Review: United Airlines (A320) First Class Dallas to Washington

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Introduction: Small Vacation to Nashville via Boston (part 1)
Review: Minute Suites – Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
Review: United Airlines A320 (First Class) Dallas to Washington
Review: Turkish Airlines’ Lounge – Washington Dulles
Review: United Airlines 737-900 (First Class) Washington to Boston
Review: Renaissance Boston Waterfront
Review: Sapore Restaurant
Review: Harpoon Brewery
Review: Union Oyster House

UA 2171
DFW-IAD
Takeoff: 1710
Landing: 2056
Flight time: 2hr 46min
Seat 1E (First Class)

United A320

Booking
I booked a non-standard ticket from DFW-BOS and from BNA-DFW on the return. The ticket cost $304 which I paid for with my Citi Prestige card to earn 912 rewards points, in addition to the miles that I would earn from United Airlines.

This was my first flight since achieving United Premier Platinum so I wanted to see if my upgrade chances would be any better. One hour and thirty minutes prior to boarding, I was #4 on the upgrade list with one seat open. While a complimentary upgrade was not available, there was a paid upgrade available for $169. I paid to upgrade from Economy Plus to First Class. Here is where I made a rookie mistake. I used my American Express Platinum Card to pay for the upgrade, thinking that my $200 annual travel credit would cover it.  I knew that upgrades were not covered, but somehow forgot it, here is the ‘fine print’ from the AMEX website:

Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges. Fees not charged by the Card Member’s airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits. Incidental air travel fees charged prior to selection of a qualifying airline are not eligible for statement credits. Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.

So what is covered?  Baggage fees, change fees, phone reservation fees, pet flight fees, lounge passes and membership, seat assignment fees, inflight amenities (to include food, beverage, and seat back entertainment).  For other benefits of the AMEX platinum Card click here.

Boarding
Began at 1635 and I was onboard a few minutes later. I wrote a post a few days ago that discussed my interaction with one of the flight attendants. She ultimately did not know the company’s photography policy. I managed to snap one picture, using my Sony A6000,of my seat during the misunderstanding.

United First Class A320

(all photos from this point were taken with my iPhone after speaking with Keith, the purser)

At the seat was the standard blanket which I placed in the bulkhead pocket.

United A320 Row 1 Bulkhead

The seat had individual air vents.

United A320 air vents

The tray table was in the right armrest.

United A320 tray table

It could be used halved or whole.

United A320 tray tableUnited A320 tray table

Underneath the tray table was a small storage area.

United A320 under armrest storage

Keith came by to greet each passenger and offered drinks. Boarding was complete at 1701. The pilot came on the PA to inform us of our 2hr 22min flight time to Washington-Dulles. Six minutes after boarding was complete, we began our pushback from the gate. After a taxi of 13 minutes, we were cleared for takeoff.

The takeoff was smooth, with only the sounds of the engines providing a subtle hum.

Inflight Service
Prior to boarding being complete, Keith, came by to take dinner orders. He asked what I would like. I said, ‘a T-Bone’. He looked at me strangely (with a smile), then stated, ‘we have a shrimp paella or a chicken salad’. I went with the former (although, I am skeptical about eating seafood on an airplane).

17 minutes after takeoff, warm towels were offered. Two minutes later, warm nuts were offered and drink orders were taken. I ordered a Gin and Tonic.

000B52A5-0266-45EF-BAE0-2801E15FDDCF

The entire meal was deliver on a single tray. Paella, edamame salad, chocolate cheesecake, and pretzel roll.

United A320 meal

The paella was good, but the sausage should not have been on the plate. The edamame, cabbage salad looked dreadful. I sprinkled some sesame ginger dressing on it and it was almost inedible.

A few minutes after delivering all of the meals in the cabin, Keith came by to offer wine. I chose the Chardonnay. Shortly thereafter, he offered water.

United chardonnay

Back to the food, the pretzel roll was awesome, I feel like they usually are on United.

United Pretzel roll

I finished the last of my paella and decided to try the chocolate, silk cheesecake. 😮

United Airlines' chocolate cheesecake
United Airlines’ chocolate cheesecake

It was delicious! This was the one of the single best things that I have ever eaten on an airplane.

Service was complete after about an hour in the air. Keith did a great job tending to the 12 of us in the cabin.  I hopped up to snap pictures of the lavatory which was located at the front of the cabin.  It was fairly basic, as expected on a regional flight.

United A320 toiletUnited A320 sinkUnited A320 restroom

Entertainment
WiFi was available for $4.99, $6.99, and $9.99, respectively. The increments were 30 min, 60min, or full flight. I went with 60 minute option to catch up on the blog after dinner. One issue that I had was the 60 minute WiFi was not for 60 minutes, instead I got 56 minutes.

United Wifi

Either I am wrong or this United WiFi counter is wrong. Either way, I had four minutes left.

There was also streaming to devices available. While I did not use use it, there was about 126 movies. Wow! By the time you decide, it is time to land. Crazy good selection though.

We had a smooth touchdown at 2035 in Dulles. After a 5 minute taxi, we arrived at the gate.

Final Word
Aside from the picture SNAFU during boarding, I had no other issues during the flight. Keith was phenomenal! The paella and the chocolate cheesecake were delicious. The two drawbacks were the door ‘greeter’ from boarding and that edamame salad.

Complimentary Platinum upgrades 0 for 1.

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