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Topic: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-01-06 09:01:00 and read 28674 times.

Hunting the Ultimate 737:
LHR-IAH-PDX on Continental 777-200ER & 737-900ER




Intro
The start of my latest trip report series features Continental's Boeing 777-200ER - equipped with the carrier's new AVOD IFE system - and the company's Boeing 737-900ER. During trip planning I had desperately tried to find flights on the regular (and rare) 737-900 (Alaska Airlines or Continental), but the options were not satisfying. However, a combination of CO's 777 (London-Houston) and 739ER (Houston-Portland) caught my attention after a while. I had never been to Houston and Portland - and I couldn't resist flying on the largest and heaviest 737 ever.


Background
In early September 2009 it was time to book another enthusiast trip. Flights to the United States were quite cheap in mid-October so I started searching for interesting combos. My plan was to get as many new airlines and aircraft types as possible on a five- or six-day trip. The destinations did not matter really much, I only tried to include LAX in order to meet my friend The777Man again. Some days later, after spending countless hours on airline and travel websites, my itinerary was complete:

Munich (MUC) - London (LHR) on British Airways
London (LHR) - Houston (IAH) on Continental
Houston (IAH) - Portland (PDX) on Continental
Portland (PDX) - Seattle (SEA) on United Express, operated by Skywest Airlines
Seattle (SEA) - San Jose (SJC) on Alaska Airlines
San Jose (SJC) - Los Angeles (LAX) on American Eagle
Los Angeles (LAX) - Atlanta (ATL) on Delta
Atlanta (ATL) - Houston (IAH) on Continental Express, operated by ExpressJet
Houston (IAH) - Newark (EWR) on Continental
Newark (EWR) - Frankfurt (FRA) on Continental
Frankfurt (FRA) - Munich (MUC) on Lufthansa

I booked all Continental flights together on the carrier's website - connections on both British Airways and Lufthansa were included in the combo. After that I separately added the flights on United Express, Alaska Airlines, American Eagle and Delta. The itinerary included five new airlines, five new aircraft types and four new airports - I was quite satisfied in the end after getting all the confirmation emails.

Btw - booking all the separate flights was easy, but I faced some trouble on CO's website. Whenever I entered all my data, including my credit card information, the booking process got stuck. Even though I didn't get any confirmation message, the selected seats were always gone when I tried again - which was very frustrating. That's how I lost the last available aisle seat on the 777 flight. It finally worked at the fourth attempt by using my girlfriend’s computer, but I was told by mail that it could take up to 24 hours for the final booking confirmation to arrive - due to the pending confirmation by British Airways and Lufthansa.
On the next day, after waiting almost 24 hours, I called CO. However, the male agent told me that the 24 hours weren't over yet. I waited some more time until the "deadline" was over, but I still didn't get any message, so I called again. This time a lady informed me that the connecting flights on BA and LH weren't confirmed yet and that I should call again on the next day. I distinctly told her that this wasn't acceptable after that odyssey - and believe it or not, suddenly the agent told me that the reservation had just been confirmed. Coincidence or not? Who knows. I still don't know what caused the initial problems during the reservation process.





Friday, 16 October 2009
London (LHR) - Houston (IAH)
Continental CO005
12:05-16:15 (12:15-16:02)
Flying time: 09:27 (hrs)
Economy Class, Seat 42L

Boeing 777-224ER
N77012 (s/n 234)
Delivered in 08/1999


1st flight on N77012
10th 777-200ER flight
23rd 777 flight
82nd airline



View Large View Medium
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Photo © Tony Woof
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Photo © John Harris




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Photo © BJ
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Photo © Antonis Panayotatos



Flight Overbooked
After an uneventful flight on BA947 from Munich (operated by ex-GB Airways A320-232 G-TTOB) I had to transfer from Terminal 5 to Terminal 4. Fortunately, British Airways had been able to check my luggage through to Portland, so I only had to carry my hand luggage. When I arrived at Terminal 4 some 30 minutes later I tried my luck at a check-in kiosk, but I got an error message after entering my passport - names didn't match.  Yeah sure I had added my middle name during reservation - not a good idea apparently. An agent helped and it finally worked. Then a message on the screen informed me that the flight was overbooked. I was asked whether I would be interested in taking a later flight and being compensated with USD 250, but I had to decline. No more pieces of information about alternative flight options were available and I did not want to risk missing my flights on the next day. Why doesn't that ever happen on ordinary trips without onward connections?  embarrassed 
I tried again to get an aisle seat for the long-haul flight, but it wasn't possible. So I kept the window seat which I had reserved at the time of booking.

Aircraft & Cabin Comfort
I passed security immediately after checking in and walked to my gate 14. Unfortunately, it was impossible to see anything but the wing of the 777, so I started walking to another part of the terminal.
The Continental crowd, consisting of my 777 in the background and two 757s with winglets:



Finally I was able to recognize the 777's registration. The plane was N77012, delivered in August 1999. It's one of 20 777-200ERs in the Continental fleet.



From the other side of Terminal 4 you have good views of runway 27L/09R and Terminal 3. Among others, a SIA A380, a Turkish A340-300 and a Thai 747-400 were parked there:



Boarding by seat numbers was started about 45 minutes prior to departure. The cabin was equipped with new comfortable seats...



...and Continental's new AVOD IFE system with 9-inch screens:



The seat pitch was generous...



...but legroom was significantly reduced by the large and wide IFE box. At least there was enough space on the 777 to put the right foot between the seat frame and the wall:



You can try to put the left foot in the gap between the window seat and aisle seat boxes - but that depends on the length of your neighbor's legs.


