I attended the Freddie Awards that was taking place this year at the Hyzy Museum near the Washington D.C. (Dulles) Airport. So, I decided to fly into Dulles and preferred to leave from LaGuardia. I noticed flights were all in the mid $100s, but also saw that there was United award space for 6,400 miles. I had just about that many miles sitting in my Mileage Plus account, so I decided to book that. In any event, I could cancel for free and get my miles back.
I currently do not have any status with United, and booking my award ticket in Economy allowed me to choose any standard seat. However, during online check-in, I noticed that the Preferred seats generally reserved for elites opened up for me to choose complimentarily. That was a nice touch!
United Same Day Standby:
United offers free same-day standby for all customers (even basic economy!) which is a really helpful feature. I ended up wanting to be in DC as early as possible to catch some shut-eye at the Hyatt Regency Dulles Airport, which I have reviewed here.
There happened to be a flight one hour earlier than mine, and the seat map looked quite empty. Also, I felt that I was able to make it to the airport in time. I wasn’t able to add myself to the standby list from the app (even though the website says you can). Either I did something wrong, or the app isn’t working with the United same-day standby feature. So when I arrived at the airport, I went to a kiosk and a friendly agent showed me that I could join the standby list from the kiosk. Easy!
Exactly one hour before the departure of the new flight I wanted to standby on, I received a text message that I had been assigned a seat. Better yet, it was in Economy Plus. Yay!
United Express by Mesa Flight 6145
New York (LGA) to Washington Dulles (IAD)
Status: On Time
Cabin: Economy Plus
Aircraft: Embraer 175
The United Express (operated by Mesa) Embraer 175 has 4 rows of First Class (Rows 1-4) in a 1-2 configuration for a total of 12 seats. Economy Plus and Economy have a 2-2 configuration, with Economy Plus taking up rows 7-10 while Economy takes up rows 11-24.
Economy Plus seats offer 3 inches of extra legroom (34 inches of pitch) versus standard Economy seats (31 inches of pitch).
Boarding started 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time, and the aircraft door closed 5 minutes before our scheduled departure.
The flight was probably only 30% full, which was really nice. Originally I was assigned 7B, which is an aisle seat in the first row of Economy Plus after First Class. That seat can be considered a blessing or a curse. There is a lot of legroom since there is no seat in front of it. But, it means no storage in the seat in front of you, and during boarding, you’re right in the action of the aisle and will get smacked by people’s luggage and or feet.
Given that the E175 is for short hops, and I’m not tall, I wouldn’t need or want that extra legroom due to literally being in the aisle. So, I saw on the seat map that row 8 behind me was empty and asked the FA if I could move, and he said yes.
I preferred the “normal” 8A/B more. The legroom was solid, and there was a lot of space underneath the seat. The E175 is one of my favorite planes as it is quite comfortable for a smaller commuter-type plane.
We left the gate at the scheduled departure time and took off shortly after. United blocked out 1 hour and 34 minutes for this flight, which did seem quite long for such a short distance. I suppose it’s mainly for ground delays at either LGA or IAD.
Once we were in the air, the flight attendants let us know that there wouldn’t be an in-flight food or beverage service due to the short flight. Also, due to relatively strong turbulence, the fasten seat belt sign stayed on the whole flight.
Intelsat Wi-Fi was offered on board, and you could buy a full flight pass for $8, or there was free messaging for iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Messages by Google. Movie and TV options were available for streaming as well.
We ended up arriving at our gate 25 minutes early which was nice.
Overall, I had a solid flight on the United Express E175 from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Washington Dulles (IAD). I liked how the United same-day standby worked, the on-time arrival, and getting a surprise present to an Economy Plus seat. I do wish they still served some snacks though.
Have you flown on this route of aircraft recently? How was your experience? Comment below!
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I commute on this route every week. Delays at LGA are common. Delays at IAD are rare except for thunderstorms. IAD has 4 long runways and not much traffic except for the afternoon international bank. Most IAD delays are the result of United’s operational incompetence. It seems United and Mesa do not communicate well. Speaking of incompetence, the wifi rarely works on these Mesa regional jets United cut the number of flights on this route and raise prices significantly. There is no other good way to get from Dulles to New York so it is what it is.
Thanks for sharing your experience! Sorry to hear about the WiFi issues, and LGA delays.