Stephanie Holmes flies United Airlines UA1565 Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica.

The plane:

Boeing 737

Class: United First


My seat: 4F, a window seat in the premium cabin's 2-2 configuration. The leather seat was large and comfortable, and it felt like there was a good amount of space between me and my neighbour.

On time: We pushed back four minutes early.

Flight time: 3h 36m.

How full: There was one spare First seat available — the seat next to me — but a lucky Economy passenger got upgraded at the very last minute.

Fellow passengers: A mixed bag of nationalities heading to this popular tourist destination. A couple of quite drunk American men in the seats directly behind me were having a very loud, expletive laden-conversation until well after take off. Good job I'm not easily offended.

Entertainment: Movies and live television is available on seat back screens for First passengers, or you can use the United app and complimentary Wi-Fi to watch movies and TV shows on personal devices — although you need to download the app before you board.

Service: The lone female flight attendant looking after the Premium passengers seemed a bit harried and wasn't overly welcoming.

Food and drink: A glass of sparkling wine pre-take off, followed by a moreish bowl of warm, roasted nuts and a glass of red once we were in the air. Dinner was a sourdough roll and butter, green salad with balsamic dressing and feta, chicken with rice, carrots and courgette. There was an offer of dessert but I was full.


Toilets: Basic and small, with handwash, but no extra amenities such as hand lotion or face wash.

Airport experience: Houston's George Bush airport is a dream compared to some of the west coast US airports. What's not to like about a departures hall that has a traditional Texan smokehouse as one of its food offerings?

Would I fly again? Yes, it's a comfortable service in First, ensuring you arrive at your destination feeling as fresh as can be expected.