This is the return leg of a work trip to Houston.
Because I was going to go straight to the Centurion Lounge, I decided it would be easier to just to start off at Terminal D. In previous trips, I had always been dropped off at whichever terminal I was actually flying out of, and then taken the train to Terminal D. Obviously, that is inefficient. However, I didn't notice a CLEAR line in D and the TSA Pre-Check line was merged with the normal security line, which was rather hectic. I did get to keep my shoes on, but overall it probably only saved ~5 minutes.
The Amex Centurion Lounge at IAH can be found up the elevators immediately after the security line. If you are coming from the terminal itself, look for a duty-free shop by Gate D6.
It's incredible how crowded Centurion Lounges always are, though this morning wasn't so bad compared to previous trips. I apologize for forgetting to take pictures of the entrance–I'll rectify that next time.
Compared to when I was here in June, the breakfast buffet is once again self-serve. Previously, you just pointed at what you wanted and a staff member plated it for you. In Houston, the food is a partnership with Justin Yu, the chef of Theodore Rex. If you haven't had the chance to try Theodore Rex, I'd recommend it. I've been before and think it's definitely one of Houston's top restaurants. As for the Centurion Lounge catering, it's a decent breakfast.
I grabbed a seat in the corner of the dining area. Staff often come by and ask guests if they want anything and can bring it to you. For whatever reason, in multiple visits, I've never been approached by staff while at this lounge. There are various other sections for you to lounge around, including a work area with departure boards.
You can tell I'm going to need to get used to flight reporting again because I forgot to take a picture of my meal. For what it's worth, I had the scrambled eggs, sausage, French toast, and potato hash. It was a hearty and delicious breakfast.
Here is the bar, often the best part of the Centurion lounges. I did not have a drink this morning, but have had cocktails here in the past.
The bathrooms were clean, though on the small side given how many passengers use this lounge. Annoyingly, both lotion dispensers (L'Occitane) were out.
After a quick breakfast, I left the lounge for Gate B87.
This time, my ride is: N88328, a 6-years old ERJ-175. This picture was taken at DCA after the flight because boarding was already well under way by the time I got the gate.
By the time I arrived at Gate B87 at 9:35am CT (scheduled boarding time), the agent was already calling Group 2. Needless to say, boarding began early for this flight.
I won't describe the cabin and seat this time and will just let the pictures speak for themselves. I sat in 1A this time, again the last available solo seat when I booked. As the bulkhead seat, there is no under-seat storage in front of you.
Unfortunately, my window was very scratched.
Doors closed at 9:57am CT and we pushed back 5 minutes later. We took off from runway 26R at 10:16am CT.
Service began 16 minutes after takeoff. The front of the cabin was served by FA Christina, who was very quick and one of those folks you can tell is smiling behind the mask. Again, first-class passengers were offered a choice of "Takeoff" or "Tapas" snack boxes. I opted for the same "Takeoff" box as my previous flight. I also asked for coffee, which I always appreciate is Illy on United. Later on in the flight I asked for orange juice, which turned out to be a can of Minute Maid (naturally, as it's headquartered in Sugar Land, TX, right outside of Houston).
The lavatory was unchanged compared to the previous flight, maybe ever slightly cleaner. Soap and hand sanitizer were available, but no cups.
We began our descent with about 25 minutes left in the flight and touched down at 1:44pm ET. We were at the gate 2 minutes later.
The best part of flying into DCA is the view right before landing. Pro tip: sit on the port side (left).
Lounge: The IAH Centurion Lounge, like all Centurion Lounges, has an overcrowding issue. The breakfast buffet was fairly good. The staff here are quite friendly.
Cabin & Seat: As I've mentioned before, I like the solo seats on the ERJs as far as regional jets go. Otherwise, they are nothing special and lack seatback IFE monitors.
Service: Christina was very friendly and quick about her service. Not much else to comment on. I think United sent out a bulletin a while ago asking FAs to recognize GS and 1Ks by name, but I haven't encountered this so far this year.
Meal & Catering: Snack boxes again! What can I say? At least offer some more variety in the snack boxes maybe?
Bottom Line: The Centurion Lounge is probably the second best lounge at IAH (after the Polaris Lounge), however it is a bit out of the way for domestic travel. ERJ-175s aren't bad on this route, but I do wish for an upgrade to larger planes (and more flights added to the schedule).