Review of United flight Washington Austin in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA2117
Class Economy
Seat 8A
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 03:29
Take-off 14 Aug 19, 08:33
Arrival at 14 Aug 19, 11:02
UA   #120 out of 141 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 318 reviews
YGeorgeW
By GOLD 693
Published on 20th August 2019

Summary

This is my flight back to Texas after a summer spent on the East Coast.

I had roughly 25 minutes before boarding for my flight. Since I had to travel from the A Gates to the D Gates (in my opinion, probably the least convenient at Dulles other than B to C), I did not bother with a lounge. It took about 15 minutes to get to my gate because I had to wait for one of the people movers.


UA 2117


I got a text at 8:03am saying that boarding had begun, but no announcements had been made. Actual preboarding began 2 minutes later at the scheduled time. Unfortunately, I was once again, the next highest person on the uprade list despite even trying to use an RPU on this flight. I was under the impression that a RPU as a 1K would beat out everything except for a RPU as a GS. Oh well.

Here is the plane: N827UA, a 20-years old A319. I recently read that United plans to refurbish the cabins of their A319 and A320 fleet to add four more First Class seats to each plane. I'll be glad when that happens.


photo 20190814_075628

Here are the seven rows of Economy Plus seating:


photo 20190814_080802

I was seated in 8A, the portside window seat in the second row of Economy Plus. As before, legroom is decent (though the angle in this picture makes it look a bit more than it actually was). Compared to the small regional jets, United's A319s has outlets in Economy Plus. There is also the standard set of overhead controls. The plane was mostly full (I would guess ~95%), so I did not luck out with an empty seat next to me.



We pushed back early at 8:33am, but there was a lot of traffic departing. We did not take off until 9:00am. Here's a picture of the planes lined up in front of us for departure (and that's not even all of them!). The captain did keep us informed about the wait throughout though.


photo 20190814_085211

10 minutes into the flight an announcement was regarding the services available and asking us to close the window shades if we did not need it. I read something about this on Live and Let's Fly recently - I don't think I've noticed this request before. Is this some sort of a new thing among all airlines, just United, or . . .? Not sure I understand the purpose either.

Service began 35 minutes into the flight. Since this flight was scheduled to be over 3 hours, United's Bistro on Board was available. As a 1K, I was entitled to a free item off of it because my upgrade did not clear (and one free alcoholic drink, but I was not interested this early). I opted for the egg white and chicken sausage flatbread sandwich (normally $8). It came pre-heated and was rather bland, but I was ravenous and wolfed down it. I needed some coffee to keep me going because I barely slept the night before, and Illy coffee is always a nice touch on United - it's a good partnership (though one I rarely take advantage of).


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Trash was collected about half an hour later. About 45 minutes before landing, flight attendants came around with an offer of second drinks (not sure if everything was available). I took another coffee. Overall the flight attendants smiled and were efficient - all I ask for on a domestic flight.

The streaming service was nice with a good selection, and I watched First Man this flight - a great movie.


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Engine View Inflight:


photo 20190814_101409

You can see us flying over the giant Luecke signature by Smithville, Texas.


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We were late in arriving for some reason. I wasn't sure why - perhaps the storms pictured slowed us down?


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We began our descent approximately 22 minutes before touch down and touched down at 10:54am Central Time. We had a slight delay right before our gate, but arrived at the gate at 11:02am Central Time.

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Verdict

United

6.2/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering5.0

Washington - IAD

6.8/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Austin - AUS

8.1/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

I've flown this flight many times before. It's decent and conveniently timed.

Lounge: None

Service: Service was fine and the flight attendants were friendly.

Meal & Catering: United's Bistro on Board isn't bad, but it isn't good either. A nice perk for 1Ks missing their upgrades.

Bottom Line: United is the only carrier that offers a direct flight from Dulles to Austin (other than Frontier). The times are convenient and the pricing is usually very reasonable. If you are going directly to/from D.C. (instead of connecting), then I would probably recommend the Southwest flight direct to DCA instead (assuming you don't have status on United).

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4 Comments

  • Comment 518184 by
    socalnow GOLD 980 Comments

    Thanks for the detailed report YGeorgeW.

    Unfortunately, I was once again, the next highest person on the upgrade list despite even trying to use an RPU on this flight. I was under the impression that a RPU as a 1K would beat out everything except for a RPU as a GS. Oh well.

    -Odd about the upgrade. I always thought an upgrade instrument trumps everything except a higher status passenger with the same instrument. Did you notice any upgrades processed? Did F go out full?

    Happy flying.

    • Comment 518186 by
      YGeorgeW GOLD AUTHOR 183 Comments

      Thanks for reading Christian,

      You are correct about the upgrade instrument. I believe the order is Status → Fare Class → Time of Reservation (or check-in, I can't remember). There was a single upgrade processed ahead of me, though that person checked in later. I assume it was either a GS using a RPU or a 1K using a RPU that paid for a higher fare ticket.

      Thanks again and looking forward to the rest of your reports.

  • Comment 520340 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5226 Comments

    Oh the battlefield upgrade game is always stressful (to me anyway). Being next on the list and not clearing is the worst...especially if you're even willing to burn an upgrade instrument. My spouse recently status matched over to UA Plat so I'm seeing how that goes before I take the jump. Though I probably won't since I fly a lot less now that I have a kid so I'll prob just buy First when I fly like I have been lately. The fact that UA sell F upgrades before clearing on status is a turn off anyway.

    Other than that it's UA domestic Y...nothing spectacular, but not terrible either. Just meh...typical UA, haha.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 520415 by
      YGeorgeW GOLD AUTHOR 183 Comments

      Thanks for reading Kevin!

      I had that problem on 4/6 of my most recent UA flights. It all depends on where you live though, East Coast hubs, based on what I've heard, tend to be a bloodbath for UA. I remembered that you moved recently - it'll be a lot easier if it's not a UA hub.

      I wouldn't consider AA for domestic flights any time soon though, the horror stories of its operations this summer are everywhere.

      Thanks again.

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