This is my first flight report. I am visiting my family for the winter holidays and traveling AUS to ORD to ROA. My old man had some RPUs that were going to expire at the end of January (and he was not going to use them) so he applied them to a few of my upcoming flights. This one cleared about 20 days before the flight. Unfortunately, the ORD to ROA leg ended up being cancelled, but that's another story. I do have a few international flights coming up on airlines or cabins that I have not tried before, so please look forward to those.
Austin is a smaller airport and only has a few international flights. However, that means everything is fairly efficient. The gates also do not feel nearly as crowded as the domestic gates of some of the big international airports. I arrived approximately 25 minutes before boarding and went through TSA Precheck in about a minute (I had checked-in on the app the day before). Austin does have a United lounge, but I did not have access with my domestic itinerary.
Unfortunately, because Gate 33 is very close to Gate 31, this was the best picture I could get of the plane, an United A319.
Boarding was on schedule with United's new boarding system. One interesting thing about boarding: the gate agent addressed me by name as I scanned my boarding pass and welcomed me. I'm not sure if I just never noticed this on domestic flights before, or this was just good service from the gate agent. Despite some reports from others that this system has been chaotic, I thought it was fine. Approximately 20 or so people were pre-boarded before they called Group 1. It was fairly efficient (as I have generally found to be the case at Austin). I generally prefer Aisle seats when it comes to domestic flights and was seated in 1E. It was a full flight, every seat in both First and Economy was taken. I do apologize for the quality of the seat picture - I was rather rushed in taking the picture. The bulkhead seats feel like they a little more legroom than the seats in row 2, but I did not take any measurements. However, the overhead bins are smaller because gear is placed in them and there is no below-the-seat space to store a personal item.
United introduced these new domestic first seats a few years ago and I think they're quite an improvement over the previous domestic First seats. The armrests have these faux marble counters that are handy for placing your drink. Moreover, the tray table now has this nifty placeholder for a tablet. I quite like the change from IFEs to streaming on personal devices for domestic flights.
I feel that crews on U.S. airlines are very inconsistent, but the purser for this flight, Nathan, was excellent. Despite a crowded boarding process, he immediately asked for a preference for pre-departure beverage (I just had water) and very promptly hung my coat. We pushed back at 10:02am and takeoff roll at 10:12am. Service started approximately 25 minutes afterwards with a hot towel, I ordered red wine.
Nathan came by a little later to ask for the meal choice - thought there was only one choice - the cheese plate, so I ordered that. It was an okay cheese plate, about what I expected for a domestic flight. There was also a single piece of chocolate to go along with the rest of it. Throughout the flight, Nathan made sure that my wine glass was never empty without me asking. I usually do not expect this kind of proactive service on an U.S. flight.
I watched The Incredibles 2 from the United app, it was a nice little movie. We arrived at the gate at approximately 12:43pm, only a few minutes after the 12:35pm scheduled arrival time.
Austin - AUS
Chicago - ORD
The Austin airport is very convenient to fly out of in my experience and today was no different. The lines were very short and boarding was quick.
It was a fairly normal domestic first class flight on United. I do feel that Nathan, the purser, was a bit above the usual service on United.
Thanks for reading!
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