA so our car dropped her off at Terminal A first and next we arrived at Terminal E 2.5 hours before departure. Our first priority after getting out of the car was having a recharge^^ The Head told me my colleagues already helped me “appreciate” United via the website @@


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The check-in area was pretty empty in the morning. We headed to the Premier Access check-in and immediately welcomed by the agents. Bags were quickly checked to our destinations respectively (the Head backed to HKG) and boarding passes were issued for all our flights.


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Then we passed through the TSA which was sparse


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After the security we turned left to Terminal E. A hot air balloon decoration with United Globe in the Atrium promotes travelling to Rio


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Bad news: The Atrium FIDS showed my flight was awaiting aircraft which I was sure there would be a delay
(The Head’s UA flight to Tokyo was also delayed with unknown departing time)


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The Head still had some works to do thus he opted to stay at the United Club in Terminal E until boarding. The United Club entrance has a new make-up


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After bidding farewell to the Head I walked ahead to my gate. Everything in the Lone Star State is huge, so the Terminal E is huge and spacious


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View of the tarmac. Still raining outside


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My Gate. Neither my plane nor the staff were here


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Still had time I wondered around. IAH has a very good Wi-Fi!


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An UA B772 to HNL


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The Terminal E looks like a grand food court rather than a shopping mall with lots of eateries everywhere


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I believed I was able to eat then so I brought a Starbuck sandwich for my in-flight breakfast


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Fly the friendly skies: United emphasis on passenger self-services so they did not assign any staff at UA customer service counter…


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The Rains Of Castamere?


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I backed to my Gate. My bird still wasn’t here while the United app notified that the departure time was delayed to 1055


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But the true Targaryen heir Jon Snow was here preparing for the flight!!! Why didn't you fight against the White Walkers in Westeros?!?!?!
(he is also featured in the Casey Neistat video^^)


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Gate FIDS. It is shame for United to be proud of achieving the most on time arrivals whereas my flight is delayed lol


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It showed our plane was nearly (and eventually) full today…


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And I was the 34th on the waiting list for upgrade^^


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Passengers already spread over the boarding area. Finally our plane showed up 20 minutes prior to departure and boarding was immediately called.


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flight Report


Embarking


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The FAs welcomed me on board


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The Y cabin. It is an 18-year-old ex-Continental B738 (N14235) but reconfigured with the new United leather seat.


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I found my exit row seat where the aisle seat was already occupied by a business man. Standard seat back materials


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Soon after sitting down, the middle seatmate also arrived.

Seat pitch is very good on the exit row. Seatmates’ demonstration of extra legroom


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But the tradeoff of a window exit row seat is you can only enjoy 0.333 armrests on window side


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View from the wing. Next to us is also a B738 to Austin


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Safety card


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The handle and user guide for the emergency exit door


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The plug under the seat and it worked well throughout the flight


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One of the FA saw I kept photographing inside the plane and came to tell me not to take their pictures! Afraid of being dumped from the plane I had no choices but put away my camera lol

As the standard procedure, the FA came and asked if the exit rows were able to help other passengers evacuate during the emergency. After all of us agreed she once again explained how to operate the emergency exit doors

Maybe so many passengers had to catch the next flight, boarding was quick and in order. The crew closed the door at 1110 and we pushed back quickly at 1112. Safety instruction was demonstrated.

We did not wait long and took off from Runway 27


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Our bird immediately turned left towards the North


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The pilot announcement skipped the reason of delay but simply mentioned that our flight would be around 2.5 hours.


Nous sommes fatigues …


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Bon Appétit^^ Don’t worry I did not vomit on this flight


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The other side windows seat passenger also recognized the importance of taking food pictures before eating


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Flipped through the NZ sponsored United Flyer


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It features a catalog for MileagePlus Merchandise Awards. WTH United wants me 122,500 miles for a Surface Pro 4? No thank you I could better used those miles for EWR-HKG in Polaris!


