Review: United Airlines (737-800) First Class Houston to San Jose

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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

UA 1055
IAH-SJO
Takeoff: 1155
Landing: 1435
Flight Time: 3hrs 40 min
Seat: 1A

We made our way to the gate 15 minutes prior to boarding. Boarding began on time at 1120. The gate area was not that full but the agents announced that it would be a full flight. I made my way to the aircraft and settled into seat 1A.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Recliner Seat
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Bulkhead Legroom
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Tray Table
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Center Console with Entertainment Controls and Drink Tray
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Individual Air Nozzles

Learning from previous trips, I chose this seat hoping to capture great views upon arrival in Costa Rica (it did not disappoint). As boarding continued, the people kept coming…and coming. It really was a full flight. 20 minutes after boarding, a flight attendant came by to ask if I wanted a drink. I went with the same bourbon and diet coke.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Predeparture Bourbon

The captain came on to welcome us aboard and to inform us of our 3hr 7min flight time to Costa Rica. He also informed us that we had great flight attendants aboard the flight who would be taking care of us. At 1148, the main cabin door was closed. Two minutes later the safety video was screened and our pushback began. At 1159 we began our short eight minute taxi to the runway.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Taxiing for Departure

We were airborne at 1207. The climb out was fairly smooth until we hit the clouds. I spent my time checking out views of Houston and Galveston.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
View leaving Houston

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Hello Galveston
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Galveston after takeoff from Houston

The inflight service began 25 minutes later. My choices of meals were short rib with rice and plantains or chicken with grits. I went with the short ribs because it one of my favorite dishes on United. Warm towels were offered soon thereafter.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Really Warm Towel

Warm nuts and the drink were then served. The nuts were flavorful, but a little soft. 

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Drinks and warm mixed nuts

The entree was served 40 minutes after takeoff. The beef was a little tough, but I think this was compounded by the butter knife that United gives customers. Proper cutlery goes a looonnnggg way. The rice and beans were delicious. I did not touch the salad or pretzel roll. The best thing on the plate was the cheesecake. OMG!  It was the second best cheesecake that I had ever eaten, after the one on the flight from Dallas to Washington. 

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Lunch
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Beef, plantains, rice and beans
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
caramel cheesecake

The entire meal service was over in 45 minutes. After that, spent time talking to my seat mate and looking out of the window. It was such a clear day that I could see forever.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Nicaragua

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San JoseDSC02023DSC02026

The captain must have sped down to Costa Rica because he announced that we would be arriving 30 minutes early. We went into a holding pattern, I did not care because the views were amazing!

un
Views arriving in Costa Rica
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Views arriving in Costa Rica

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San JoseDSC02036DSC02038DSC02039DSC02040

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Views arriving in Costa Rica

We touched down in Costa Rica at 1417. After a a five minute taxi, we arrived at a remote stand because our gate was still occupied (so much for arriving early). While we were waiting, I took some pics on the ground, to include one of a Sansa Airlines’ Cessna 208B Grand Caravan registration number “TI-BOW”. 🧐 

DSC02044

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
Back taxiing for departure
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
ready to go, using a small portion of the runway

After what felt like an eternity, we finally taxied to our gate where we were greeted by every ground crew member at the airport. LOL.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
The airplane lineup in Costa Rica
United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
more airplanes in Costa Rica

DSC02051

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
The welcoming committee

I hurried off of the plane because I knew that the immigration lines get very long. Forgetting that I was traveling with someone, I waited for him to deplane. This is what the immigration line looked like at that point. SMH.

United Airlines 737-800 First Class Houston to San Jose
So. Many. People.

Final Word

The flight to Costa Rica is an international flight on paper, but it is nothing more than a regional flight. The seats are the typical recline seats and upgrades clear much like they do for domestic flights. The entree had some Central American elements, but that is the only difference. I was so happy to be back in Costa Rica.

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