Review: United Express CRJ-900 First Class (IAH-BTR)

After a quick flight from Austin to Houston, it was time to catch our final leg over to Baton Rouge. I wrote a few months back about how Mesa would be leaving American and taking over routes for United from their Denver and Houston hubs. This flight represented an upgrade over the ERJ-145s that typically have flown the IAH-BTR route and I was interested to check it out.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, this flight was initially booked with American Airlines (AUS-DFW-BTR) but, due to a delayed inbound and a misconnect in DFW, I convinced the AAgent in Austin to move us over to United (AUS-IAH-BTR). The upgrade to first class came courtesy of my United Gold status.


Since we landed in the high C gates in Houston, we had to take the Skyway tram over to Terminal B and our waiting flight to Baton Rouge.

Houston-Intercontinental Skyway Tram

The high B Gates seem to have become Mesa CRJ-900 land and the airline hasn’t had a chance to repaint planes since the switch from American Eagle to United Express, so all of the planes were in the Mesa house colors.

Mesa Airlines CRJ-900s Parked at Terminal B Houston-Intercontinental Airport

Our flight was departing from Gate B76, which is located in one of the older, dingy parts of the concourse and had very limited seating. You could see our waiting CRJ-900 hiding behind some poles out on the ramp.

a woman walking in an airport with luggage
a plane parked at an airport

While we waited, I got a notification from United that I had been upgraded into First Class for the flight which was a nice surprise.


Our flight had a fairly light load, and with the gate area not having much space for boarding lanes, we stood by the window until our group was called.

Boarding Area for Gates B76-83 at Houston-Intercontinental Airport

Boarding started at 1:55p, or 25 minutes before scheduled departure with Group 1 being invited to board. There was no pre-boarding for Global Services/Premier 1K. From there we made our way down the jet bridge to our waiting aircraft.

a man walking into an airplane
a reflection of clouds in a shiny silver object

Mesa Airlines DBA United Express

UA 6323

IAH-BTR (Houston-Intercontinental – Baton Rouge Metro)

Seat: 2D (First)

CRJ-900 (N946LR) (Mesa House Livery)

Scheduled: 2:20p-3:30p

Actual: 2:12p-3:10p

No pre-departure beverages were offered during this flight, though it didn’t matter as we boarded quickly and pushed off the gate almost 10 minutes early.


The seats on this flight were in the standard 1-2 layout for first class and 2-2 for economy. Though if you’re flying in Economy solo, seat 4A is by itself and doesn’t have a seat beside it, so you’ll want to try and grab that one.

Mesa Airlines United Express CRJ-900 First Class Cabin

Legroom was also standard and there was no IFE, which is the norm on regional jets. I had plenty of space and I’m 6’2”. It is also worth noting that there is no wifi on this plane so be sure to download any entertainment prior to boarding.

Mesa Airlines United Express CRJ-900 First Class Legroom


Since I scored a last minute upgrade I was stuck in an aisle seat and my seatmate decided to keep the window down during our flight so I don’t have much to report from outside the aircraft. No pre-departure beverages were offered during this flight and the FA’s hung out in the galley chatting and eating lunch. It didn’t really matter as we boarded quickly and pushed off the gate almost 10 minutes early. We took off to the southeast before turning east towards Baton Rouge.

In Flight

Once we were in the air, the flight attendants made an announcement that, due to the short duration of the flight, there would be no service in Economy. This announcement was pretty difficult to hear due to the noise of the plane.

The flight attendant working First Class came around and took drink orders shortly after departure. I had a vodka soda which was served in an acrylic tumbler. No refills or any snacks were offered either.

Mesa Airlines United Express CRJ-900 First Class Beverage Service

As we approached Baton Rouge, things started to get a little bumpy as some afternoon thunderstorms were building over the Atchafalaya Basin.


We landed from the southeast into a deserted Baton Rouge Metro Airport and taxied over to Gate A1. Thanks to our straight in arrival, we managed to arrive a full 20 minutes early. Once we disembarked, we headed out into the large glass rotunda connecting Concourses A and B and made our way downstairs.

a man with luggage in an airport
a large window with many windows and chairs
a door with a sign and a glass enclosure in a building
a large sign in a building

It was hot in Baton Rouge so we waited at the coffee shop near the baggage claim for our Uber to get close before heading outside into the heat and humidity.

people standing in front of a building
a car with the trunk open

Our driver arrived and we were off to the Courtyard to start our weekend.


While there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with this flight, it seemed to slightly miss the mark. The crew seemed apathetic and was just going through the motions. While the flight still marked an upgrade for travelers over the E135/145’s that usually operate the IAH-BTR route, I’m glad I didn’t pay extra for a first class seat on this flight.

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