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Introduction: On A Quest for Pura Vida
Review: United Airlines (ERJ-175) First Class Oklahoma City to Houston
Review: United Airlines (737-800) First Class Houston to San Jose
Review: Marriott Hotel Costa Rica
Review: The Palms – Jaco
Out and About in Costa Rica
Review: Courtyard Marriott Hotel San Jose Airport – Alajuela
Review: VIP Lounge – San Jose Airport
Review: United Airlines (737-800) First Class San Jose to Houston
Review: United Airlines (ERJ-175) First Class Houston to Oklahoma City
Flight Time: 1hr 33min
We arrived at Will Rogers Airport 90 minutes prior to departure. I wanted to use the covered parking. If you have been to Will Rogers Airport, you know that covered is always near capacity. It took about 10 minutes to find a spot. After a five minute trip through the underground tunnel, I was at the security checkpoint. The TSA Pre-Check line was surprisingly efficient, I was through five minutes later. There are not any lounges at Will Rogers World Airport so I made my way to the gate to relax.
Matt, who is also military, approached the United Airlines counter to see if it was possible to upgrade to Economy Plus for the flight. The agent quickly assigned him to an Economy Plus seat for the Oklahoma to Houston segment. The Costa Rica segment was still showing in standard Economy, so he approached the counter again. He returned to tell me that “our” seats were changed. I was puzzled because we were not on the same itinerary. The agent upgraded him to First Class so that we could sit together! At that point 5 of the 12 First Class seats were taken, thanks friendly gate agent. There were actually six more operational upgrades. An upgrade on the Oklahoma to Houston route is usually very hard to come by.
Boarding began on time at 0700. We pre-boarded as active duty military. I wanted to be the first on the plane to get pictures of the empty cabin, even though I had flown this aircraft type before. I was greeted by the first class cabin attendant, Gabby. I managed to snap a few pics of the aircraft.
Gabby came by to offer a drink, I went a bourbon and Diet Coke while Matt had a Heineken.
At 0713, the captain came on to tell us of our flight time to Houston was just under an hour. The doors were closed at 0722 and we began our pushback soon thereafter. The manual safety demonstration was then performed.
15 minutes after pushback, the captain came on to say that they were experiencing issues with the Flight Management System. I kept thinking, “recycle power, recycle power, recycle power”. The aircraft’s power was recycled. It corrected the issue and we began our taxi at 0757.
At 0801 we were informed that we were returning to gate because the nose wheel steering has disengaged. I hoped that the maintainer would be able to reset the linear actuator on the taxiway. Maintenance showed to the aircraft a few minutes later and was able to fix the issue without having to return to the gate. The captain announced that he would ‘give it a shot’, which left everyone feeling uneasy.
We were finally airborne at 0821. The climb out was smooth. It was a beautiful day in Oklahoma.
Eight minutes after takeoff, Gabby came by to start the refreshment service. I ordered the same drink. The snack basket soon followed. It had an assortment of snacks, along with bananas. I asked for a stroopwaffel from the Economy cabin. Hey United, please serve stroopwafels in all classes of service…thanks.
In the middle of service, a guy sitting across the aisle started picking at his head. I thought nothing of it and continued talking to Matt. That is until the guy began to lick his finger. He did not do it once or twice or three times. The guy picked at his head and licked it for about 15 minutes. It was really gross.
Before long we were beginning our descent into Houston. We experienced some turbulence coming through the clouds.
We had a smooth landing at 0925. We had to taxi for 10 minutes before we arrived at our gate at Terminal C.
What was supposed to be an uneventful flight to Houston turned into a maintenance nightmare. I am happy that we were able to get off of the ground safely. Credit goes to the maintainers for fixing the aircraft quickly. Gabby was really nice and provided great service throughout the flight.