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I tried connecting to the in-flight Wi-Fi several times but failed…


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Later the FA announced and apologized that the in-flight Wi-Fi was out of order on this plane! She promised there would be compensation for everyone.

Beverage services did not start until mid-flight. Je voudrais du jus d'orange and a snack mix was also distributed


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The North remembers: the sleepers were not forgotten^^


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I went to the toilet mid-flight. It was in so so condition but still much better than my NRT-IAD flight!


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Changing the diaper is a woman job on this 738


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The rear galley. Water was pre-poured for taking


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When I was photographing the cups of water, a FA who stopped me taking photos before appeared and asked why I kept taking pictures. I replied calmly that I did some flight reviews occasionally. Hearing my reply the FA smiled and said enjoy my flight in return!

Nous avons vraiment besoin de dormir ! 


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Avoiding passengers to swap their seats, there is a friendly remainder on each exit row window


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About an hour to arrival we had heavy turbulence and the captain ordered all of us returned to seat


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 I felt asleep until descending. We approached Newark from the South


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Elizabeth


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Eventually we touched down on runway 4R at 15:25, 1 hour behind schedule. Au jeez I had to rush for my next flight!

Nous sommes passés un La Compagnie B752 que vient de CDG


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During taxiing I received 2 messages from United -

Good news: I was given $75 as the compensation for the broken Wi-Fi. (Wow I had never seen United responded so fast!)

Strange news: My connecting flight had departed. (What??? My next flight scheduled departure time was surely 1.5 hours later!!!


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We quickly pulled into Gate 94 at Terminal C1


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Last view of my seat


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Everyone was rush in disembarking. The FA who stopped me taking photos before said goodbye and persuaded me to give a good rating on United when I wrote reviews lol


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Last view of my bird


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Maybe just came from Houston, Newark Terminal C is small and crowded with those eateries occupied in the middle of the concourse


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Changes is in the air: Terminal C was in renovation for the security checkpoints


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The United line-up at Terminal C


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Since my next flight was not departed from the same Terminal, I exited airside and took the AirTrain to another one


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I’ll leave off this series here as I transit and here is the preview of next report: Winter is coming...


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Thank you for your reading!

See more

Verdict

United

6.1/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi3.5
Meal/catering5.0

Houston - IAH

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.5

Newark - EWR

7.2/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

Another typical domestic flight on UA. The flight is delayed while UA should have better communications regarding the situation. Meanwhile the cabin is clean with extra seat pitch on exit row. The Wi-Fi is totally broken but the crews handle the compensation promptly. Similar to my previous flights, the ex-CO crews are more friendly and professional than the ex-UA crews.
For IAH, the Terminal E is modern, huge and spacious. The Wi-Fi is very fast.
For EWR, the Terminal C is a bit old but still better than the temporary one in Dulles.

Related

7 Comments

  • Comment 499073 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 269 Comments

    Hey

    Strange news: My connecting flight had departed. (What??? My next flight scheduled departure time was surely 1.5 hours later!!!)

    How confusing? I assume that UA just send that message by error?

    Bags were quickly checked to our destinations respectively (the Head backed to HKG) and boarding passes were issued for all our flights.

    Are you already revealing your destination to us? haha though mixed with the comment you made in your report '' I wanted those elephants!.'', I think you might be going somewhere to Southeast Asia after HKG.

    The FA who stopped me taking photos before said goodbye and persuaded me to give a good rating on United when I wrote reviews lol

    I always find it tough to judge a flight when a flight attendant knows that you are reporting about their flight as they are prone to give especially you a better service.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 499650 by
      ashleyyau AUTHOR 211 Comments

      Thanks for your comment ThomasDutch!

      I assume that UA just send that message by error?

      I had the same feeling when I saw it. This flight series (together with my Houston trip) are about consequences and continuity. And it indeed had consequences…
      I think you might be going somewhere to Southeast Asia after HKG.