My neighbor was a relatively short woman, so I could leave my left foot in that gap. Otherwise it would have been quite uncomfortable on that long flight.

Cabin shot (taken later during the flight):



Welcome Message & Departure
What I found very interesting before push-back was the welcome video by Continental's CEO Larry Kellner. In his short speech he talked about the "most professional co-workers in the business" and "one of the youngest fleets". Nice idea!  thumbsup  I'm wondering whether Kellner's successor will do the same now.

We left the gate only ten minutes behind schedule, so I didn’t worry any more about the 104-minute connecting time at Houston.



17 minutes after leaving the gate our 777 entered runway 27L and started a powerful take-off roll:





Emirates A380 taxiing to the gate:





British Airways everywhere:





IFE
Continental's new AVOD (Audio Video On Demand) entertainment system offers a choice of more than 250 movies, 300 TV features, 3000 music tracks (playlist builder) and 25 interactive games. The menu is well structured and you find everything quite easy and quickly. Of course it can keep you entertained for a long time, but the system cannot match Emirates' ICE or similar systems in terms of quality and quantity. What I found a bit poor in particular was the small number of movies in German (or other languages).

Welcome screen:



You can choose between touchscreen and handset control:



Movies main menu:



You can list all movies or sort them by category:



Short programs:



Games – too bad Continental doesn’t have a trivia game:



Shortly after departure I noticed that the map was not available - the airshow channel only displayed flight data. Later I asked about it and a flight attendant confirmed that the map didn't work on that flight. That was a major disappointment, of course.  Angry Here's all I could see (pictures taken later in the flight):




Apart from the broken map feature I didn't notice any problems with the IFE system. However, my neighbor's TV crashed after a few hours and could not be reactivated.

Snack
Drinks and pretzels were offered some 45 minutes after take-off. In order to accelerate the process - while the service cart team still being far away - a flight attendant took orders from the passengers sitting in the last few rows and picked the drinks and pretzels up in the galley. Of course I ordered ginger ale - what else?  Wink



Lunch
1,5 hours after take-off lunch was served. While other passengers around still had a choice between chicken and a vegetarian meal, I had to accept what was left. Fortunately, it was the marinated chicken which would have been my choice anyway:


The salad was fresh and tasted very good with the French dressing, but the main course was a big disappointment. I stayed away from the artificial-tasting red marinade and the overcooked green asparagus and only ate the chicken. The piece of cake was ok, but it was just too small. What I also found disappointing is the $5 charge for all alcoholic drinks at any time.

Ice Cream
While I was watching a movie some five hours in the flight the flight attendants started serving vanilla ice cream which was a nice surprise. It was also good to see flight attendants constantly offering water and juice.



Pre-arrival Snack
One hour prior to arrival another snack was served. I got a box and a hot sandwich:



The ham and cheese sandwich tasted very good and the other items, chips and a crispy chocolate cluster, weren't bad either. Btw – I found it quite interesting to get German mustard.



What's better than eating with a 777 wing over a bed of clouds next to you?  Wink



Approach & Arrival
The clouds soon disappeared and I could enjoy nice views during approach to Houston:







We touched down smoothly at George Bush Intercontinental Airport after a flying time of 9 hours and 27 minutes:


The taxi time was very short and we arrived at our Terminal E gate 13 minutes ahead of schedule. So there was plenty of time left for the plane change.



Transfer at Houston
Terminal E, used for Continental's international operations, is IAH's newest and I found it very convenient. The number of arriving passengers queuing up at immigration was limited, so I only had to wait some 15 minutes until it was my turn. However, in my case, you never know how long the fingerprinting process lasts due to some deformed fingers. At Atlanta in February the officer sent me to an office for special immigration cases and it took about 40 minutes to get my passport stamped. In Calgary in May it was just a matter of a few minutes. And this time in Houston the officer was quite clueless and had to call his supervisor. They tried to enter my data somehow, but failed several times. Finally, after 20 minutes, they were successful and I could proceed. I'm really wondering why it's handled so differently. Shouldn't there be a standard procedure for such cases?
Anyway, I passed customs, left my luggage at a belt for domestic connections and walked to my gate in Terminal C, just next to Terminal E.




Friday, 16 October 2009
Houston (IAH) - Portland (PDX)
Continental CO553
17:59-20:31 (18:14-21:07)
Flying time: 04:13 (hrs)
Economy Class, Seat 31F

Boeing 737-924ER
N37437 (s/n 2959)
Delivered in 07/2009


1st flight on N37437
1st 737-900ER flight
23rd 737NG flight
46th 737 flight



MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Paul Wickstrom



Aircraft & Cabin Comfort
When I arrived at gate C32 about 40 minutes prior to departure almost all seats were already gone. The space is limited in that part of the terminal, the gates are simply not large enough to accommodate the crowds of fully booked 737-800 or 737-900 flights. I made my way through the tight rows, took a picture of the plane and checked the registration. N37437 was scheduled to operate the flight to Oregon, a relatively new 737-900ER delivered only three months before, in July 2009:



Spotting opportunities were limited in that area, so I soon joined the boarding queue. The plane was equipped with comfortable fabric seats...



...and the DIRECTV system (available on all 30 737-900ERs and a growing numbers of other 737NGs):



The legroom was absolutely sufficient - the IFE box didn't pose a problem this time:



IFE
Continental's DIRECTV satellite programming comprises over 95 channels of live television and previously recorded features such as premium movies, sitcoms, dramas and more. The service is complimentary in First Class and available in Economy Class for $6 per flight.

