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Review: United A319 Economy (IAH-AUS)

To close out our amazing trip to Tuscany we needed to get back to Austin after arriving in British Airways' Club Suites from London. A short jump from Houston to Austin isn't much to get excited about, so think of this as a mini-review of sorts.


Booking

Initially we were planning to head to Dallas after our arrival in Houston since Mrs. ATX Jetsetter's parents were going to be watching our dog and my truck was there since we had started our trip from DFW. I booked us a cheap, one way cash fare on United Express for under $300 total. After booking, Mrs. ATX's mom decided to go on a cruise with her mother and her dad realized that, with everyone gone, he'd rather vacation at our house in Austin. So he drove our truck back to Austin with the dog and we rebooked our flights in the United app for a small fare difference.


Pre-Flight

After clearing customs in Houston, we tried to navigate the maze that is International Arrivals and get back over to Terminal E to check in for our flight and drop our bags. Due to the ongoing construction, you can't access Terminal E from the International arrivals area so we had to backtrack through Terminal D. While Terminal E is used for all United international flights, Terminal D is for everyone else so I was happy to find a small United counter in the far corner of the terminal. I'm not sure if this is a temporary space or if it is here to facilitate connections for other Star Alliance partners.

Houston Intercontinental Airport Terminal D/E Connector
Wandering around the brightly colored bowels of IAH

After a short wait we were helped by a friendly agent to took our bags and issued our boarding passes. We also asked to be put on standby for the earlier United flight and she quickly issued us those passes as well. With our bags tagged to Austin we headed off to security and the American Express Centurion Lounge.

United Airlines Check-In Desk IAH Houston-Intercontinental Terminal D
United Airlines Check-In Desk IAH Terminal D

Lounge

While we didn't have lounge access on this domestic Economy ticket, we were able to access the Centurion Lounge thanks to our AmEx Platinum Cards. In addition to the Centurion Lounge, AmEx Platinum and other Priority Pass cardholders can access the KLM Crown Lounge, Air France Lounge, and Minute Suites at IAH. My full writeup of the Centurion lounge can be found here!


Boarding

Boarding for the earlier flight to Austin was scheduled to begin at 3:45p from Gate E9. We left the lounge in Terminal D just before 3:30p to give us plenty of time to make it to the gate prior to boarding. The standby list wasn't looking good for us as we were 1-2 for 0 seats, but we kept our fingers crossed.

I checked in with the agent before boarding began and he said there likely weren't enough seats, but to hang out on the side of the podium until boarding was completed.

Houston Intercontinental Airport Gate E9
And now, we wait

While we waited I got a glimpse of what I hoped would be our ride to Austin that afternoon.

United Airlines A319-100 N892UA at Houston-Intercontinental
Fingers crossed that N892UA will be our ride to Austin today

As boarding wrapped up a few of the folks on the standby list started to gather around. We were still 1-2 on the list and thankfully, after hitting a couple of buttons, the gate agent handed us some boarding passes and shut the door behind us as we walked down the jetway.


United Airlines

UA 1596

IAH-AUS (Houston-Intercontinental - Austin-Bergstrom International)

Seat: 35A (Economy)

A319-100 (N892UA)

Scheduled: 4:20p-5:18p

Actual: 4:22p-5:15p


Seat

Since we were last minute standby additions to the flight, we were scattered on the plane. Mrs. ATX Jetsetter ended up with seat 32B while I ended up with 35A, which is the last row of the plane. I've flown plenty of flights in United Economy but the last row seemed even tighter than usual. It also didn't help that the flight was completely full so there was no room to stretch out. But, we didn't really care, we just wanted to get home.


Departure

We pushed back a couple of minutes behind schedule and taxied out to the West side of the airport before taking off to the South. The afternoon traffic combined with the storms made for a longer than usual taxi due to congestion.

Once airborne, we made a quick, and extremely bumpy turn to the West to head for Austin. I'm not sure if it was because I was at the rear of the plane or not, but the departure climb seemed much rougher than what I've experienced in the past.


In Flight

We spent only 29 minutes in the air on this flight and with no in-flight service, and the fact we never got above 20,000 feet, I just looked out the window as we chugged towards Austin.


Arrival

We flew a northern approach into Austin and overflew the Tesla Gigafactory in East Austin before lining up for Runway 18L.

Once on the ground, we pulled off onto the taxiway with the flaps still deployed and had to stop for a few minutes until they were released and we taxied over to our gate.

United A319 flaps deployed on the taxiway at Austin Airport
United A319 flaps deployed on the taxiway

We pulled in next to another United A319 and after deplaning made our way to baggage claim. Our priority tagged bags were some of the first off the belt (since they likely got loaded last) and we were in an Uber to the house a few minutes later.


Summary

On a flight this short, all you really want is to get from point A to point B with no issues. While it wasn't the most comfortable flight, it was only in the air for 29 minutes and we were back at home a couple hours earlier than originally planned.


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