After a lovely few days in Aspen, I returned to Austin the same way - via Denver. Once again, the upgrade cleared successfully. The connecting flight from Aspen to Denver did not leave me with much time in Denver. I had roughly 40 minutes until boarding, which was not enough to run to Timberline Steaks & Grille in the C Gates, have a meal, and then get back to the B Gates. I headed straight for my gate instead. Amusingly, the from arriving at the gate to actually getting to my gate, the listed gate changed twice, from 16 to 11 to 22.
The flight was not delayed, though the previous flight was still at the gate. I found a nice seat facing the windows. I noticed an Air Canada ERJ-190 just sitting there in the middle of the tarmac for at least 15-20 minutes. Not sure what its delay was.
Eventually, about 15 minutes before our scheduled boarding time, our plane arrived at the gate.
N69838, a 4-years old 737-900
The gate lice situation for this flight was particularly bad. Long lines well before boarding was called. When the gate agent called for people requiring assistance, several Global Services passengers rushed the agent to be admitted. She looked quite taken aback. When 1Ks were eventually, she said to me with a wry grin, "Thanks for waiting until you're called."
The United 737-900 Domestic First cabin should be a familiar sight by now. Unfortunately, these were the ones with no IFEs. Otherwise, the seats themselves are well padded with good legroom.
During boarding, Lisa, the purser, informed us that there most likely will not be pre-departure beverages because the late arriving aircraft meat that catering had not shown up yet. The truck did not pull up until 5:15pm and the doors closed a mere 8 minutes afterwards. We pushed back at 5:26pm. Given how late arriving the aircraft was, I was surprised we were not delayed - that's what happens when you slot 40 minutes for boarding I guess.
During our taxi, there was some fun spotting. A Lufthansa 747-400 and a Copa 737-800 (I think?).
Can someone tell me what this is?
We took off at 5:41pm Mountain Time. The first announcement was that the internet was being reset at 5:57pm and service began a minute later. I find this version of the tray table to be annoying in seats without the IFE because there is no area for you to prop up your tablet or phone.
I asked for a glass of red wine and a cup of water.
The catering was . . . terrible. There was a snack basket with a pathetic selection. The Air Canada one-hour flight in economy offered better options. I thought the poor catering on the way here was because of how early the flight was (cabin was kept dark that flight), but there is no reason for such terrible catering on a flight during dinner time. Sorry for the lack of a picture of the snack basket, it may have been deleted by accident. I ended up choosing a bag of chips.
In stark contrast to the catering, Lisa and the flight attendant working first were prime examples of good United service. They were both always smiling and conversing with passengers. Any requests or refills were handled promptly. It's a shame they were given so little to work with.
Here's the forward bathroom, about what you'd expect.
We began our descent at 7:54pm Central Time and touched down at 8:18pm. We were at the gates 4 minutes later.
Cabin & Seat: Similar to the previous flight in domestic F on United's 737-900. The seats are quite comfortable for a domestic flight, just wish they standardized the cabins so that they would either have IFEs or have holders for tablets to make streaming easier.
Service: The service was quite warm and friendly. The purser Lisa was very welcoming and always had a smile on and the flight attendant serving F was very proactive with refills and had a big smile on whenever interacting with passengers.
Meal & Catering: This was worse than the previous flight, if possible. Instead of a heated muffin, we got the dreaded snack basket. It was worse than the domestic snack basket offered by Air Canada on a Dash-8.
Bottom Line: It was a pleasant flight with very friendly crew. It was on time - which is crucial, given that the other two flights from DEN to AUS were delayed quite a bit that day. United does really need to step up the catering here though. Even if you are going to do a snack basket, at least put something tasty in there.