Screen variations before take-off and after landing:








I didn't pay for the service because I preferred to rest on the flight. But it's a nice feature which can keep you entertained on longer flights. Too bad Continental didn't include a map feature like jetBlue. What I found annoying after a while was the persistent playing of DIRECTV ads and movie trailers during the flight - and I didn't find a button to switch the TV screen off. I'm not sure how often I had to watch that silly Transformers 2 trailer in the five hours on that plane...  embarrassed 

Delayed Departure
Due to the crowd in the waiting area I hadn't been optimistic about an empty seat next to me. And indeed, the flight was packed, I didn't see an empty seat after boarding had been completed. The captain then announced a slight delay because a family had to leave the aircraft again due to a "family emergency".
Parked next to us was sister ship N53441, the second newest 737-900ER in the fleet:



We finally left the gate 15 minutes behind schedule:



Many other aircraft were bound for departure at the same time:



Impressive line-up:



The captain informed us that it would take longer than expected to get airborne due to the heavy traffic. So we had to taxi to a waiting position where we stayed about 20 minutes. Finally, 34 minutes after leaving the gate, it was our turn and we entered the runway. The long 737 lifted off after a powerful and very loud take-off roll - the roaring and shaking was really remarkable. We turned right almost immediately...





...and I had good views of the huge airport:







Dinner
In contrast to many competitors, Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights. I was very surprised to see the flight attendants handing out hamburgers:


My expectations hadn't been high, but the hamburger tasted very good. And I can't complain about the salad either. The chocolate bar and a refreshing candy were nice additions, too. Drinks were offered several times during the flight and ginger ale was my preferred choice, as usual.

Arrival
After dinner I relaxed and caught up on some sleep. We touched down at Portland International Airport after a flying time of 4 hours and 13 minutes and arrived at the gate 36 minutes behind schedule. I grabbed my luggage and took the shuttle to the Rodeway Inn Portland Airport - a basic, but clean, comfortable and cheap hotel with friendly staff.



Conclusion
Three new aircraft, one new type, one new airline and two new airports for my flight logbook as well as 37 new registrations on a seamless trip - day one could be listed as a success. My first impression of Continental Airlines was very positive in general: Friendly staff on the ground and in the air, clean cabins and (mostly) comfortable seating. The new AVOD IFE system is good, but there's room for improvement. DIRECTV on domestic flights is nice, but Continental should also offer a map channel like other airlines do. While the catering on the domestic leg was satisfying, I cannot praise the catering on the long-haul flight - the main meal was simply disappointing. And not offering at least one free beer or wine with lunch or dinner is another weakness on a carrier often referred to as a quality airline.

Next report: PDX-SEA-SJC-LAX on Skywest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Eagle


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter



P.S.: Just in case you missed them - other more or less recent reports:
Bye Bye, Hell! TRD-OSL-TXL-NUE - DY/AB/HE DH4
My Trip To Hell: NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD On Cimber & SAS
SFO-YUL-FRA: Map- & Sleepless On Air Canada's 77W
Sin City Gloss & Virgin America's Chic First Class
Seat Dilemma & Canyon Glamour: FRA To LAX, AC 763
On Par With Air France? DTW-AMS-MUC, KLM A330
Goodbye, Red Tails! DC-9-40/50 & Chicago Tour
Champagne & World Of Coke: Air France A340 To ATL
"Mission A380": Disappointing Legs On BA/BD/EI
Delights Of Doha, 773 & 77W: DOH-DXB-LHR On EK
A380 Really a Step Forward? LHR-DXB-DOH On EK
Quality & Style: HKG-LHR On Air New Zealand 744
Taiwan Trio: TransAsia, UNI Air And The Taipei 101
"The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
SHA-SZX, Shanghai 757: Delayed By The Military
PEK-SHA, China Eastern A330 & Shanghai At Night
Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330


[Edited 2010-01-06 09:20:17]

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: FLIEGER67
Posted 2010-01-06 09:20:27 and read 28595 times.

Hey, PH,

great stuff, really warm welcomed around these cold and white afternoon.

You definitely catched interesting material again around these trip, well done.
Congrats to the first 739, also something missing here.

Very interesting to follow for me, one of the options for early April is also to catch CO´s 764 and the 739 with an IAH connection to PHX.

Looking for the next part now.

Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: HOONS90
Posted 2010-01-06 09:21:49 and read 28597 times.

Excellent trip report and pictures!

Sorry to hear about the malfunctioning in-flight map. That is a must-have for me, and what I also have on my screen most of the time.

As usual, looks like CO performed well!

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Rogerbcn
Posted 2010-01-06 09:23:18 and read 28578 times.

Hola PlaneHunter!

As usual a very informative TR on the airlines you fly.

CO seems to offer a super product on their B777. Pity the legroom is restricted under the seat.

I really like the B737-900, it looks really comfortable.

Looking forward to your next installment.

Salut!

Roger

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Akhmad
Posted 2010-01-06 09:23:30 and read 28578 times.

Hi PH,

Great report! Your itinerary just look faboulous for a six day trip. It surprised me that you can arrange it all through CO website despite the trouble of confirming the BA flights.

Nice pictures. I especially like your LHR aerial pictures.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In his short speech he talked about the "most professional co-workers in the business" and "one of the youngest fleets". Nice idea! I'm wondering whether Kellner's successor will do the same now.

Really a nice gesture. A man from the top who publicly show his appreciation on his employees.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What's better than eating with a 777 wing over a bed of clouds next to you?

How about eating with the tarmac view like your experience with Shanghai Airlines?  wink 

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In contrast to many competitors, Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights. I was very surprised to see the flight attendants handing out hamburgers:

I just hope that they keep maintaining this service.

CO doesn't look bad at all. The IFE, legroom and cabin service are definitely better than their US competitors.

