Review of United flight Washington Houston in Domestic First

Airline United
Flight UA6183
Seat 4A
Aircraft Embraer E-175
Flight time 03:13
Take-off 12 Jul 21, 14:49
Arrival at 12 Jul 21, 17:02
UA   #67 out of 87 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 327 reviews
YGeorgeW
By SILVER 303
Published on 20th July 2021

It's been a while since I've been on Flight-Report. Hopefully I remember how to do this. I wouldn't normally report on a work trip, but figured it would be a nice warm-up report.


For this flight, I was traveling for a quick trip to Houston, Texas. Conveniently for me, IAH is one of the few airports that United flies out of DCA (it only has flights to hubs here). DCA tends to be the preferred airport for residents of actual DC (not Northern Virginia). After moving to the area, I agree–not only is it much closer, the airport layout is just so much more convenient than IAD.


The bracket room (DCA)


The Bracket Room is a Priority Pass restaurant and sports bar by the United gates. The food menu is fairly limited at the moment (not sure if this is the norm), but there is a wide selection of drinks.



I ordered the "Jumbo Chicken Wings." There was nothing jumbo about them, and I would not recommend the dry rub (too bland). I also had a glass of the Franziskaner Hefeweisse, which folks who have frequented any Lufthansa lounges are familiar with. The total came out to $24.75, which was covered by Priority Pass. Always remember to tip though, as that is not covered.


UA6183


There is nothing special about the Bracket Room except that it is located directly across from Gate 12, where my flight was scheduled to depart from.


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Here is my ride: N88310, a 6-years old ERJ-175.


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Pre-boarding began at 2:20 pm with passengers requiring assistance.  I boarded shortly afterwards.


In terms of regional jets, I like the ERJ-175s because of the 1-2 layouts in first class. Of course, there is the awkwardness of the port-side overhead bins being too small to accommodate much of anything. Boarding early becomes important in that instance. I've seen several cases where a first class passenger boarded later and was unable to find nearby overhead bin space for their luggage. However, on this flight, it seemed like everything fit just fine.


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The ERJ first-class seats are nothing special: standard recliner seats without a IFE monitor. There is a nifty pull-out tray on the left side for drinks in addition to the standard pull-out tray table. There are adjustable air nozzles on top and a power outlet at each seat. I was seated in 4A this flight, the last remaining solo seat. The only defect of 4A is that the window is a bit more forward than the seat.



Right after boarding was completed, a girl got a shout-out from her mom via the purser wishing her a happy 16th birthday. Don't think I've ever heard a birthday announced before. Doors closed shortly thereafter at 2:45pm ET and we pushed back 4 minutes later.

As we were taxing, here's an American A319 pulling back for its flight to JFK.


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Ahead of us for takeoff is a Delta A321 bound for Atlanta.


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We took off at 3:05pm ET and after an uneventful climb, service began in the front around 16 minutes after takeoff. For this flight, first-class passengers were offered a choice of the "Takeoff" or the "Tapas" snack boxes as catering has not returned to normal. Alcoholic beverages are available, but no glassware. I asked for the "Takeoff" snack box and red wine.

I'll let the pictures of the snack box speak for itself, it consisted primarily of crackers, cheese spreads, and some salami.



For comparison, here is the meal from my last United domestic first flight back in June . . . no, it was not really edible. I'll take a snack box over this.


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The red wine was Punda Milia Shiraz. Let's just say I'm not going to rush to buy on my own any time soon.


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I checked out the forward lavatory mid-flight. As you imagine, on a regional jet it's a tight squeeze. Soap and hand sanitizer were available, but no plastic cups.



Throughout the flight I asked for water several times, each time it was presented to me quickly and cheerfully. I never got the name of the flight attendant serving the front, but she was quick, efficient, and did things with a smile.


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We began our descent at around 4:23pm CT. Approximately 13 minutes before landing, we passed by our destination for an aerial view of IAH.


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We landed at 4:52pm CT and arrived at the gate 10 minutes later.

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Verdict

United

6.6/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering5.0

Washington - DCA

8.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Houston - IAH

8.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access9.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Lounge: The Bracket Room is nothing special, but it is a very convenient Priority Pass restaurant perfect for United flights out of DCA.

Cabin & Seat: As far as regional jets go, ERJ-175s are fairly comfortable with 1-2 seating in first class. Of course, it would be nice to have seatback entertainment. Oh well.

Service: Service was efficient and pleasant, but otherwise nothing to comment on.

Meal & Catering: United really needs to bring hot meals back, these snack boxes are a poor substitute given that it is what 1Ks are supposed to get in economy when we are not upgraded.

Bottom Line: United offers a decent schedule between DCA and IAH, but I think they're currently lagging behind the other carriers in terms of returning to normalcy as far as catering goes.

Related

3 Comments

  • Comment 576314 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5457 Comments

    Hi YGeorgeW, welcome back!

    Glad to see that Priority Pass has an option at DCA now--Priority Pass restaurants are a good compromise when there are no lounges. For years when I lived in DC there were no options at DCA, but tons of options at IAD, comparatively. I lived in Montgomery County for the last 5 years I was in the area so both were equally convenient for me, though of course DCA was so easy to access when I lived in the city.

    Of course, there is the awkwardness of the port-side overhead bins being too small to accommodate much of anything.

    That is annoying about ERJ F...I've often struggled to get small bags out of those bins that would just get stuck in there!

    I'll let the pictures of the snack box speak for itself, it consisted primarily of crackers, cheese spreads, and some salami.

    Meh...AA does a little bit better on similar length flights, but all have really gone downhill

    For comparison, here is the meal from my last United domestic first flight back in June . . . no, it was not really edible. I'll take a snack box over this.

    Yuck...whereas AA served a 3-course hot meal on similar DCA-DFW flight

    Of course, it would be nice to have seatback entertainment. Oh well.

    Apparently only AC and B6 know how to put PTVs in ERJs lol...I will say it's nice that this one had Power outlets at least!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 576317 by
      YGeorgeW SILVER AUTHOR 184 Comments

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the welcome.

      Glad to see that Priority Pass has an option at DCA now

      I thought they've had these options for at least 3-4 years now. More importantly, not sure if you've heard, Amex is building a Centurion Lounge at DCA by the end of 2022.

      Meh...AA does a little bit better on similar length flights, but all have really gone downhill

      Work might necessitate me flying AA in the future. That'll be an unexpected review.

      Yuck...whereas AA served a 3-course hot meal on similar DCA-DFW flight

      Wow, when AA is setting the standard . . . though my co-workers consistently tell me nightmares about the operational reliability of AA on their routes.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Comment 576318 by
        KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5457 Comments

        I thought they've had these options for at least 3-4 years now.

        Ah yeah, it's possible. It's been 2 years since I moved away. The Bracket option may have already been there at the time. I've always wished there were a real lounge, though

        Didn't know about the Centurion Lounge--that's good news! I've heard even Capital One is going to start opening lounges--will be nice to have more options on Domestic US routes!

        Wow, when AA is setting the standard . . .

        Yeah, that's how you know things have gotten bAAd!

        though my co-workers consistently tell me nightmares about the operational reliability of AA on their routes.

        For sure--compared to DL and UA, AA is way behind in operational reliability and even in handling of IRROPS

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