Booking the Trip: 5,336 Miles of Flying to Nowhere
Review: United Airlines Embraer ERJ175 First Class Los Angeles to Seattle
Review: Delta Sky Club Seattle Concourse A
Review: Delta Airlines 737-900ER Main Cabin Seattle to Detroit
Review: Delta Airlines CRJ-400 Main Cabin Detroit to Houston
Review: United Club Lounge Houston Terminal E
Review: United Club Lounge Houston Terminal C (North)
Review: United Airlines 787-9 First Class Houston to Los Angeles
I arrived at LAX about 2 hours before my flight was scheduled to depart in order to take a walk to Tom Bradley International Terminal and back for absolutely no reason at all.
After returning, I walked to terminal 8, where all United Express flights leave from at LAX.
Above is a picture of the bird I’ll be flying into Seattle.
At check-in, only 3 out of the 12 first class seats were filled in. On board, 10/12 seats were filled. So I assume 5 out of the 7 new people were status upgrades. Two of the people I knew had asked for an upgrade simply because I had seen them do it at the gate.
Now to the seats. UA’s Embraer 175 had 12 total seats in first class. There were 4 rows in a 1-2 configuration with the single seats being on the left side of the aircraft. Usually, I prefer the right side, but this was an obvious choice: solo seat, direct aisle access, and sunset views heading north. The seat cushion was well padded, though slightly hard but that’s fine because the seat was definitely relatively new. The back padding had the same issue. Overall it was still a comfortable seat for a 3-hour flight. The legroom was more than enough for me and I am 5′ 9″.
There’s a cup holder that slides out of the front of the left armrest and the tray table folds out of the right armrest by lifting it. Every seat in first class has power ports. For the pair seats on the right side, the power ports are under the center console between the seats. On the solo seats, the power port is along the left armrest under the slidable cup holder. It illuminates green so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Immediately upon sitting, a crew member came and asked what I would like to drink for my pre-departure beverage. Of course, as always, I went with sparkling water and it appears that United has low expectations for people’s consumption of sparkling water, because it had all finished by the time lunch service came, but more on that later.
After a relatively quick boarding process, the door closed and we had a 7-minute early departure.
As we made the long taxi to runway 24L, we passed by a lovely BA 787-9
After receiving clearance, we had a relatively long roll but the views on takeoff were lovely as usual when departing from LAX.
After reaching cruising altitude, the single crew member working first class came around to take drink orders from everyone. She worked efficiently and had my sparkling water and nuts in a ramekin out in under a minute. Now usually United warms these nuts before consumption though that was not the case this time. It’s not a big deal at all, given that UA’s regional aircraft don’t have ovens to head food.
After this was done, the crew came around with hot towels for everyone.
Next was lunch. On United express flights of this length, there is a choice between two cold options for lunch. I wasn’t too happy about BOTH options being cold but it is what it is. As I said earlier, regional aircraft generally don’t have ovens to heat food so this isn’t really their fault. There was a choice between a chicken cobb salad or a Beef Sriracha Wrap and I went with the latter.
The salad was dry and rubbery at best, but the Sesame ginger sauce added some moistness and taste to the salad. The grapes were actually nice and fresh and very comparable to grapes that I consume on the ground. The wrap was decently tasty. The beef was alright, and the sriracha added a slight kick to the wrap, but it was decent at best. The fact that the wrap was chilled definitely contributed to the weak taste of the wrap. But the meal was overall filling. The cookie was very soft and sweet.
The rest of the flight was all about the views. The sun sinked lower and lower in the sky as we moved further up the west coast.
About 30 minutes out from Seattle, we began our descent into the city. This was a rather early start for descent but the captain asked for landing preparations and clean up to be done early because of choppy weather in Seattle where everyone would need to be seated.
The weather was definitely choppy and we hit some heavy turbulence on the way down.
Eventually, we dipped below the ceiling and Seattle appeared below us.
After descending some more and our final approach, we had a smoothish touchdown in Seattle on time and taxied to the gate.
After the flight reached the gate, I waited for everyone to deplane for 2 reasons. Firstly, during takeoff, my boarding pass and my favorite pen slid back somewhere into the economy section and I needed to find it, and also I wanted to take some photos of economy.
For a regional aircraft, this is not bad, but it looks thin enough that I would not want to spend too long in this seat.
Overall, the flight was good and enjoyable. The seat was good enough for the flight, the service was decent, and the views were great. I wish UA would edit its rules for in-flight catering to give a hot option for lunch despite the flight being operated by a UA Express aircraft. Ultimately, this won’t drive returning customers away, but it certainly helps to have an appealing meal. I see United for the most part going in the right direction with its premium cabin travel, and this is another way they could improve the experience that much more.