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Review: United Express E175 First Class (IAH-AUS)

Finally, for the last leg of my trip to Washington DC, I had a quick hop home on a United Express E175. I've flown this route many times and honestly considered skipping writing up this portion of the trip but, I decided to go ahead with this writeup since it was the final leg of the trip.


Booking

This flight was the final leg of my mileage run to requalify for United status for 2024. I needed roughly 500 PQPs and wanted something I could easily do as a weekend/overnight in First Class that would give me some interesting routings. I found decent flights to both Washington D.C. and Los Angeles that would give me a chance to fly one of United's widebodies on a domestic route.


I chose D.C. since I haven't been since Grad School and I had some friends that live in the area. Mrs. ATX decided to tag along and I booked both of our flights directly through United.com. Her on a direct AUS-IAD-AUS routing and me on a slightly less direct AUS-IAD-IAH-AUS routing. Each ticket was right around $550 with taxes and fees, which just pushed me over the PQP threshold I needed.


Lounge

After arriving in Houston on my flight from DC, I had a 3.5 hour layover in Houston so I headed for the United Club in Terminal E. I don't have a United Club membership but instead purchased a day pass in advance through the United app. The lounge itself was fine but I'd rather spend my layover at the American Express Centurion Lounge.


Boarding

My flight was departing from Gate E24 which was less than a five minute walk from the lounge. I left the lounge at 1:50p, just as my flight to Austin was scheduled to board. Five minutes later, once I arrived at the gate, the flight was almost completely boarded and I headed straight to the podium, catching a glimpse of our E175 along the way.

A quick scan of my boarding pass and I headed down the jet bridge to our waiting aircraft.


Mesa Airlines DBA United Express

UA 6108

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

Seat: 1A (First)

EMB-175 (N86347)

Scheduled: 2:20p-3:20p

Actual: 2:20p-3:41p


Jet Bridge Interior at Houston Intercontinental Airport
One of these days the credit card ads may finally convince me to get one, maybe.

Seat

First Class on Mesa's E175s consist of 12 seats arranged in a 1-2 layout. I assigned myself seat 1A, a single seat on the left side of the aircraft. The single seats are my go to on regional jets as you get the best of both worlds, aisle and window.

Mesa Airlines United Express EMB-175 First Class Seat
United Express E175 First Class Seat

The legroom in Seat 1A is slightly better than the remainder of First Class and I had plenty of space for this short hop over to Austin.

Mesa Airlines United Express E175 First Class Legroom
United Express E175 First Class Legroom

The right side of the aircraft may have had slightly more legroom in row 1, but I'll take not having a neighbor over an extra inch or two.

Mesa Airlines United Express E175 First Class Legroom
United Express E175 First Class Legroom

As is the standard on regional jets, there were no IFE screens on the plane but streaming entertainment was available via personal devices. The tray table was located in the armrest and could be folded over in half or opened to cover the entire width of the seat.


Departure

Since I was one of the last people on the plane, boarding was basically complete by the time I took my seat. The flight attendant working the First Class cabin came over and offered me a pre-departure beverage. After a action packed weekend, I decided to stick with water for this flight.

Mesa Airlines United Express First Class Pre-Departure Beverage
United Express First Class Pre-Departure Beverage

The jet bridge was disconnected right at our scheduled departure time but it took another eight minutes before we had a tug to push us back. The one at our gate broke so we had to wait on a replacement.

United Express E175 at Houston Intercontinental Airport Gate E23
Next Stop, Austin

We taxied out towards the runway but pulled off to the side where we waited for the next 30 minutes. Plane after plane passed us by until it was finally our turn to go, 42 minutes after our scheduled departure time.


In-Flight

The exhaustion of our weekend must have finally caught up to me because I fell asleep as our plane was rolling down the runway. I awoke 32 minutes later to our wheels hitting the ground in Austin. Flights certainly fly by when you sleep through the entire thing though, there typically isn't much service on a flight this short aside from a drink and a quick pass of the snack basket.

The Ramp at Austin Bergstrom International Airport
Welcome to Austin

Arrival

We taxied over to Gate 31 and pulled in next to a United 737-800 bound for San Francisco.

A United Boeing 737-800 sits on the ramp at Austin Bergstrom International Airport
United 737-800 bound for SFO

Since I was sitting in 1A I was off the plane quickly and got one last look at our plane as I stepped off the jet bridge.

The Austin Airport was its typical chaotic self but, with no checked bags, I made it out to the parking garage in minutes and was in an Uber headed to the house. Thanks for coming along on this quick mileage run to Washington, DC!


Summary

Flights really have a way of flying by when you spend the whole thing sleeping. The flight between Houston and Austin is never anything special and this one fell into the same category. Friendly and attentive crew but we spent more time holding for a takeoff slot than we did in the air. With United being my domestic airline of choice, I know I'll be back on this plane and route again soon.


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