Thank you for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2010-01-06 09:38:02 and read 28491 times.

Hi PH,

Great report & and the -900ER, very nice, I need that puppy too!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The itinerary included five new airlines, five new aircraft types and four new airports - I was quite satisfied in the end after getting all the confirmation emails.

- Quite a special trip this, well worth it.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The salad was fresh and tasted very good with the French dressing, but the main course was a big disappointment. I stayed away from the artificial-tasting red marinade and the overcooked green asparagus and only ate the chicken. The piece of cake was ok, but it was just too small. What I also found disappointing is the $5 charge for all alcoholic drinks at any time.

- Shame, actually looks like quite a decent meal. It's about time they followed DL and offered a bittle of wine or similar with the main meal for free.

Looks like CO impressed you, I have to say, they do seem to the one of if not the best US carrier, at least on domestic routes in the US.

Looking forward to the next segment.

Best Wishes

Mark

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-01-06 10:04:39 and read 28372 times.



Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 1):
Hey, PH, great stuff, really warm welcomed around these cold and white afternoon.

Hi Markus, thanks for your fast reply!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 1):
You definitely catched interesting material again around these trip, well done. Congrats to the first 739, also something missing here.

Yes, I'm glad I got the 739ER - but it's harder to get the standard version.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 1):
Very interesting to follow for me, one of the options for early April is also to catch CO´s 764 and the 739 with an IAH connection to PHX.

Sounds good - do you know whether it's a 739ER?

Quoting HOONS90 (Reply 2):
Excellent trip report and pictures!

Hi HOONS90, many thanks for your feedback!

Quoting HOONS90 (Reply 2):
Sorry to hear about the malfunctioning in-flight map. That is a must-have for me, and what I also have on my screen most of the time.

I can only agree. Let's hope the maps will soon be available again throughout the whole flight on services to the United States.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 3):
As usual a very informative TR on the airlines you fly.

Hola Roger, thanks for your comments!

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 3):
CO seems to offer a super product on their B777. Pity the legroom is restricted under the seat.

Yes, they should have chosen smaller boxes. The technology exists.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 3):
I really like the B737-900, it looks really comfortable.

The other 737NGs are being upgraded, too. But that will take some time...

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 4):
Great report! Your itinerary just look faboulous for a six day trip. It surprised me that you can arrange it all through CO website despite the trouble of confirming the BA flights.

Hi Suryo, thanks for your reply! Yes, I was very surprised about finding that combo on CO's website. It wasn't available anywhere else.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 4):
A man from the top who publicly show his appreciation on his employees.

That should be an example for many other people in the industry.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 4):
How about eating with the tarmac view like your experience with Shanghai Airlines?

I liked that too, but it was too foggy at SHA!  Wink

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 4):
I just hope that they keep maintaining this service.

Yes, let's hope they won't cut the meal service.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 4):
CO doesn't look bad at all. The IFE, legroom and cabin service are definitely better than their US competitors.

It also depends on the type of aircraft in many cases, but CO definitely belongs to the better US carriers.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 5):
Great report & and the -900ER, very nice, I need that puppy too!

Hi Mark, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 5):
- Shame, actually looks like quite a decent meal. It's about time they followed DL and offered a bittle of wine or similar with the main meal for free.

Yes, AC has the same policy.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 5):
Looks like CO impressed you, I have to say, they do seem to the one of if not the best US carrier, at least on domestic routes in the US.

Indeed, at least among the legacy carriers.


PH

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Palmjet
Posted 2010-01-06 10:24:46 and read 28290 times.

Great report and pics Planehunter. I always enjoy reading your reports. Glad your experience on CO was positive, and you had some great pics of your departure from IAH. I was there in Jan 2009 for the first time, and it was amazing to see just how many CO planes were on the ground (it was my first visit to a CO hub). I was lucky to fly in to IAH on a DL M90 from ATL.

Thanks again and look forward to the next instalment.

Palmjet

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: B747forever
Posted 2010-01-06 11:17:19 and read 28071 times.

Great TR

Liked the pictures.

Glad that you were able to add the 739ER to your log.

Seems that you had a good experience on CO, besides a few flaws.

Pity that the map didnt work, would go nuts without an inflight map!

Looking forward for the rest of your journey.


Thank you for sharing

B747forever

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: FlyingFinn76
Posted 2010-01-06 11:42:35 and read 27975 times.

Hi PH,

Nice report and pictures. I'm impressed by the diverse itinerary you put together for your trip. I've been planning to do the same kind of trip many times over, but trips longer than a weekend are a bit hard for me... being a family man limits your hobbies quite a bit. Oh well, I just have more weekend trips then  Smile.

Flew N309AS, an Alaska 739 last February on ORD-SEA, that was my first (and only) -900 flight. Pretty cool bird, I loved the Alaska interior, especially the weird native art thingy on the bulkhead walls. Too bad I was so knackered from jetlag and a long travel day on that flight.

Continental looks like a good carrier, free meals and even hot ones at that on domestic US economy - that's very rare nowadays. Even the booze is cheaper than on AA, who I've used for the last four of my transatlantic crossings, where it is six bucks nowadays.

Definitely looking forward to the next part.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Shamrock321
Posted 2010-01-06 16:01:17 and read 27303 times.

Great reports, love the evening 737 wing shots.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: AznMadSci
Posted 2010-01-06 16:09:48 and read 27277 times.

Hey PH! Great trip report! Always love reading trip reports that involve my home airport IAH!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Btw - booking all the separate flights was easy, but I faced some trouble on CO's website.

