Review: United Express E175 First Class (IAH-AUS)

Finally, for the last leg of my trip to Washington DC, I had a quick hop home on a United Express E175. I’ve flown this route many times and honestly considered skipping writing up this portion of the trip but, I decided to go ahead with this writeup since it was the final leg of the trip.


This flight was the final leg of my mileage run to requalify for United status for 2024. I needed roughly 500 PQPs and wanted something I could easily do as a weekend/overnight in First Class that would give me some interesting routings. I found decent flights to both Washington D.C. and Los Angeles that would give me a chance to fly one of United’s widebodies on a domestic route.

I chose D.C. since I haven’t been since Grad School and I had some friends that live in the area. Mrs. ATX decided to tag along and I booked both of our flights directly through Her on a direct AUS-IAD-AUS routing and me on a slightly less direct AUS-IAD-IAH-AUS routing. Each ticket was right around $550 with taxes and fees, which just pushed me over the PQP threshold I needed.


After arriving in Houston on my flight from DC, I had a 3.5 hour layover in Houston so I headed for the United Club in Terminal E. I don’t have a United Club membership but instead purchased a day pass in advance through the United app. The lounge itself was fine but I’d rather spend my layover at the American Express Centurion Lounge.

people at a desk in a building
a group of people sitting in a lounge area
a group of people sitting at tables in a room
a bar with many bottles and glasses


My flight was departing from Gate E24 which was less than a five minute walk from the lounge. I left the lounge at 1:50p, just as my flight to Austin was scheduled to board. Five minutes later, once I arrived at the gate, the flight was almost completely boarded and I headed straight to the podium, catching a glimpse of our E175 along the way.

people standing in front of a counter
an airplane at an airport

A quick scan of my boarding pass and I headed down the jet bridge to our waiting aircraft.

Mesa Airlines DBA United Express
UA 6108
IAH-AUS (Houston-Intercontinental – Austin-Bergstrom International)
Seat: 1A (First)
EMB-175 (N86347)
Scheduled: 2:20p-3:20p
Actual: 2:20p-3:41p

Jet Bridge Interior at Houston Intercontinental Airport


First Class on Mesa’s E175s consist of 12 seats arranged in a 1-2 layout. I assigned myself seat 1A, a single seat on the left side of the aircraft. The single seats are my go to on regional jets as you get the best of both worlds, aisle and window.

Mesa Airlines United Express EMB-175 First Class Seat

The legroom in Seat 1A is slightly better than the remainder of First Class and I had plenty of space for this short hop over to Austin.

Mesa Airlines United Express E175 First Class Legroom

The right side of the aircraft may have had slightly more legroom in row 1, but I’ll take not having a neighbor over an extra inch or two.

Mesa Airlines United Express E175 First Class Legroom

As is the standard on regional jets, there were no IFE screens on the plane but streaming entertainment was available via personal devices. The tray table was located in the armrest and could be folded over in half or opened to cover the entire width of the seat.

a person's leg with a small blue cup on a table
a person lying in a chair


Since I was one of the last people on the plane, boarding was basically complete by the time I took my seat. The flight attendant working the First Class cabin came over and offered me a pre-departure beverage. After a action packed weekend, I decided to stick with water for this flight.

Mesa Airlines United Express First Class Pre-Departure Beverage

The jet bridge was disconnected right at our scheduled departure time but it took another eight minutes before we had a tug to push us back. The one at our gate broke so we had to wait on a replacement.

United Express E175 at Houston Intercontinental Airport Gate E23

We taxied out towards the runway but pulled off to the side where we waited for the next 30 minutes. Plane after plane passed us by until it was finally our turn to go, 42 minutes after our scheduled departure time.

a large airplane on a runway
a yellow airplane on a runway
a plane on the runway
an airport runway with planes on it


The exhaustion of our weekend must have finally caught up to me because I fell asleep as our plane was rolling down the runway. I awoke 32 minutes later to our wheels hitting the ground in Austin. Flights certainly fly by when you sleep through the entire thing. Though, there typically isn’t much service on a flight this short aside from a drink and a quick pass of the snack basket.

The Ramp at Austin Bergstrom International Airport


We taxied over to Gate 31 and pulled in next to a United 737-800 bound for San Francisco.

A United Boeing 737-800 sits on the ramp at Austin Bergstrom International Airport

Since I was sitting in 1A I was off the plane quickly and got one last look at our plane as I stepped off the jet bridge.

an airplane at an airport
a group of people in a terminal

The Austin Airport was its typical chaotic self but, with no checked bags, I made it out to the parking garage in minutes and was in an Uber headed to the house. Thanks for coming along on this quick mileage run to Washington, DC!

a group of people in a large building
a parking garage with cars and people walking


Flights really have a way of flying by when you spend the whole thing sleeping. The flight between Houston and Austin is never anything special and this one fell into the same category. Friendly and attentive crew but we spent more time holding for a takeoff slot than we did in the air. With United being my domestic airline of choice, I know I’ll be back on this plane and route again soon.

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