      Sorry no lol The Head and I have different destinations while I headed towards THE NORTH ;)
      they are prone to give especially you a better service.

      Totally agree! I don’t want to be shown off as a travel blogger so every time I acted like a paparazzi when taking photos lol BTW I feel nervous when they stop me taking pictures on the US carriers because they would think you as a threat to them (sad)

  • Comment 499150 by
    jetsetpanda 2295 Comments

    Hi Ashley and thank you for sharing this beautifully photographed FR.

    Good thing that UA responded so quickly in offering you compensations. I have never seen that happen with UA. Besides it seems that you had enough entertainment aboard without having to use the IFE. ;)

    IAH is huge and your pics reminded me of my connections there when I flew with CO and UA.

    We'll see what UA will look on Apr. 24 - would it be a turn for the better or worse?

    See you soon on another FR.

    • Comment 499651 by
      ashleyyau AUTHOR 211 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Adan!

      I have never seen that happen with UA.

      Yes I was truly surprised and never thought of when I saw the message. IIRC all passengers on this flight received the comp once landed.
      you had enough entertainment aboard without having to use the IFE. ;)

      Being a flight reviewer, actually I am very busy on every flight parce que il me faut prendre beaucoup de photos pour le avis!
      would it be a turn for the better or worse?

      It’s out now ;) For me I don’t love or hate neither. It is OK and within my expectation since Oscar said it is an evolution rather than a revolution. I am glad that they keep the CO globe, but its color looks like the GOT Night King just stormed it lol

  • Comment 499250 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4726 Comments

    Hey Ashley, thanks for a beautiful report as always!

    Fly the friendly skies: United emphasis on passenger self-services so they did not assign any staff at UA customer service counter…

    Hah! Why is that not surprising 🤣

    And I was the 34th on the waiting list for upgrade^^

    So typical for a hub-to-hub route, especially since UA sells upgrades before clearing status upgrades. The one thing I will say I like about UA's GIDS is that they display the number of seats available in F, unlike AA where you have to try to guess based on the seatmap, which is not an exact science as we all know.

    But the tradeoff of a window exit row seat is you can only enjoy 0.333 armrests on window side

    Haha...so it's more like a handrest

    I like the look of these newer UA cabins and it's good that they all have power, being that there are no PTVs so you need to stream IFE on your own device.

    Another typical domestic flight on UA. The flight is delayed while UA should have better communications regarding the situation.

    True, though UA (and DL) are way better at communicating delays than AA. The AA app is awful and more often than not, doesn't advise of delays until the very last minute or will show "on time" 30 minutes after departure time. Glad you got comp...another thing I've never gotten with AA despite always having been mid to top tier status. Oh wow...am I complimenting UA? Yikes...what has this world come to! Haha

    Thanks for sharing and see you soon for the next episode!

    • Comment 499654 by
      ashleyyau AUTHOR 211 Comments

      Merci pour votre commentaire Kévin! ;)

      Hah! Why is that not surprising 🤣

      The agents were timed out 🤣 It always be the United’s norm in their hubs IME lol
      unlike AA where you have to try to guess based on the seatmap

      Oh I don’t know that maybe I used to look at the AA app rather than the GIDS lol
      I like the look of these newer UA cabins

      Yes it looks nice and stylish yet IMO it is less comfortable than those old UA and old CO seats, while the old CO is the best! To me with PTVs or not do not make differences since I need to pay for it.
      doesn't advise of delays until the very last minute or will show "on time" 30 minutes after departure time.

      Total agreed! BTW I will fly AA again this year and let’s see if its app has improved. On the other hand, for United they seems not improving the delay info until last year, before that their delay info could be also awful.
      another thing I've never gotten with AA

      My case should be a discretionary because it was the plane issue and we had the nice crew luckily. Maybe the amount varied based on the status.
      see you soon for the next episode!

      Je suis désolé parce que je ne peux pas écrire le prochain épisode avant la fin de GOT lol

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