I believe if you were doing this around August/September, CO was in the middle of allowing non SkyTeam itineraries to be booked on the CO website, basically in anticipation of entrance to Star. They definitely had a few kinks to work out.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Then a message on the screen informed me that the flight was overbooked. I was asked whether I would be interested in taking a later flight and being compensated with USD 250, but I had to decline. No more pieces of information about alternative flight options were available and I did not want to risk missing my flights on the next day.

It seem like if you took the bump, you might have gone through EWR. CO 005 is the later LHR-IAH flight.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What I found very interesting before push-back was the welcome video by Continental's CEO Larry Kellner. In his short speech he talked about the "most professional co-workers in the business" and "one of the youngest fleets". Nice idea! thumbsup I'm wondering whether Kellner's successor will do the same now.

CO has posted on YouTube safety videos that have both Larry's and Jeff's welcome for the 772. Jeff's video actually comes with added clips, especially a shot of the CO magazine featuring CO's entrance into Star.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What I found a bit poor in particular was the small number of movies in German (or other languages).

In terms of foreign language movies, it's usually Bollywood or Chinese movies with an Israeli flick added here and there.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What I also found disappointing is the $5 charge for all alcoholic drinks at any time.

If the flight gets seriously delayed, they will comp the first drink. Otherwise, the whole service is now cashless, only credit/debit cards and CO currency.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The ham and cheese sandwich tasted very good and the other items

I think from the pic it says chicken and cheese.  blush  Either way it's my favorite when doing Europe-US flights on CO!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Btw – I found it quite interesting to get German mustard.

French crisps, German mustard, and Irish chocolates. Gotta love it!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Anyway, I passed customs, left my luggage at a belt for domestic connections and walked to my gate in Terminal C, just next to Terminal E.

Did you have a chance to walk through to Terminal D? Around that time, many of the heavies are at IAH.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I made my way through the tight rows, took a picture of the plane and checked the registration. N37437 was scheduled to operate the flight to Oregon,

If you've got internet access the day before or the day after your flight, you'll be able to find out the plane # on http://pda.continental.com/info which will give you a bunch of information of the flight. Also the regular CO website will work too

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Too bad Continental didn't include a map feature like jetBlue.

I know that is in the works along with the inflight safety video they would show instead of manual demonstration.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights. I was very surprised to see the flight attendants handing out hamburgers:

My one low point for my hometown airline. More looks like the hamburger grenade than that nasty concoction they had served.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Continental should also offer a map channel like other airlines do. While the catering on the domestic leg was satisfying, I cannot praise the catering on the long-haul flight - the main meal was simply disappointing. And not offering at least one free beer or wine with lunch or dinner is another weakness on a carrier often referred to as a quality airline.

I am surprised the map didn't work for your LHR-IAH flight since I have it on when I do EWR-HKG, of even if I luck out and get the 752 on an IAH-SEA leg. On the older PTV non-AVOD units that are on the 762/764 fleets, the maps cycle through English and the destination language. On the AVOD systems, the flight info channel is mainly in English. As for the charging of alcoholic beverages, it's been in place for years now and the people haven't left in droves. I wonder if they see good sales from UK flights for those wanting alcoholic beverages on those flights?

Thanks for sharing!

Colin  wave 

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Atrude777
Posted 2010-01-06 17:09:36 and read 27128 times.

Excellent Report Buddy!

I really enjoy your reports, and as always CO continues to shine.

My frustration for CO stems from personal things such as no mainline to STL, and they almost always seems to the the most expensive out of STL so I hardly find a reason to fly them.

I would love to experience them to try it out, and I am also missing the 737-900 and 737-600 as well, and I will have completed every single 737 ride!

I fly into Houston a lot, but it is on WN into HOU Airport, so never been to IAH!

Thanks for posting the report!

Alex

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: LYChemsa
Posted 2010-01-06 22:08:48 and read 26701 times.

I am shocked. CO seem to have finally substantially improved their inflight Y meals to / from Europe. I see a piece of cheese + the ice cream in mid flight.

I may give them a try again.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Ryanair!!!
Posted 2010-01-06 23:32:12 and read 26591 times.

Thanks for the TR although at one point I was bordering CO-overload! Hahahahaha...

Yes, CO is the only US carrier still serving a free meal on domestic flights. No matter how shitty it is, just the thought of it is actually good enough for me that they actually still bother about pacifying a paying passenger. If I want a gourmet delight, I go to a restaurant, you know what I mean?

I am beginning to think there really isn't a "standard procedure" for US to handle immigration issues. For such a large country, there are so many international points of entry so I am sure it becomes quite a challenge trying to implement a procedure, that is IF the procedure in question even gets filtered down in the first place from the top level!

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: NZ107
Posted 2010-01-07 00:25:35 and read 26516 times.

Hi PH,

Great TR, a start to what is going to be an enjoyable series to read. The 739ER sounds like a fun airline to travel on! Looks like you've got a -900 also lined up for later in the series. By sitting in the 739, does it feel anything like a 752 or only just a slightly stretched 738?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
legroom was significantly reduced by the large and wide IFE box.

Wow, there goes any underseat storage.. I can just imagine everything going into those overhead compartments and now the stuffing of pillows and blankets too.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Shortly after departure I noticed that the map was not available - the airshow channel only displayed flight data. Later I asked about it and a flight attendant confirmed that the map didn't work on that flight. That was a major disappointment, of course

What a bummer!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
a flight attendant took orders from the passengers sitting in the last few rows and picked the drinks and pretzels up in the galley

A nice touch there.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
1,5 hours after take-off lunch was served.

