After a 25.5 hours flight into Houston and another 3.5 hours wait in the airport – it is time for the final leg of my journey into Austin. I was initially thinking of taking a Megabus/Greyhound from Houston into Austin (cheapest) but I figured that I won’t have the stamina to do that (and I am glad that I did not do it). We flew into Austin instead on United Airlines. So far, I have only tried Domestic Delta Airlines (JFK-BOS and JFK-YUL). So how did United fare?
I managed to interline both flights given that United is also a member of Star Alliance (Frenemy of Singapore Airlines). I was given the IAH-AUS boarding pass in Changi itself.
Regardless, you will still have to collect your luggage in Houston. Upon collection, there is an area to drop your luggage (without the need to leave the airside).
UA 1045 was flown on a 737-900 (I believe it was my first) – with 20 seats in First Class. The seats really look old-school. Large, dull looking oversized seats with a small TV screen.
Boarding was on time, but the duration spent from boarding till take off was 45 minutes! (when the scheduled duration of the flight was only about 35 minutes!)
What was meant to be a short 35-45 minutes flight turned into a 1.5-hour flight – the plane flew in the South West direction (instead of North West) towards San Antonio before swinging North East towards Austin (due to bad weather). Instead of arriving at 655pm, we ended up arriving at almost 8pm! Luggage took us another almost 30 minutes. The reason being our luggage was in Austin much earlier on an earlier flight – I did not realize it as the notice was sent to my e-mail instructing me to approach the counter with regards to my luggage which I only saw it the following day.
Being an ultra-short flight – one gets a drink service on boarding and post take off drink with a simple snack. There is no lounge access on ground – the one thing that I still don’t get with the American Domestic First Class.
There are movie channels that one can watch on the tiny screen, but headphones were not provided on this flight.
So why First Class? The fare difference (after factoring in the luggage fee for Economy Class) comes to be only $40 cheaper than First Class. I figure that the priority check-in and security (which I did not need in the end as I managed to Interline my tickets) was worth the difference.
Although not great. Delta Domestic First Class is certainly miles better. The seats were more comfortable and the crew more friendly. Unless one is traveling transcontinental, domestic First Class is essentially Premium Economy.
After almost 30 hours, I am just glad that i finally arrived in Austin and didn’t get dragged out of the plane :).