Winston Aldworth flies aboard United Airlines flight 3846, going from Houston to Memphis.

The plane:

An Embraer-145. The sleek, Brazilian-made twin-jets work regional services throughout the US for the three main carriers.

Time: This little inter-state hopper departs at 9.05am and lands at 10.30am. We dotted down about 10 minutes early.

Price: Return tickets start from $189.


My seat: 5D. Seated on the right of the cabin, with the seat next to me empty, I get a cracking view of the Mississippi River as Texas fades to Tennessee. The sun blazes off the water's surface making the river look like vast swathes of dappled tinfoil. The countryside is a patchwork of farm and forest dotted with small towns. This land is greener than you'd think.

Food and drink: Pretty much, BYO. Though we were handed something called a stroopwafel - a delicious Dutch treat with a rich smear of caramel banged between two waffles. Other than that, they'll get you a water or a fizzy drink if you ask nicely.

The service: The solo crew member does a tidy job of packing us in and waving us out.

Luggage: The cabin is tight, so I hand over my small wheelie bag to be stored below.

After landing, these bags are placed next to the plane door where passengers can retrieve them. Absent-mindedly, I walk right past the thing and exit the security area. United's ground staff are on the case and do a fine job of getting the thing to me - but do yourself a favour and pay attention when they tell you to remember your bag.

Airport experience: At Houston Airport - a slick transfer hub where you can buy cool Nasa mechandise - we settle in for a "light Texan breakfast": A burrito the size of my chest, stuffed with meat, beans and eggs. As it says on the Bullritos website: "Load it with steak, chicken, ground beef or pork. Heck, why not all of 'em?"

Heck, indeed. As far as breakfasts go, it's nothing a five-hour mid-morning nap couldn't handle.

Landing at Memphis, we're greeted by a classical quartet.

The final word: A slick product on a cool wee jetplane.