Wow, a post takeoff snack and lunch all within 90 minutes must have kept the FAs busy! Nice to see free meals.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Many other aircraft were bound for departure at the same time:

Yes, definitely impressive.


Can't wait to read the next part! My next shouldn't take too much longer.

Regards,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Airbuseric
Posted 2010-01-07 00:39:10 and read 26482 times.

Hi PH!

Thanks for this nice ride! Great idea to catch a -900ER indeed, difficult to find. I wished myself on a ArkeFly (Futura) example 2 years ago, but failed... I got a -800 instead. Actually the carrier was very satisfied with the performance of the -900ERs, but had to give them back to the lessor when bankruptcy of Futura was announced.
Maybe, in order to get on it too, I look to Lion Air of Indonesia. We still plan a trip to there, but want to visit some less touristic islands too. This might include some additional domestic flying in that country.

Regarding your meal service; despite the missing free alcohols, I found it a normal meal for Y-class. I flew AA last year and got something similar as yours. And, the 'before landing' snackbox includes more food then what AA or even BA offered to me. For me, these meals would be sufficient enough.

Happy flying in 2010!

Regards,
Eric

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: The777Man
Posted 2010-01-07 01:20:47 and read 26437 times.

Excellent report! It's been ahwile since your last one and it's great to finally read a trip report of yours again! Especially this one, since I heard about even from the planning stages. I feel very honored to have been a part of this trip even only as a spotting partner at LAX.

CO looks very good; I'm amazed at the size of the salad on LHR-IAH; seems larger than the main course! Too bad about the map; that would really annoy me too.

Nice to hear that the seat was comfortable; when I flew on CO's 777 in 1998 the one thing that stood out was the very hard seat. It was just a short flight LAX-IAH but it got uncomfortable very quickly.

The handset control from the 777 is exactly the same that UA has in F and C with the new seats on the 744 and 763s. Hopefully, UA will get AVOD in Y with the new Y seats.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Shouldn't there be a standard procedure for such cases

Yes, you would think that they have a standard procedure in place for those instances, strange that they don't seem to have that. That's unfortunate that it takes such a long time for you to clrear immigration.

Nice with the hanburger on IAH-PDX! It looks pretty good!

Annoying that you couldn't turn off the screen with the advertising....

It was great to see you again and hopefully I can come and visit in the fall for spotting in MUC.

Looking forward very much to the next installments in this series!

The777Man

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Thai744
Posted 2010-01-07 01:28:14 and read 26424 times.

Great report, PH!

Really enjoyed reading (and seeing) what CO is all about long-haul and short-haul.

From what I've seen, probably the pick of the US carriers IMO.

You said the hamburger "tasted very good"..... it certainly didn't LOOK very good in the picture!!

Haha!

Thanks for taking the time to post.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-01-07 03:46:35 and read 26314 times.



Quoting Palmjet (Reply 7):
Great report and pics Planehunter. I always enjoy reading your reports.

Thanks Palmjet, nice to hear!

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 7):
I was there in Jan 2009 for the first time, and it was amazing to see just how many CO planes were on the ground (it was my first visit to a CO hub).

Indeed, the number of ERJs alone was impressive.

Quoting B747forever (Reply 8):
Great TR

Liked the pictures.

Hi Gabriel, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting Shamrock321 (Reply 10):
Great reports, love the evening 737 wing shots.

Thanks Andrew, good to hear.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):
Hi PH,

Nice report and pictures. I'm impressed by the diverse itinerary you put together for your trip.

Thanks for your comments, FlyingFinn. Yes, it took a while to create that itinerary, had to change my original plans after finding out out what Delta operated between LAX and ATL...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):
I've been planning to do the same kind of trip many times over, but trips longer than a weekend are a bit hard for me... being a family man limits your hobbies quite a bit. Oh well, I just have more weekend trips then

Well, due to the long distance to the next airport I can't fly as often as I want. So I always try to put as much as possible into a trip.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):
Flew N309AS, an Alaska 739 last February on ORD-SEA, that was my first (and only) -900 flight. Pretty cool bird, I loved the Alaska interior, especially the weird native art thingy on the bulkhead walls.

Wow, lucky guy. All the Alaska 739 flights I found either didn't fit or were too expensive. I picked a 738 in the end - at least a new carrier - and I was also impressed by the interior. More about that in part 2.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):
Continental looks like a good carrier, free meals and even hot ones at that on domestic US economy - that's very rare nowadays. Even the booze is cheaper than on AA, who I've used for the last four of my transatlantic crossings, where it is six bucks nowadays.

Interesting to know.

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
Hey PH! Great trip report! Always love reading trip reports that involve my home airport IAH!

Hi Colin, many thanks for your comments!

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
I believe if you were doing this around August/September, CO was in the middle of allowing non SkyTeam itineraries to be booked on the CO website, basically in anticipation of entrance to Star. They definitely had a few kinks to work out.

Alright, probably that was the reason for the problems.

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
It seem like if you took the bump, you might have gone through EWR. CO 005 is the later LHR-IAH flight.

Possibly, yes. But nobody could tell me whether I would arrive on the same day. And I would have missed the 739ER and probably also the 777 on a trip via EWR.

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
CO has posted on YouTube safety videos that have both Larry's and Jeff's welcome for the 772. Jeff's video actually comes with added clips, especially a shot of the CO magazine featuring CO's entrance into Star.

Good to know, I will have a look at it.

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
I think from the pic it says chicken and cheese.

Yes indeed! I didn't notice the writing on the foil - and honestly, I couldn't remember that it was chicken. That happens if you don't write down everything...  Wink

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
Did you have a chance to walk through to Terminal D? Around that time, many of the heavies are at IAH.

