The airline with the best average rating is United Express with 6.2/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 23 minutes.More information
Report No: 2020-903
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to another US domestic series, this time I'll be reviewing United as they were offering the cheapest fare alongside Southwest Airlines for the date I preferred to travel.
Originally I was booked for LAX-ORD-BWI, however, as the LAX-ORD flight was more than 70% full, according to United policy, I had a free change option ( including flights to/from other airports within 150 miles ) so I have originally changed my flight to LAX-ORD-DCA; however, as there was a shorter connection option via EWR, I opted to change to that flight and my final itinerary was LAX-EWR-DCA.
In this report, I would cover a regional jet experience on the UnitedExpress Embraer ERJ-170 from Newark to Washington Reagan on a flight operated by Republic Airways on behalf of United. Before this flight, I have also visited the United Club in Newark and I would cover the current offerings over there.
Here is the routing for this short series
Loads for this flight
Domestic First: 50% ( 3/6 seats )
After arriving from my previous flight, I have headed towards the only United Club that was open at that time; the club near gate C74. During my walk to the club, I have realized that most merchants were open and OTG was offering the tablet food delivery service throughout the terminal.
FIDS. It's interesting that flights to IAD and DCA were the only flights for the day that were cancelled due to United's light load policy. With low fares on Amtrak trains and buses between New York/New Jersey and Washington, DC, I assume that there aren't many passengers who wish to travel via air.
Normally, pre-COVID, United was scheduled to operate hourly service between DCA and EWR starting March 2020 with their brand new Canadian Regional Jet CRJ550 aircraft, although after COVID, they decided to operate 3 daily flights and one of them was cancelled due to the new decision of United cancelling flights with light loads. In addition, United has decreased the number of daily DCA-EWR vv. flights in October to 2 daily rather than 3 daily in September.
Here is the elevator to the UnitedClub, as a Star Alliance Gold member with Turkish Airlines; I was entitled to use the lounge for free. Although passengers without access could purchase a day pass for $59 at the lounge entrance.
Similar to the LAX club, the club had limited hours and closed far before the last flight.
The club was empty during my visit. Although, it's normal as I was visiting the club on a Saturday morning.
And here is the buffet. According to United for safety and hygiene recommendations, only Ritz bits, Wheat Thins, LornaDoone biscuits, yogurt and fruit were offered at that time. In my opinion, the buffet is pretty simple and does not look premium at all.
Although a full bar service was offered and both the fountain drink machine and the espresso machine was working. Filter coffee ( both regular and decaf ) could be requested from the bar attendant. Also, the bar attendant was providing water bottles for those who asked for one.
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While I was waiting for my flight, I had a peppermint tea at the club. There was a wide selection of herbal teas available.
While heading to the gate, I have noticed this Air India 777-300ER at Terminal B. It's interesting to see one as India's borders were closed at the day I was traveling.
I haven't pictured it, although there was a CIBO Express store that offered contactless grab&go supermarket and food options which looked pretty cool. Customers were swiping their credit cards at the entrance at the store, grabbing what they want and leaving the store without any other transaction. That store was using the product of Amazon.
Gate C87 was located at the lower level. I would also like to mention that the Starbucks near my gate was pretty crowded and most of the OTG vendors, including the food court at Terminal C1 was empty.
Here is a photo of N650RW which would be the aircraft taking me to DCA on the short 33 minute flight.
Boarding had started 25 minutes before departure. The same priorities applied like the previous flight. The boarding order was passengers requiring extra assistance, Global Services members, active military, families with children, Premier 1K members, Domestic First passengers followed by row-by-row boarding for others.
As there weren't that many passengers onboard, the boarding process took less than 5 minutes.
Boarding pass for this flight
After being welcomed by the crew and being handed a sanitizing wipe, I have headed to my seat 11D.
The seats were the standard Embraer seats and the legroom was pretty OK. For this flight, I had the seat next to me for myself.
Here is the hand sanitizing wipe that was provided by the crew. When boarding was finished, the crew collected trash to avoid used wipes going into the seat pocket.
Here is the safety card
And here is our neighbor, a United 737-900 that was heading to Phoenix.
And shortly later, that bird was pushing back
After that bird has pushed back, this United 737-800 became visible. N33284 was scheduled to fly to Tampa, FL.
Shortly later, it was our time to push back and then we stated our taxi towards runway 22R.
A United 787-10 parked at a remote stand
A UnitedExpress CRJ taxiing to the runway
A JetBlue A320
After we have pushed back, our gate was quickly filled by another United Express Embraer.
Port of Newark
JetBlue A320 taking off as B6 957 to Las Vegas.
United aircraft near the United hangar
More United aircraft parked at remote stands
And shortly later, it was our time to take off. TAP A321neo and Air India 777-300ER at Terminal B Concourse 3.
Terminal B Concourse 1 and 2 were almost empty
Terminal A had more aircraft parked than Terminal B
The brand new Terminal One which is planned to open next year.
A photo after takeoff
Last two shots of EWR
On this flight, no service was offered, however, the cabin crew were offering water and canned soft drinks upon request.
And here is the mobile IFE system powered by Gogo.
Route map for this short flight
Wi-Fi which was expensive for a 33 minute flight.
This aircraft had the full mobile IFE movie and TV show options, which is a nice touch.
Shortly later we were descending towards DCA.
And we have landed ahead of schedule
The Washington Monument
American Airlines aircraft at Terminal C
JetBlue aircraft at Terminal B/C
Delta aircraft at Terminal B
And after a short taxi, we had parked to gate 14 at Terminal B. After saying goodbye to the crew, I have headed to the terminal.
A shot of N650RW from the gate
And another one which is more clear
That day, there weren't many flights arriving at Terminal B. All United flights except the one arriving from Denver are UnitedExpress regional jets rather than mainline aircraft.
So, the baggage claim area was pretty empty. After a short 5 minute wait, bags have arrived with the respect of priority tags. My bag was the 3rd one to come out.
Then I've headed to the metro station and left the airport.
After a 9 minute wait for the metro, I have boarded a car which was completely empty but after 2 stations, passengers were boarding the car that I was in.
And this series have came to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
A brand-new mileage run series with American Airlines would come in the near future.
This flight was an uneventful ordinary post-COVID United Express flight with no service onboard and good IFE offerings. Also, it was nice not to have a neighbor on this flight. The United Club experience was a bit upsetting as there were no proper breakfast offerings except for fruit and yogurt. While American is offering hot oatmeal and eggs in their clubs, United was offering pre-packaged unhealthy snacks instead; although I would give credit to United as they have maintained a wide beverage selection and power outlets/USB ports were widely available in the club.
To conclude this series, I could tell that I have chosen United because they were the cheapest alongside with Southwest. Although United's soft-product is not that attractive, *G perks like same-day change was useful and I was even able to change airports. However, if I didn't have *G status, I would have gone for the Southwest option which offers blocked middle seats and a similar level of service. Although I'll be honest to tell that Southwest does not have red-eyes so United might be a better choice, if you could get easily bored on a 5h flight.
Nothing special to mention
UA Club EWR C74
(+) Comfortable seating
(+) Beverage options
(-) Food options which could definitely be improved
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom
(+) IFE options
(+) Friendly crew
(+) Bags arrived really fast with the respect of priorities
(+) Public transportation options