For my trip home from Milwaukee, I chose United Airlines and flew an Airbus A319 aircraft in first class from MKE to DEN. I enjoyed a smooth and productive flight.
United Airlines A319 First Class Review
My ticket from Milwaukee to Ontario, CA via Denver was $425 in economy class. I could have flown Frontier for about 1/3 of the price on the same route, but figured as a 1K my upgrades would clear on at least one of the two segments. Indeed, my upgrade cleared 72 hours prior to departure from Milwaukee to Denver (but ultimately did not clear from Denver to Ontario). I’ll discuss in a future post whether the rather large premium to fly a full-service carrier versus a budget carrier is worthwhile.
Check-In + Security
I mentioned earlier that I quite liked Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. The airport is no longer a hub for any carrier, but does offer a decent amount of service to the hubs of other carriers and has a museum and used book store.
> Read More: MKE, The Airport With A Used Bookstore
Both PreCheck and Clear were available, making security a breeze (I did not have to avail myself to the “Recombobulation Area” post-security).
I approached the gate where we were scheduled to board five minutes later, but the gate agent announced there was no crew yet…but the crew was on its way. While I am not sure what the delay was we ended up boarding 30 minutes late, though the flight was only about 2/3 full so boarding went quickly.
Milwaukee (MKE) – Denver (DEN)
Duration: 2hr, 47min
Distance: 896 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Seat: 3A (First Class)
Onboard, I was welcomed by a flight attendant and found my seat.
The United Airlines A319 includes 12 seats in first class in a 2-2 configuration. These seats are unique to United and include a small storage area in the center console (for phones and wallets) and another small storage area under the adjacent armrest for a tablet or small laptop. The seats are well-padded and recline 6 inches (15 cm). Seat pitch is 39 inches (99 cm) and the seats are 19 inches (48 cm).
Power ports are available in the console between seats.
There are air vents (and lights) above each seat.
IFE + Wi-Fi
I received a text message prior to the flight that the inflight internet would not work, but it worked just fine. I used my T-Mobile account to access wi-fi free on my mobile phone.
United has upgraded the wi-fi on its fleet and I now reliability expect functional wi-fi on all flights. United offers flat $8 pricing for wi-fi on all domestic flights for MileagePlus members ($10 if you are not a member). It also offers free messaging (including iMessage and WhatsApp) with no registration required.
There are no seatback screens on this aircraft, but streaming IFE is available on a complimentary basis with movies, TV shows, and games (including a flight simulator).
It was a pleasant day outside in MKE, but we had a cloud cover over most of our journey until we reached Denver. MKE is not only a civilian airport, but a military airport too. On our way out we flew by many military aircraft that looked like old DC-8 or 707 jets.
Food + Drink
United serves a hot meal on all flights over 800 miles. Pre-orders are available online between five and 24 hours prior to departure. My pre-order choices included five different dishes:
The mushroom ravioli and the chicken meatballs are new choices this month and I chose the chicken meatballs, served with roasted peppers, polenta, and Calabrian chili sauce.
Meal service began shortly after takeoff. The flight attendant took drink and meal orders, then served lunch with the drink on the tray:
When I opened my tray table I saw it was covered in something crusty and clearly had not been cleaned. To her great credit, the flight attendant was horrified when she saw me open my tray table, did not set the tray down, and instead returned with some wet paper towels and cleaned my tray before handing me lunch again.
I noticed there was no hot towel, no mixed nuts, and no bread served. Another flight attendant said it was not boarded, but then came back to me later and said she found them. She wanted to know if I wanted bread and nuts and I told her the mixed nuts would be fine.
The chicken meatballs were not bad at all and the salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing always works for me. I skipped the cake, not so much because I do not like it, but to atone for all the junk food I had eaten over the last couple days.
> Read More: Chicken Meatballs In United Airlines First Class
Multiple drink refills were offered.
The lavatory in the front of the aircraft had seen better days. The counter was discolored and the floor was wet (you never want to assume that is water…).
On a side note, I was expecting the “retro” lavatories onboard, with wallpaper that has been around since I’ve been a kid. That always brings back happy memories of when my travels on United first began. But alas, on this particular aircraft the wallpaper was gone.
As I mentioned above, the ladies working first class were quite nice and attentive. Most importantly, when one noticed my tray table was nasty she did not just shrug or offer me a paper towel, but cleaned it herself. That was a nice gesture. Frequent refills were also offered all the way up to descent.
We landed in Denver, pulling up between two more A319 jets.
My A319 first class flight on United from Milwaukee to Denver was pleasant. With reliable internet and a large library of streaming IFE choices, the flight flew. I prefer this aircraft to a 737 with 20 first class seats because the service felt more personal.