Trip Report: United Airlines (B737-900ER) Domestic First IAH-DEN

The Details

  • Flight: UA329
  • Aircraft: B737-900ER
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 4F
  • Route: Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)-Denver International (DEN)
  • Distance: 906miles
  • Flight Time: 2hrs 9min
  • Departure: 2:50PM
  • Arrival: 4:22PM

The Preflight

After arriving from Chicago at 11:40AM, I had a two hour layover in Houston until my final flight to Denver. I made my way to the AMEX Centurion Lounge located in the international terminal at IAH which was about a 10 minute leisurely walk from the United gates.

Check-in was done contactless through the AMEX app on my iPhone which gave me a bar code that the staff scanned.

I was surprised at just how full the lounge and the majority of passengers unfortunately were not wearing masks.

The food buffet was roped off and a lounge attendant would place the food I wanted onto a tray. There was an excellent selection of hot foods including fried chicken, beans, and lentil soup.

With 20 minutes until boarding was scheduled to begin, I made my way to the C gate area. I loved the huge windows which had great views of the planes at the gate.

Our aircraft today, registration N68843, was a fairly new B737-900ER that was delivered to United in 2015.

Boarding actually began two minutes early at 2:14PM and was an orderly affair. Those with disabilities and large families were invited to board first, then Global Services, elites, and first class passengers.

The Flight

United Airlines offers 20 first class seats up front on their B737-900ERs arranged in a 2-2 configuration. These seats were the previous generation domestic first seats before the newer slimline first seats. I found the seat to be very well padded and more comfortable than the new slimline seats.

Each seat offered 37 inches of pitch and was 20 inches wide. There was also a distinct lack of seatback entertainment screens.

Legroom was not bad and the literature pocket did not intrude too much into the space.

The right armrest was nonadjustable and stored the tray table.

The bi-fold tray table itself was fairly large and sturdy.

The center console had a small table top.

A small cocktail tray could be pulled out from the center console.

The recline button was just below the armrest and each seat offered up to five inches of recline.

Below the center console were power outlets. Unfortunately, United did not install any USB ports.

Upon boarding, flight attendants handed out sanitizing wipes for each passenger at the door.

35 minutes after boarding began, the boarding doors were closed. First class went out completely full and economy was nearly at capacity. We pushed back at 2:50PM.

The taxi to runway 9 took about 20 minutes and then we were off towards Denver!

Once in the air, I loaded up United inflight entertainment system on my tablet. As always, the United flight map provided a wealth of information about the flight.

Service began twenty minutes after takeoff with a round of drinks. I had an Gin & Tonic and a bottle of water.

Due to COVID-19, United has cut back on their inflight food offerings. Since this flight was blocked at over two hours and twenty minutes there was a selection of sandwiches and snack boxes available.

The choices included either a tomato basil sandwich or the Select snack box. Unfortunately, by the time the flight attendant got to me; the carved chicken sandwich had run out.

Contents included salami, almonds, cheese spread, crackers, dried apricots, and a chocolate.

The rest of the flight was uneventful with clear skies and great views of the Lone Star state.

I also checked out the forward first class lavatory which illuminated with a futuristic blue lighting. There was generic United branded soap but also a newly installed hand sanitizer dispenser.

We began our initial descent into the Denver area at 3:55PM local time and had some stunning views of the Rocky Mountains on our final approach into runway 17R.

We touched down at 5:17PM local time and were at the gate six minutes later. Thanks for the ride!

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