No, I didn't have enough time to explore more Terminal sections.

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
If you've got internet access the day before or the day after your flight, you'll be able to find out the plane # on http://pda.continental.com/info which will give you a bunch of information of the flight. Also the regular CO website will work too

Interesting to know.

Quoting AznMadSci (Reply 11):
I know that is in the works along with the inflight safety video they would show instead of manual demonstration.

Very good news!

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 12):
Excellent Report Buddy!

I really enjoy your reports, and as always CO continues to shine.

Thanks a lot, Alex!

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 12):
My frustration for CO stems from personal things such as no mainline to STL, and they almost always seems to the the most expensive out of STL so I hardly find a reason to fly them.

Yes, I can understand that, I wouldn't want to fly on the ERJs all the time either.

Quoting LYChemsa (Reply 13):
I am shocked. CO seem to have finally substantially improved their inflight Y meals to / from Europe. I see a piece of cheese + the ice cream in mid flight.

Did you fly to EWR or IAH? Probably they serve a bit more on the longer flights to IAH.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 14):
Thanks for the TR although at one point I was bordering CO-overload! Hahahahaha...

Hi Ryan, thanks for your comments.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 14):
I am beginning to think there really isn't a "standard procedure" for US to handle immigration issues. For such a large country, there are so many international points of entry so I am sure it becomes quite a challenge trying to implement a procedure, that is IF the procedure in question even gets filtered down in the first place from the top level!

Certain officers seemed to know exactly what to do and just took my thumb prints - which didn't take longer than normal. However, other officers and even supervisors have been puzzled. Probably there is an (easy) standard procedure which is simply not widely known.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
Great TR, a start to what is going to be an enjoyable series to read.

Hi Nicholas, thanks a lot for your feedback!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
. The 739ER sounds like a fun airline to travel on! Looks like you've got a -900 also lined up for later in the series.

No, I tried hard to include it, but I had to give up.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
By sitting in the 739, does it feel anything like a 752 or only just a slightly stretched 738?

You know you're still on a 737.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
Wow, there goes any underseat storage.. I can just imagine everything going into those overhead compartments and now the stuffing of pillows and blankets too.

I use a medium-sized bag, so I didn't have problems to place it under the seat.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):
Can't wait to read the next part! My next shouldn't take too much longer.

Good to know!

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 16):
Thanks for this nice ride! Great idea to catch a -900ER indeed, difficult to find.

Hi Eric, thanks for your comments!

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 16):
I wished myself on a ArkeFly (Futura) example 2 years ago, but failed... I got a -800 instead. Actually the carrier was very satisfied with the performance of the -900ERs, but had to give them back to the lessor when bankruptcy of Futura was announced.

Yes, too bad these planes disappeared again. They are now all flying with Lion Air, btw.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 16):
Maybe, in order to get on it too, I look to Lion Air of Indonesia. We still plan a trip to there, but want to visit some less touristic islands too. This might include some additional domestic flying in that country.

Sounds like a great idea!

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 16):
Regarding your meal service; despite the missing free alcohols, I found it a normal meal for Y-class. I flew AA last year and got something similar as yours. And, the 'before landing' snackbox includes more food then what AA or even BA offered to me. For me, these meals would be sufficient enough.

The quantity of the catering was fine, but the quality of the main meal was lacking in particular.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 17):
Excellent report! It's been ahwile since your last one and it's great to finally read a trip report of yours again! Especially this one, since I heard about even from the planning stages. I feel very honored to have been a part of this trip even only as a spotting partner at LAX.

Thanks so much for your feedback, Lars!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 17):
Nice to hear that the seat was comfortable; when I flew on CO's 777 in 1998 the one thing that stood out was the very hard seat. It was just a short flight LAX-IAH but it got uncomfortable very quickly.

Sounds quite bad, good to see the old seats are history now.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 17):
It was great to see you again and hopefully I can come and visit in the fall for spotting in MUC.

Yes, it was great to meet you again. Would be a pleasure to see at MUC later this year!

Quoting Thai744 (Reply 18):
Great report, PH!

Really enjoyed reading (and seeing) what CO is all about long-haul and short-haul.

Thanks, Lachlan!

Quoting Thai744 (Reply 18):
You said the hamburger "tasted very good"..... it certainly didn't LOOK very good in the picture!!

I also wasn't excited when I saw it, but the good taste of the meat was a big surprise.


PH

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739E
Username: Airpearl
Posted 2010-01-07 05:55:45 and read 26190 times.

Hey PH, thanks for this wonderful trip report. I always enjoy your TRs because they provide the ideal combination of story telling, facts, figures and details and relevant photos. And you're truly the "plane-hunter"; your complex itineraries I can usually only dream about  Wink

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The cabin was equipped with new comfortable seats...

Fantastic. The seats look very good... much nicer than I remember CO last. Not a fan of the over-sized IFE box though.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Of course it can keep you entertained for a long time, but the system cannot match Emirates' ICE or similar systems in terms of quality and quantity.

I don't think any can.  Wink

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Later I asked about it and a flight attendant confirmed that the map didn't work on that flight. That was a major disappointment, of course.  

What a bummer. Almost seems like my recent flights!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What I found annoying after a while was the persistent playing of DIRECTV ads and movie trailers during the flight - and I didn't find a button to switch the TV screen off. I'm not sure how often I had to watch that silly Transformers 2 trailer in the five hours on that plane...  

Yeah that would have been annoying!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In contrast to many competitors, Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights. I was very surprised to see the flight attendants handing out hamburgers:

It's a reality of flying today that I am now amazed at free food being served. Good on Continental! Looks like a pretty good experience in all.


Look forward to your next sectors.

