Review of United flight Boston Houston in First

Airline United
Flight UA1644
Class First
Seat 1A
Flight time 04:17
Take-off 28 Dec 14, 16:35
Arrival at 28 Dec 14, 19:52
UA   #109 out of 125 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 266 reviews
greg787
By 3635
Published on 5th January 2015
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Hello all and Welcome to my latest trip report.

This writeup will cover my flight from Boston, back to Houston after celebrating Christmas up there. I took this itinerary, IAH-BOS-IAH, 6 times this year. All were uneventful and rather blasé. I decided to upgrade my last trip as a treat to myself. Also so I could thoroughly review this for you guys as well of course ;) I was going to do a write up of my flight up to BOS but I didn’t like the photos so this lone report will have to do.

Unfortunately I don’t have too many terminal pictures. If you’re interested in seeing the new Terminal B that UA uses in BOS, please read my previous report UA385 [http://flight-report.com/en/report-7484.html] . I go into quite a bit of detail there on the features and looks of the new section.

So last Sunday I got dropped off at the curb and quickly walk inside. Flying in First, and being a Star Alliance Silver member, I could avoid the self baggage check and stood in a very short [3 people] line to speak to an agent. I asked her about said self check procedure and, surprisingly, she advised me against it if I could. Similar to printing out your boarding passes at home, you print out a luggage tag. Then fold the paper in half accordingly. At the airport you pick up a clear plastic pouch, then slide your print out in there. Then you fasten it to the bag. Turns out that by going the traditional way, when the agent prints out the sticky tags, they also have several others that they stick on your bag as a backup. You don’t get these backups with the new method and that's why it’s advised that you don’t do this. But I digress.

After all that, it was swiftly through security for me. On the other side I found my gate and found a seat with an outlet [in the terminal, they're everywhere. Check out the previous report.]


I had an American football game to stream, so no wandering around the terminal this time. Though in honesty, the only interesting part of BOS is seeing the Int’l aircraft or maybe which jetBlue liveries are in that day. Both of which you can’t get a good view of from Terminal B. They use automatic announcements and self boarding so I waited for Group 1 to be called and scanned my phone at the gate and then right onboard. Pretty simple as long as you're one of the first two groups.
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Right as you step onboard the aircraft, I noticed a clipboard with a dot matrix printout. It has the first class passenger list. It shows name, FF#, any status, meal, and surprisingly drink preference. Thought that was cool and always wondered what they are printing out at the gate.

My seat 1A.
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You have 1 window but its positioned perfectly.
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Looking down at the outlets and pull-out self.
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View of the bulkhead.
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Views looking south while waiting at the gate.
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The accordion at the end of the jet bridge.
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The chief F/A then came around and asked if anyone wanted drink. Here was my choice. A screwdriver [vodka + orange juice]
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I keep my cell phones in holsters then just clip them to the setback pocket. Just a trick I’ve found.
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Jet bridge being pulled away. A lot of people don't like the first row due to the restricted leg room. Being 6'1 (1.85m) myself it’s something to consider. I like it since I’m close to the gate action and can sometimes overhear the F/A’s in the galley. Just an avgeek thing I guess.
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This 737-900 was a Sky Interior plane.
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An Alaskan Airlines 737 arriving from the west coast.
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Pretty much my view the entire flight.
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Pushing back.
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The carpet wasn’t tucked under the side panel.
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Let me apologize in advance for some blury shots. It was dusk/night and it was with an iPhone 6. Boston’s iconic control tower.
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Crossing a runway and waiting for inbound traffic.
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Delta 757 (possibly a -200. Fuselage seems short.)
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Takeoff
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Night shot of Boston. I quite like this photo. Guess I got lucky.
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Here's the internet plan you can purchase.
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There's also a neat section where you can track you flight. It's hidden in the My Destination tab.
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After reaching FL100, the two forward F/A’s got to work. They handed out hot towels.
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Then peanuts and a beverage. They usually use cashews and almonds.
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I chose white wine and pretty much settled on that the flight.

I didn’t get a name, and they don’t give you a variety. It’s like a ‘house red’ and a ‘house white’ you get a bars. It wasn’t a chardonnay but it was french I overheard.


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Then the chief F/A came by and referred to me by name. Always nice with they do that, and it seems rare from what I read.
F/A: Would you be joining us for dinner Mr. D******
Me: Yes
F/A: Well great! We have a choice between Grilled chicken with roasted red pepper sauce Greens bean and rice, or mezzaluna pasta. What is your first choice?
Me: I’ll have the pasta.

Mezzaluna is just like a big ravioli.

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After a bit she came by and served me the tray. Still don’t know why they serve that empty glass on the tray.

F/A:Here you go sir. 
Me: Thank you
F/A: Looks good doesn't it
Me: Yes very much. 

Now the cynic in me was thinking this looks like shocking good for a UA domestic meal, and you know what; Best domestic first meal I’ve ever had. It was delicious. And the second best United meal I’ve ever had.

So let me walk you through the tray since they don't give menus and I could just post that.

