Review of United flight Houston Mérida in Business

Airline United
Flight UA1426
Class Business
Seat 2A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:15
Take-off 03 Sep 21, 20:07
Arrival at 03 Sep 21, 22:22
UA   #38 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 338 reviews
YGeorgeW
By SILVER 566
Published on 1st November 2021

labor day weekend in merida


This is the second leg of my Labor Day weekend trip to Merida.


Routing


houston George Bush intercontinental airport (IAH)


I arrived at Gate E14 at 7:04, 5 minutes until scheduled boarding for UA1426 at Gate C3.  By the time I got off the plane, it was more or less time to board.  While I was in no way going to miss my flight, it was definitely much tighter than anticipated.  Luckily, when I got up the escalators to the Skyway, the train arrived exactly when I got there.


photo 20210903_191124

When I got to gate at around 7:20pm, I was surprised to find there was no sign of boarding.  I asked the gate agent and apparently there was some sort of delay.  He said I probably had enough time to grab a drink in the lounge and come right back. So off to the United Club I go.


photo 20210903_191737

United Club (C1)


Terminal C has two United Clubs, one of which is located right next to Gate C1. As an aside, you can see mask compliance was not the best at IAH.


photo 20210903_193156-96633

When I entered, there was a lady arguing with the sole agent about entry (with her kid looking like he wished they could leave).  The agent waved me over after a few minutes and checked me in while still dealing with the other passenger.  She warned me that last call for drinks was 7:30pm.


photo 20210903_192332-82634photo 20210903_192340

The Club was more or less empty.  There was plenty of seating and great views of the tarmac.



The bar was open still and while I probably could have gotten a drink, I figured no point in ordering something and then having to chug it. Instead, I grabbed a few things from the to-go buffet. I had a feeling the catering was going to be terrible on this flight. As you can see, right now the buffet is all to-go items, which was convenient for me this time.



On the opposite end of the lounge from the bar was the agents' desk. The ladies on duty were very pleasant and nice. They thanked me for visiting and asked about my flight and when I told them, they checked and were surprised to hear that it was delayed (as it was not showing as such on the system). They also offered to call down to the Gate to double check when I had to go down to maximize my time in the lounge. I politely declined–it didn't feel necessary and a few extra minutes in one of these seats wasn't going to make much of a difference. I mostly just wanted to grab some food to-go. That said, I thought they clearly demonstrated above-and-beyond service in offering.


photo 20210903_192741-86706

The bathrooms were also located in this area. Not much to say, they were clean.


photo 20210903_192849

UA1426


My ride to Merida was on N76516, a 13-years-old 737-800. Unfortunately, I did not walk around to try to get a look at the livery–apparently this plane has the Star Alliance livery, which would have made for a nice picture.


photo 20210903_191648

Boarding began at 7:32pm CT, 23 minutes behind schedule. I was the only person to pre-board.


photo 20210903_193634

When I checked the situation later, turns out there was no one on the upgrades list–not a single UA elite on this flight? Economy Plus was more or less empty as well–some support for that theory. The purser even announced they were upselling Economy Plus onboard (at $60 a seat, I would recommend you to not take them up on that offer).


photo screenshot_20210903-194448_united-airlines

The seats were the older, well-padded domestic recliner seats. Unfortunately, there were no IFE screens. The tray tables seemed somewhat stained from the years–when I wiped it with the alcohol wipe, the stain didn't come off.



The load in the front cabin was 12/16 today and I lucked out with no one next to me.

Before pushing back, the captain announced that the route was a little different today–having to fly along the coast instead of through the Gulf of Mexico. We pushed back at 8:07pm CT and took off 21 minutes later. 


photo 20210903_194837

Service began around 30 minutes after takeoff. This little baggy of snacks was all that I got–even worse than the snack boxes I've been getting on the IAH-DCA route up front. There was alcohol at least and prosecco was available (the purser, Lisa, said champagne was available, but I'm pretty sure UA serves prosecco on these flights and it tasted like prosecco as well). The turkey sandwich and snacks I snagged from the United Club earlier became my dinner (last picture). Lisa was fairly proactive throughout and offered several refills.



The lavatory was normal for the 737. More importantly, it was kept clean throughout.



Immigration forms were handed out around 50 minutes after takeoff. It was an uneventful flight after that–mostly just sitting in the darkness.

We began our descent around 9:55pm CT and touched down about 20 minutes later. After a short taxi, we parked at Gate 10.


photo 20210903_221113photo 20210903_221421

The immigration lines were thankfully empty. However, there was no one staffed for the foreign arrivals counter at first. It took about 10 minutes before someone came and then some more time before they were able to set up the computer for arrivals.


photo 20210903_222630

After a day filled with delays, it thankfully was a short walk to the taxis and off to my hotel.

See more

Verdict

United

6.4/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering4.0

United Club (C1) - C

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services9.0

Houston - IAH

7.8/10
Efficiency7.5
Access9.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness8.0

Mérida - MID

7.5/10
Efficiency6.0
Access9.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

Lounge: United Clubs are nothing amazing, but I appreciated being able to grab some food to-go given the awful catering on this flight.

Cabin & Seat: This was an older seat, which has pros and cons. The lack of an IFE screen is unfortunate, but I find these older seats to be more comfortable and better padded compared to the newer seats.

Service: The crew was friendly and offered multiple refills of my drink. Other than that, it was a short flight and rather late, so not much going on. It's hardly their fault that the flight is catered the way it is.

Meal & Catering: The catering for "business" class was pretty awful, even for the height of the pandemic much less now when international travel is supposed to be resuming. A plastic bag with a water bottle and a couple of snacks from economy is fairly inexcusable at this point: clear cost-cutting in the guise of Covid safety.

Bottom Line: There aren't too many options from the US to Merida, unfortunately. It's ultimately a short flight and the crew was proactive and efficient.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 584801 by
    757Fan 610 Comments

    Interesting that you received such poor catering on this flight, as I know United is bringing back meals on many flights nowadays. Perhaps its because of a short flight time?

    Looks like a nice night for flying though!

    • Comment 586986 by
      YGeorgeW SILVER AUTHOR 195 Comments

      Thanks for reading 757Fan!

      I'm not sure about the poor catering. I was expecting that mainline (as opposed to United Express) and a 737 would mean at least a hot meal, but it's been inconsistent on my flights in that regard the last few months. I was hoping that departing from an United hub would mean a meal, but guess not.

  • Comment 584984 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5589 Comments

    The United Club's design looks really nice...wow, I can't believe I'm saying nice things about UA so often lately! That cabin has seen better days, but these older well-stuffed seats are always comfortable! Not too surprised about the catering...or lack thereof, since this flight covers a distance of only 700ish miles vs 1200+ miles from DCA to IAH, so it seems this flight is too short to receive the better snack box. Better meal service should be getting rolled out shortly though--they can't use the pandemic as an excuse for offering nothing for much longer. Thank goodness alcohol was available though! Now they just need to serve it in an actual glass!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 586987 by
      YGeorgeW SILVER AUTHOR 195 Comments

      Thanks for reading, Kevin!

      Even though the catering is often lackluster, I've usually had a good time at United Club bars throughout the years (though not this time). What you said about the catering makes sense, though I would have loved if a "business" flight got something a little bit better. At least they've clarified that glassware is coming back.

Login to post a comment.