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Review: United A319 Economy (EWR-STL)

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

We had a great week in New York but, it was time to head on to the next part of our adventure. We're off to St. Louis for the weekend to celebtate the stateside wedding of our Denver based friends that recently got married in Germany!


Booking

We needed to get from New York to St. Louis on Friday afternoon and had our pick of airlines we could have flown as all 3 of the major US carriers flew the route. The two that worked the best with our schedule were a United A319 from Newark or a Delta Connection CRJ-900 from LaGuardia. While I was tempted to fly Delta so I could see the new terminals and SkyClub at LGA, Newark won out as the timing was slightly better and it would help me requalify for United status in 2024 (I'd given up on my Delta status at this point due to the SkyMiles changes).


I ended up booking a one-way ticket, EWR-STL, for $206 in Economy about six weeks before departure.


Check-In

Traffic getting out of Manhattan was a mess due to the rain and flooding but things on the New Jersey side moved smoothly and we arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport 45 minutes after leaving our hotel.

Passenger drop-off at Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal A
Starting off our trip at Newark Liberty's new Terminal A

This was my first time starting a trip out of the newly completed Terminal A and Mrs. ATX had a bag to check so I went off in search of the bag drop. There was a long line of people waiting to use the kiosks and they kept malfunctioning for various reasons. I eventually found the Premier Access desks, at the rear of the Check-In hall on the other side of some glass doors, and the bag was quickly tagged and on its way.

United Airlines check-in desks at Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal A
United Airlines Check-In at Newark's Terminal A

Pre-Flight

The CLEAR line at security was longer than the TSA PreCheck line, which seems to be the norm lately, so we skipped CLEAR and were through security in a couple of minutes. From there, we descended down a set of escallators into the beautiful new terminal below. It's hard to believe this is actually Newark!

Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal A Interior
Newark's New Terminal A

Our flight was departing from Gate A15, all the way at the end of the terminal. Since we had roughly an hour before our scheduled boarding time, we walked down towards our gate and found the Kitchen Step Neighborhood Bistro which looked like a good place to grab lunch. The menu had a few items that sounded great, though at airport pricing, and we were seated immediately. We also had a view of our gate which was nice and meant we didn't have to feel rushed.

Mrs. ATX ordered the grilled Scottish salmon while I had the KS burger. Both of which were very good and a notch above what I would typically expect to get in an airport.

Once we were finished eating, we grabbed the check and headed across the hallway to the gate area for our flight.


Boarding

When we got to the gate there were still a few minutes before our scheduled boarding time. I headed over to the window and caught an obstructed view of N822UA, a 24 year old A319 taking us over to St. Louis this afternoon.

United Airlines A319 N822UA at Newark Liberty International Airport
Our ride to St. Louis this afternoon

It didn't make sense to try and find a seat since boarding was about to begin, so we just stood in the Group 1 boarding lane and waited for boarding to begin.

Boarding started on time with preboards, active duty military, Global Services, families with small children, and Premier 1Ks. After that, Group 1 was invited to board but an announcement was made stating exit row passengers couldn't use the E-gates and instead needed to be scanned by an agent.


United Airlines

UA 2144

EWR-STL (Newark Liberty International - St. Louis Lambert International)

Seat: 21C (Economy)

A319-100 (N822UA)

Scheduled: 2:06p-3:42p

Actual: 2:01p-3:28p


After a visit to the gate agent to verify my boarding pass, I headed down the jet bridge to board our waiting aircraft.


Seat

Mrs. ATX and I were on separate reservations and therefore ended up seated apart from each other. We initially planned on being in the same row but we must have gotten our wires crossed and she ended up 2 rows back in the window seat. I selected seat 21C, the aisle seat in the exit row. The seats were in your standard 3-3 Economy layout but did feature a little more legroom.

United Airlines A319 Exit Row Legroom
United Airlines A319 Exit Row Legroom

The tray table folded out from the seatback in front and was large enough to hold my laptop. Putting a drink or anything else on the tray with a computer would have been a challenge though.

United Airlines A319 Exit Row Tray Table
United Airlines A319 Tray Table

While United is in the process of retrofitting their A319 and A320 fleets with new interiors and seatback entertainment, this flight was on one of the older aircraft and only offered streaming entertainment.

United Airlines A319 Economy Seating
No seatback IFE on this flight

Departure

Even with the bad weather in the area we managed to button up and push back from the gate about 5 minutes early. The Flight Attendants were in the aisle and performed a manual safety demonstration. They also came by the exit row to verify that all passengers were willing and able to assist in the event of an emergency. I was seated next to two very nice, older, passengers of size and one of them used a cane. I was somewhat surprised that one of the flight attendants didn't ask them to swap seats because of their mobility issues (they also pre-boarded). Even they seemed surprised after the fact that nobody said anything.


We had a short taxi out to Runway 4L and found ourselves 6th in line for takeoff. Once it was our turn, it didn't take long for our A319 to get airborne and head west towards St. Louis. Because of the weather, we had some significant bumps during the climb out.


In Flight

As we reached cruising altitude, we were still experiencing some bumps from the weather. The Captain asked the Flight Attendants to remain seated. I pulled out my laptop and alternated between working and tracking the progress of our flight on FlightAware. As a MileagePlus member, I was able to buy a full flight pass for $8.

FlightAware tracking United Flight 2144
Tracking our flight thanks to the in-flight Wi-Fi

Once the bumps tapered off the flight crew started their in-flight service. When they reached my row I had a vodka soda which was served with a small bag of snack mix.

United A319 Economy In-Flight Snacks and Beverages
United A319 Economy In-Flight Service

I passed the remainder of the flight working and, before long, we were beginning our descent into St. Louis.


Arrival

We arrived in St. Louis roughly 15 minutes ahead of schedule and parked at Gate A14. As we deplaned, I got one final look at our A319 and saw that the pilots were using a Minions sunshade which some folks, especially kids, in the terminal got a kick out of.

United A319 with a Minions mask at St. Louis International Airport
United A319 with a Minion mask

From the gate, we followed the signs towards baggage claim to retrieve Mrs. ATX's checked bag before heading to get our rental car.


Summary

I've got to gove kudos to United and the ground crew at Newark Airport on this flight. On a day where air travel in the New York area came to a grinding halt, they managed to get our plane in, turned around, and back out on time. Once in the air, the crew was friendly though they may have overlooked some things when it came to passengers in the exit row. As a frequent United flyer I'll definitely be on another A319 soon but, I'm hoping the next flight is on a retrofitted aircraft.


In This Trip Report

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