Review of United flight Newark Washington in Domestic First

Airline United
Flight UA4435
Seat 3A
Flight time 01:26
Take-off 28 Nov 21, 18:00
Arrival at 28 Nov 21, 19:26
UA   #67 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 450 reviews
YGeorgeW
By GOLD 1065
Published on 29th December 2021

thanksgiving in madrid


My family rarely ever celebrates Thanksgiving, so often I take the opportunity to travel abroad. This time, I managed to snag a very nice Star Alliance business-class sale to Madrid. This is my final segment home to Washington, DC. As I mentioned in the previous flight, I had several reasons for the indirect routing via EWR rather than directly to IAD. If nothing else, I get to review the shuttle flight here and take a look at United's CRJ-550s. 



photo map

newark international airport (EWR)


Last you saw me, I had just exited the Polaris Lounge. The United Miles Shop can be found nearby. I stopped by to see if they had a United mask available for sale–they did not.


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So it was off to transfer shuttle. United runs a shuttle between the terminals and this service can be found by gate C70. The shuttle started moving shortly after I boarded (it was about 1/4 full). I imagine there are more frequencies in non-pandemic times.


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In any case, the shuttle drops you off downstairs in Terminal A and you emerge right next to gate A28. Luckily for me, my gate was A25 and nearby. That means I had time to pop into the nearby United Club in A to check it out.


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united club (Terminal A)


The United Club in Terminal A can be found right outside of this group of gates in the mid A20s.

Upon entry, I was thanked for being a 1K and quickly alerted to the fact that I could use the Polaris Lounge in C instead. I told them I just came from there and wanted to be closer to my gate.


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This United Club was one long room with several sections, with lounge seating in front, table seating in the middle, and more lounge seating and a few countertops at the end.



The buffet was all to-go items. Illy coffee and soft drinks were also available.



The bar was fully stocked though–an upgrade over the Polaris lounge (except only basic options were complimentary). I had a glass of prosecco (actually two, the bartender suggested I might as well polish off the bottle).


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The bartender was a friendly guy and he and I chatted for a while. According to him, United was only flying about half of its pre-pandemic schedule out of Terminal A and that's why this club was more than half empty (there were probably less than 10-15 people in the lounge total). He also said that the supply situation over at the Polaris Lounge was quite poor and that it may be because of a difference in contractors that staff and provision the lounges.


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I checked out the bathroom on my way out. Not much to say other than it was clean.


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ua4435


I headed to my gate right as I received the boarding notification at 5:35pm, but clearly the boarding started much earlier as the agent had already called Group 3 when I walked up.

My last flight was on N532GJ, a 16-years old CRJ-550 (of course, it wasn't built as a CRJ-550).

I received the usual antiseptic wipe as I boarded. 


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United's CRJ-550s are simply a re-configured CRJ-700 to accommodate scope clauses in pilot contracts. It is a very premium-heavy configuration. 10 first-class seats in a 1-2 configuration, 20 Economy Plus seats in 2-2 and 20 regular economy seats in 2-2. 


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I selected 3A, the second-to-last solo seat. 4A would be even more separated–there is no row next to that seat.


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There is an additional luggage storage space in the middle of the cabin. This is where I put my carryon. I later asked the flight attendant to hang my coat (I wasn't sure if this was self-service or not). In any case, she was happy to do so.


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The seats themselves are fairly normal for the regional jets, with a few noticeable differences. First, they have 42 inches of pitch, much more generous than the usual 37-38 we see nowadays. Second, there is  a little counter on the left-side armrest to setting a drink or a snack. Third, the tray table and overhead board has been refreshed and has a newer, sleeker look.



Here's a look the row of two next to me.


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As usual, first class was full on a domestic flight but economy seemed about half empty. We pushed back on time at 6:00pm. 


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We took off at 6:13pm. The captain announced a cruising altitude of 8,000 feet, though according to Flightradar we were at 6,000 feet for most of the flight. There was no service on the flight–rather you served yourself from the forward snack cabinet. Apologies, but I completely forgot to take a picture of the cabinet. It had the usual United snacks: Biscoff cookies, stroopwafels, pretzels, etc . . . .


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After a short flight, we touched down at 7:11pm. Unfortunately, the early arrival was wiped out by the fact that ramp personnel were not read and we didn't actually get set up "at" the gate until 7:26pm. From there, we deplaned and walked up to the actual terminal.


