Trip Report: United Airlines (B757-200) Business IAH-LAX

The Details

  • Flight: UA1534
  • Aircraft: B757-200
  • Class: Domestic First/Business
  • Seat: 4A
  • Route: Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)-Los Angeles International (LAX)
  • Distance: 1,391 miles
  • Duration: 3hrs 17min
  • Departure: 4:29PM
  • Arrival: 6:03PM

The Preflight

After I arrived at George Bush Intercontinental from Chicago O’Hare, I had about three hours until my next flight to Los Angeles. Thanks to my AMEX Platinum card, I had access to The Centurion Lounge at IAH. It was about a 10 minute walk from Terminal C to the lounge located in Terminal D.

Check-in was done remotely with the app and a QR code on my phone. The lounge agents scanned the QR code and my boarding pass from behind plexiglass at the entrance.

There was a buffet open that was staffed by a lounge staff member. They would grab a tray with plates and then plate the food for you. I had the roasted butternut squad, two cookies (chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin), meatballs, beans, and roasted cauliflower. All of the food was delicious and flavorful.

There was an open bar as well and the awesome bartender made me an excellent Gin & Tonic. I also had a Americano.

With an hour until departure, I made my way to Terminal E at IAH which was about a 10 minute walk as well. Terminal E is where most of the United international flight depart from and is were the Polaris lounge is located.

Our plane had previously flown in from Bogota, Columbia which is why it was at an international gate. The gate area featured the new biometric scanners but they were not used for this domestic flight. Boarding was slightly delayed by 10 minutes due to a late arriving flight attendant and started at 3:50PM. All passengers were boarded via Door 2L and it was a treat to be able to turn left on a narrow body aircraft.

Our B757-200, registration N41135, was delivered to Continental Airlines all the way back in February 1999. After the merger with United Airlines, she was transferred over in 2010.

The Flight

Before COVID-19, United had two separate fleets of B757-200s. One fleet consisted of all of the pre-merger United B757s with 28 business, 42 Economy Plus, and 72 Economy seats. This fleet was primarily used on premium transcontinental flights. Due to COVID-19, this entire fleet was stored and most likely retired effective March 2020.

The other sub-fleet of B757-200s consists of the pre-merger Continental B757s which feature 16 business, 45 Economy Plus, and 108 Economy seats. This fleet primarily flew international flights to smaller markets in Europe from the East Coast. Roughly half of this fleet is currently active and flying for United.

In 2020, United also began retrofitting the pre-merger Continental B757s; re-upholstering the business class seats and installing more economy seats. Today’s aircraft was not a retrofitted B757 and had the same cabin that Continental installed back in the late 2000s.

The seat was the Parallel Diamond seat which can be found on a variety of airlines including KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, and Royal Jordanian. Each seat was 20.6″ wide and had a total of 6’4″ of sleep space when fully flat. I found the padding to be comfortable for this relatively short three hour flight. However, I feel that the seat was very narrow.

There were a total of 16 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration over four rows between the first and second pair of doors.

There was a three-way adjustable headrest which was comfortable. Next to the headrest on the left, was a small storage space with the literature pocket, bottle holder, and power outlet. Each seat had a 110V outlet and USB port.

Behind the headrest was a small reading light and recline control button.

There was a good amount of room for me to get out of the seat. I had more than enough room to stretch out my legs when the seat was reclined.

The touchscreen IFE was fairly responsive and had good resolution.

Below the screen was a small storage top which was perfect for a wallet, phone, and passport.

I found the footwell to be very small and narrow. Had this been a longer flight, I feel like I would have had trouble getting my legs in a comfortable position.

The primary seat controls were located in the center console. There was also an option for lumbar support which I appreciated. Below the seat controls was the tray table.

The bi-fold tray table was very sturdy.

When completely folded out it was massive.

Next to the seat controls below the center armrest was the IFE remote and another small storage pocket.

The armrest on the left side was adjustable.

When fully retracted it increased the sleeping space.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a sanitizing wipe. Despite the delayed boarding time, the flight pushed back a minute early at 4:29PM.

The taxi took 13 minutes and we quickly blasted off towards LAX with the loud rotation of the Rolls Royce RB211 engines.

Service began with a round of drinks. I went with a Bloody Mary.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines has modified their inflight service. Since this flight was blocked at over two hours and 20 minutes, there was a snack service as well.

Flight attendants came through the cabin with a tray that had a choice between a chicken sandwich, tomato basil sandwich, or Tapas box. I went with the Tapas box which was well provisioned. Water bottles were also handed out to each passenger.

It was a very smooth ride over to Los Angeles.

I decided to give the lie-flat bed a try. Without any bedding it was fairly uncomfortable. Again, the footwell was incredibly narrow.

We had gorgeous views of the sunset as we cruised over Arizona.

With an hour to go until landing, I decided to check out the forward lavatory.

There was Sunday Riley hand cream and face mist in addition to the standard hand soap.

As we approached LAX with a clear night sky, Santa Monica pier could be seen.

Enjoy the landing!

We landed at 5:57PM local time and had a six minute taxi to the gate. Thanks for the ride!

I really enjoyed this flight aboard the B757-200 with United. The fact that I was able to score a fully flat bed on a medium-continental flight was a treat. While the Parallel Diamond seats are not my favorite, they sure do beat a standard recliner seat. While I am not a fan of the current food offerings on board, I appreciate that there is an open bar. Until next time!

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