For once I did not arrive at the Austin airport minutes before the scheduled boarding time. I needed to check a bag and honestly do not remember how this process goes. I cannot remember the last time I had to check a bag (it has been roughly a decade), so I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly. I got to the airport some 45 minutes before boarding. Checking bags was actually quite painless. It was the TSA Pre line that surprisingly took much longer than usual. Normally, you just breeze through. It took roughly 21 minutes from car to gate this time.
Here is our bird, N898UA, an eleven years-old A319 that originally was delivered to China Southern according to Planespotters.
At 17 minutes before the scheduled boarding, our first gate lice makes his way to the line. Surprisingly, boarding actually began on time today.
It was a completely packed flight, which meant no luck on the upgrade front. I remembered at least 6 people on the Standby list. Though does anyone ever have luck on the upgrade front with UA?
Passing by Economy Plus.
Here is my seat, 24A. United has installed the typical slimline seats. The headrest is adjustable and can be folded to create more of a rest.
The overhead panel with the air nozzles.
You'll notice there are two drink indentations in the tray table - not sure why that is. There is also no indentation for placing a tablet unlike the domestic first tray tables.
Customary legroom shot, not great, but bearable on a domestic flight.
We were parked right next to N76532, a Boeing 737-800 that was scheduled to fly from Austin to Houston.
Boarding took longer than necessary, there was a long gap between groups 3 and 4 - not sure why. We pushed back a minute early at 4:44PM. As we were taxing, we saw G-BNLN, Speedbird 190 to LHR. Austin is a small airport, but sometimes you get to see the Queen here.
Takeoff roll began at 4:57PM and we were soon in the air. About 12 minutes later the Captain made his first announcement explaining that there was going to be a slightly late arrival time due to weather - we were going to have to go around it. Roughly 21 minutes into the flight, United's standard pretzel service began. I declined. More often than not those things make me hungrier than not eating it. Beverage service began at 5:25PM Central Time, but was interrupted for about half an hour due to turbulence. I just opted for water (no need for a picture of water in United's infamous blue plastic cup right?). Service was pretty efficient for an UA flight and the flight attendants were friendlier than usual - smiling and speaking with enthusiasm.
IFE is offered through your own devices. Here is a glimpse of the selection, which was quite good. I ended up watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Not sure if I enjoyed it, it was alright at best.
Here is the Wifi pricing for the flight:
A look at the weather and our route:
The nice part about sitting in the back is the wing view:
We began our descent at 8:37 PM Eastern Time and touched down at 8:56PM, arriving at the gate at 9:01PM, not quite 10 minutes behind the scheduled arrival time.
Washington Dulles International Airport
I rather dislike Dulles, especially the weird-looking people movers, but manage to catch some planes on the way (sorry for the not-so-great pictures).
Royal Air Maroc 787-8
Lufty! A350-900 I believe.
I have to give credit for Dulles' baggage claim - it was pretty quick and I got my bags roughly 10 minutes after I arrived at the carousel. They were among the first bags out. Soon enough I was on the long ride from Dulles to DC. The whole thing I read about recently with Uber and Lyft drivers artificially creating surge pricing was definitely in effect at Dulles.
Austin - AUS
Washington - IAD
Seat & Cabin: The seats are your typical slimline seats. Really nothing good to say about them - at least it's not Ryanair.
Service: The service was friendlier than usual, but you can only do so much with United's offerings.
Meal & Catering: United's domestic offerings are really pathetic with the crumpled bag of pretzels, quite a bit worse than the options Delta offers in the back.
Bottom Line: I've been on this flight several times in economy and it's a fairly normal flight. United operates this with several different planes. The A319 is probably the worst among them with the smallest F cabin (so worst chances for an upgrade).
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