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Verdict

United

7.2/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

United Club

7.5/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services8.0

Newark - EWR

7.5/10
Efficiency6.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

Washington - DCA

8.6/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Lounge: I've always had good interactions with United Club staff and this time was no different. It'll be nice when the buffet returns to normal, but otherwise there isn't much different from pre-Pandemic times (except how empty it was).

Cabin & Seat: CRJ-550s are a really comfortable regional jet. I wouldn't mind flying this on a longer flight--if nothing else I found it more comfortable than the ERJ-175s I've been flying to/from IAH all year.

Service: There was no scheduled service on this flight.

Meal & Catering: No meal, just snacks available in the forward cabinet. I don't think you need more on a sub-hour flight.

Bottom Line: This is a comfortable regional jet I hope to catch more CRJ-550s with United for short flights in the future.

Information on the route Newark (EWR) Washington (DCA)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 5 avis concernant 2 compagnies sur la ligne Newark (EWR) → Washington (DCA).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est United avec 6.8/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 1 heures et 25 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 590411 by
    airberlin GOLD 1882 Comments
    Hey YGeorgeW ,
    thank you so much for this stunning flight-report! Great pictures, great story telling and level of details - I really enjoyed it. Also first time for me seeing a CRJ550 and I'm now looking forward taking one of them for my next flight. Though, I have'nt really understood the tpüic of the scope clause. I though it is for 76 and not 50 passengers...
    A cruise altitude of 6000 or 8000 feet is very low, I would understand for 30min in the air but for 1 hour?!?
    See you soon on this site.
    Vincent / airberlin
    • Comment 590414 by
      YGeorgeW GOLD AUTHOR 286 Comments
      Thanks for reading Airberlin!

      The scope clause issue is that United is not allowed to have more than 255 of the larger regional jets (70-76 seats) contracted with the regional airlines (Air Wisconsin, Mesa, etc . . .). To get around this, United re-configured a bunch of CRJ-700s to have only 50 seats so that it can be crewed by a single FA and not subject to the scope clause. Hope that explains it.

      As for the cruise altitude . . . yea, it surprised me, but I don't know enough about the technical aspects of aviation to think much about it. Maybe it's to do with our routing that day? I never take the shuttle normally (prefer Amtrak for DC-NYC), so not sure if this is normal for the route.

      Thanks again!
  • Comment 591089 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 6921 Comments
    Hey George, congrats on being the first to review the CRJ-550 on the site! I've really been looking forward to seeing a report on here.

    United's CRJ-550s are simply a re-configured CRJ-700 to accommodate scope clauses in pilot contracts.

    Yup, and done in a much nicer and pax-experience-friendlier way than AA does with their scope clause regional jets where they just rip out a few rows leaving an awkward huge gap LOL

    First, they have 42 inches of pitch, much more generous than the usual 37-38 we see nowadays. Second, there is a little counter on the left-side armrest to setting a drink or a snack. Third, the tray table and overhead board has been refreshed and has a newer, sleeker look.

    All that is great, especially the 42" Pitch, which is unheard of in Domestic F cabins anymore...but they forgot one important thing...power! I couldn't believe it when they rolled out the brand new jets and no power, even in F!

    Now that AA have bowed out of the NYC-WAS shuttle market, UA's CRJ-550 make for a perfect aircraft for this highly premium market.

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 591144 by
      YGeorgeW GOLD AUTHOR 286 Comments
      Hey George, congrats on being the first to review the CRJ-550 on the site!

      -Thanks, Kevin! I'm kind of surprised that no one has reviewed this before given how many shuttle flights there are.

      than AA does with their scope clause regional jets

      -I didn't even realize AA did something similar with their CRJs.

      All that is great, especially the 42" Pitch, which is unheard of in Domestic F cabins anymore...but they forgot one important thing...power!

      -I think UA plans to add them in at some point. It should be easy to do quickly.

      UA's CRJ-550 make for a perfect aircraft for this highly premium market.

      -The only thing is, if it wasn't a connection with Polaris Lounge access, I can't ever imagine taking the shuttle over Acela.

      Thanks again!
      • Comment 591157 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 6921 Comments
        The only thing is, if it wasn't a connection with Polaris Lounge access, I can't ever imagine taking the shuttle over Acela.


        Acela is défini convenient going from city center to city center, but it’s so agonisingly slow for a « high speed » train because they didn’t bother building its own track as is meant to be. I’ve sometimes taken Acela and it’s only been 15 minutes quicker than the standard Amtrak train. If they can build a proper HSR line then Acela will blow the shuttles out of the water for sure

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