Review: United B737-900 Economy (MSY-IAH)

After a long weekend in New Orleans, and a disappointing Sugar Bowl loss by the Longhorns, it was time for us to head back to Texas. Our flight was at 2:00p and we left the Le Méridien New Orleans just after noon.


Since we booked a few different itineraries prior to bowl destinations being announced, we booked our trip home on points in case we needed to cancel/adjust. Our routing MSY-IAH-DFW in Economy cost 17,000 MileagePlus miles plus $5.60 in taxes and fees. While it wasn’t the best use of miles, it certainly beat the cash prices leaving New Orleans after the game.


We dropped our car at the rental car facility just after 12:30p and hopped on the bus over to the terminal. On the bus ride over my phone lit up with text messages and push notifications from United showing our flight was delayed 25 minutes due to an inbound aircraft.

New Orleans International Airport Rental Car Shuttle

By the time we arrived at the airport, the delay had been pushed back another hour and our connection in Houston was gone. We headed over to the United check-in desks to see what our options were.

people in an airport
people standing in a line at a terminal

Unfortunately, because of the game, there were very few remaining seats out of New Orleans. United doesn’t have an agreement with Southwest so that option was out and, since it was an award ticket, they wouldn’t rebook us on the American direct because our class of service wasn’t available.

We decided that our best bet would be to get to Houston where we should have some more options. There were no confirmed seats available from Houston to Dallas so we got on the standby list before heading off to security.

New Orleans International Airport Security Checkpoint as seen from the Ticketing Area

Once airside, since we had time to kill, our first order of business was grabbing something to snack on. We headed to Cafe du Monde, located near the Concourse A/B connector for coffee and beignets.

Cafe du Monde located inside New Orleans International Airport

After stuffing our faces with a delicious treat, we made the short walk over to The Club MSY to wait out the remainder of our delay. They were on a waitlist but we were admitted within 20 minutes.

a man walking in a building
a group of people standing in a line at a desk

After spending about an hour in the lounge, we started off on the walk to our gate. Our flight to Houston was departing from the far end of the C Gates and it was a 10 minute walk to our departure gate at a brisk pace.

We arrived at Gate C11 just as our delayed inbound aircraft was pulling into the gate. With some time to kill before boarding started I decided to check the United app and see how our chances of getting on our standby IAH-DFW flight. I saw a few empty seats on the seat map and, after talking with the gate agent for a few minutes and a few strikes on the keyboard, I had onward boarding passes that would get us home. Things were starting to look up!

people standing in a line in an airport
an airplane at an airport


Fifteen minutes after our inbound arrived at the gate, boarding began with pre-boards, Global Services, and Premier 1K members. For what I assumed would be a leisure-heavy flight, there were a surprising number of elites on this flight. Boarding was paused after preboarding to allow the cleaners back onto the plane. After a 5 minute pause, Group 1 was invited to board.

United Airlines
UA 2335
MSY-IAH (New Orleans Louis Armstrong International – Houston-Bush Intercontinental)
Seat: 21A (Economy)
B737-900 (N67827)
Scheduled: 2:12p-3:39p
Actual: 3:44p-5:37p

Boarding a United Boeing 737-900 at New Orleans International Airport


Once onboard, we made our way back to row 21, one of the exit rows on this B737-900 aircraft. Our seats were Economy Plus, extra legroom seats, and had fixed armrests dividing them.

United Airlines Boeing 737-900 Exit Row Seating

There was no seatback IFE but the legroom in the exit row was decent. Wi-Fi and streaming entertainment was also available at each seat.

a person's legs in an airplane
a seat with a safety card in it

Even with the fixed armrests, the tray table folded out from the seat in front. It had plenty of space to hold my tablet with room for a snack/drink.

United Boeing 737-900 Exit Row Economy Tray Table

Finally, in seat power was available at every seat and the outlet were located under each seat. This made for a somewhat awkward encounter with the person in the middle seat when trying to plug in a charger.

United Boeing 737-900 Power Outlets


We pushed back from the gate just before 3:45p and started our taxi out to the runway. Unfortunately, due to the delays, we lost our departure slot and were forced over to the penalty box for a bit before we could get another departure slot.

Finally, after a 40 minute delay, we were released from our hold and pulled onto Runway 2 to head for Houston.

an airplane wing on a runway
an airplane on the runway


Once airborne, we made a tight left turn over Lake Pontchartrain to head towards Houston. On our climb out I managed to get a good look at the airport and the surrounding suburb of Kenner.

View Departing New Orleans on a United Boeing 737-900

Due to the short duration of the flight, there was no service in the economy cabin. Though I’m not their greatest fan, one of the areas where Southwest shines is providing a beverage service on very short routes. Instead, I passed the time staring out of the window as we cloud surfed our way to Houston.

an airplane wing above the clouds
the wing of an airplane above the clouds


As we approached Houston we encountered a bit of weather. This caused us to take a somewhat circuitous route into Bush Intercontinental Airport. Once on the ground, we had a five minute taxi over to our arrival gate, C34.

an airplane wing on a runway
a tower in the distance

We pulled into the gate almost two hours after our scheduled arrival time. As we taxied in, I fired up my phone and saw that we had a projected 20 minute layover with an 18 minute walk to our connecting gate. Needless to say, I wasn’t hopeful and I hoped we could deplane quickly.

Arriving at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport on a United Boeing 737

Since we were back in Row 21, it took a few minutes for us to deplane and we were in the concourse about 5 minutes after arrival, racing off to try and make our connection.


I’ve been a United loyalist over the years but, unfortunately, today was not one of their best moments. Our plane took a rolling mechanical delay that was compounded by the fact that it made us miss our departure window and our connection in Houston. With no rebooking options out of New Orleans, we headed off to Houston with our fingers crossed that we could find another flight home.

In This Trip Report

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