A basic house salad with thick ranch dressing.
United salt and pepper in the blue envelope.
Parmesan cheese packet.
Wheat roll with Land O'Lakes butter.
Then an extra glass and the metal utensils in the rolled up napkin.
The main dish then is the mezzaluna pasta, a ricotta cheese filled ravioli type. It’s topped with red sauce and fresh zucchini and summer squash. And they were perfect veggies. Still had a nice crunch to it; the way it should be. Hard to find fresh veggies on planes. They’re usually just mush by the time it gets to you.

Half way through just to show the filling.
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Then half way through the flight, they serve you warm oatmeal cookies. They bring by a big tray with the cookies and milk on it. Never saw the milk before, so this was definitely a top notch crew.


Preparing for our decent.
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Low cloud cover over the greater Houston area.


Just having pulled up. I think they’re going to definitely have to move the jet bridge quite a bit.
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Here’s our plane.
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Now here’s where things get interesting.

We arrived in terminal C. Having been to IAH about 20 times this year I know the terminals quite well. Well C,D & E. I still have yet to go to A & B *GASP*.

It was late and I had a drive ahead of me so I thought maybe I’d dash over to the Dunkin Donuts in terminal E, then back to C to go get my bag off the belt. So I did.
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Walking through E. A rather nice terminal in my opinion. Then racing back to C (I may have cut some people off) and down to the baggage claim. This was actually my first time picking up a bag as IAH. *GASP* #2 ;)
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After waiting for about 15 minutes some one on the PA system says that due to unforeseen technical difficulties, they are unable to get the bags out to us in a timely manner. They reinforced that this was something that they couldn't foresee happening and couldn't prevent. Whatever that’s code for.
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Then the waiting continued. The belt started up, and then after 10 minutes one carts worth came out. Then another 10 minute pause, then mine was finally out. So we landed at 7:58. I didn’t get down to the baggage claim until 8:27, and didn’t get my bag until 9:12. It was a long night needless to say.
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Verdict

United

6.8/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment5.0
Meal/catering7.5

Boston - BOS

6.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness6.5

Houston - IAH

6.8/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

All in all, lets exclude the last part since there’s no way in know if it was United’s or Houston Airport System’s fault, it was a very pleasant flight. There's quite a difference in UA's product across the fleet. This is specifically noticeable in different aircraft as well. I flew F in a a320 which has a smaller F cabin and it was quite the different experience. Even the Y product can differ especially between the A320's and 737's I've noticed.

Information on the route Boston (BOS) Houston (IAH)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Boston (BOS) → Houston (IAH).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is United with 6.6/10.

The average flight time is 4 hours and 20 minutes.

  More informations

5 Comments

  • Comment 126020 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4584 Comments

    Hi Greg, thanks for sharing this new report. Your seat in the bulk head seems to ave way better legroom than DL has in F in the bulkhead on 737s. Cool that you got a Boeing Sky Interior plane. Looks like those are a newer style F seat for UA since they are black. Guessing this aircraft has the new cabin with slimline seats in Y. The meal does look decent for UA. I've heard that UA has been trying to make an effort to offer better catering in domestic F. I guess they were tired of having such a poor reputation since the merger. It's funny how CO had a good reputation--was probably seen as the best US carrier, and UA had a decent reputation before the merger and afterwards the new UA just ruined the brand image for both brands. So this report shows that UA is on the right track to improving things. Now it's time for AA to go downhill...just after I switched to them from DL :-P
    Just a few friendly suggestions, the captions are better above the pics on this site and horizontal pics work best. Nice aerial view of Boston on takeoff. Happy New Year!

    • Comment 307888 by
      greg787 AUTHOR 31 Comments

      Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for the kind words. The UA/CO merger has been messy, there's no denying that. While it may be a bit better now, then say last year, it's no where's near old CO. Their recent revamp of the loyalty program was a killer though.

      I don't see the AA/US one being this bad though.

      Thanks for the advice. As I was re-reading it I was wondering if I should have swapped them or not, so thanks for solving that conundrum for me! I changed them accordingly and it looks so much better.
      I've always been given grief for constantly shooting in portrait:) so next report I do will have all in landscape. Thanks
      -greg

      • Comment 307889 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4584 Comments

        Hehe, it's natural to want to shoot in portrait. landscape just looks better on the site. I have fond memories of the old CO...RIP :-(
        The UA program used to be good, but their blatant copying of DL's mileage plan has made UA even worse IMO. DL's pioneering of all this program overhaul craziness has led me to switch to AA. I usually fly over 100,000 miles a year but would only be Gold with Delta under the new rules....lame. So far things seem to be smooth-ish with the AA/US merger and AAdvantage miles is not changing for the time being, so that's great! Crossing my fingers it stays that way :-)
        Any big trips planned for 2015?

        • Comment 307890 by
          greg787 AUTHOR 31 Comments

          There's elements of Milage Plus that I quite like, its just the to major ones, the accrual and the spending on codeshares that really have me down about them. I hope AA doesn't change AAdvantage. The one reaming program that's somewhat decent.
          For the first time in forever I have no trips planned. Plus work is kinda killing off traveling for employees, so might need to work on finding something else new ;)

          Looking forward to reading the conclusion of your Hawaii trips.

        • Comment 126209 by
          jetsetpanda 2279 Comments

          Thanks for sharing this report. Glad you had a good flight on UA and a decent meal on top of that, although the dessert could have been more substantial.

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