Regards,
airpearl

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Gjunnar
Posted 2010-01-07 11:19:52 and read 25847 times.

Excellent trip report - as always!
I feel reminded a lot about my last trip on CO on the 777. I also liked their entertainment system (maybe a little more than you did) and disliked their exact same food (maybe a little more than you did, except the mustard  Wink ).
Looking forward to your continuing reports on this journey!

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Ps76
Posted 2010-01-07 12:14:13 and read 25781 times.

Hello(!),

Just to say many thanks for the report. CO looks like a pretty nice airline although I would be a little dissappointed with no free alcoholic drink in economy on a transatlantic flight but otherwise looked pretty sweet. The pics you had of the approach into the US (IAH?) were pretty nice too, good weather and nice views of the suburbs (I also flew to Chicago with British Airways in a 777 a few months ago and was loving the views on a clear day on arrival into Chicago). And of course being able to fly on a 737-900ER must be something quite special. It looks like a seriously nice aircraft (over here I fly on the 800 with winglets all the time with Ryanair and that's pretty nice but a 900 must be even better).

Many thanks for the report. Looking forward to the continuation of your trip to the US (you have a great itinerary).

Many thanks,

Pierre.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Sabena332
Posted 2010-01-07 13:57:42 and read 25653 times.

Hi there!

Another interesting, well written report with great pictures! I enjoyed as usual!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Munich (MUC) - London (LHR) on British Airways
London (LHR) - Houston (IAH) on Continental
Houston (IAH) - Portland (PDX) on Continental
Portland (PDX) - Seattle (SEA) on United Express, operated by Skywest Airlines
Seattle (SEA) - San Jose (SJC) on Alaska Airlines
San Jose (SJC) - Los Angeles (LAX) on American Eagle
Los Angeles (LAX) - Atlanta (ATL) on Delta
Atlanta (ATL) - Houston (IAH) on Continental Express, operated by ExpressJet
Houston (IAH) - Newark (EWR) on Continental
Newark (EWR) - Frankfurt (FRA) on Continental
Frankfurt (FRA) - Munich (MUC) on Lufthansa

Wow, very nice routing!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Why doesn't that ever happen on ordinary trips without onward connections?

 checkmark 

250 USD are a lot of money, I wouldn't mind to wait a few hours longer after getting such a compensation.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights.

I am surprised, I really thought that you can consider yourself very lucky when you get a small bag of chips for free in US carriers' Economy Classes nowadays.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What I also found disappointing is the $5 charge for all alcoholic drinks at any time.

I agree. They should at least offer one alcoholic drink for free with the meal(s).

Conti looks really good (despite the 5 USD charge for booze).

I am looking forward to the following reports!

Patrick

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: MilesDependent
Posted 2010-01-07 18:39:59 and read 25509 times.

Hey, just wanted to say thanks for writing the report. I really enjoyed it. Tremendous photos. Was quite disappointed to get to the end, and look forward to reading about your onward flights.


MD

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Teo747
Posted 2010-01-07 19:48:31 and read 25464 times.

Wow, great report and a very impressive set of flights you found there! I fly Continental whenever possible, and have always had great experiences with them. A little surprised that they were only offering $250 compensation for taking a later LHR-IAH flight considering that I got $200 on Delta over Christmas for waiting an extra hour to fly the short hop from ATL-PNS. Looking forward to the remaining segments!

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: ThegreatRDU
Posted 2010-01-08 04:06:19 and read 25253 times.

Solid TR,
CO is definitely one of the premier US carriers and I always try to fly them.....
I have yet to still fly a Colgan Q400.....  ashamed 

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Econojetter
Posted 2010-01-08 10:16:59 and read 25143 times.

Very pleased to read another report from you, o' hunter of planes. The 739ER is on my hunting list; a major 739ER operator in this region is Lionair but they don't have a great reputation.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The cabin was equipped with new comfortable seats...

This must be at least the 3rd generation Y class seat on CO's 772s. The original seat made the legroom feel tight; the one I sat in in 2008 (looked different from these) seemed to come with improved legroom. These new ones look nice.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
...but legroom was significantly reduced by the large and wide IFE box.

That is just cruel... to have the box oriented in such a way that it cuts across the underseat space.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Three new aircraft, one new type, one new airline and two new airports for my flight logbook as well as 37 new registrations on a seamless trip - day one could be listed as a success.

Oh yes indeed.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: OA260
Posted 2010-01-08 15:25:05 and read 24975 times.

Great photos as usual, nice to see a insight into the new ''Star''.

Looking forward to flying CO now after that. They look pretty decent compared to their competitors.

How did they charge for the Direct TV? Cash?

Thanks again.

Philip

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739E
Username: BZNPilot
Posted 2010-01-09 06:47:51 and read 24742 times.

Hi PH,

This was a great read, thanks for posting. I'm hoping to get a 739 in my logbook at some point too. Seems like a nice ride, though too bad about CO's lack of a moving map feature.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
And not offering at least one free beer or wine with lunch or dinner is another weakness on a carrier often referred to as a quality airline.

Agreed. Especially on the transatlantic routes. I don't mind paying on domestic legs, but on the longhaul, it seems like a free beer or wine would be appropriate.

Thanks again, looking forward to your future reports.

BZNPilot

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: LYChemsa
Posted 2010-01-09 07:12:05 and read 24724 times.

I flew EWR to Geneva and back but have avoided CO in the past 2 years. It was always the same. A crummy unoriginal salad mostly lettuce and 1 tomato (better than Swiss who just give lettuce), an average dull tasting main dish and what I could not stand was the cookie for desert.

The return is always lunch at 10AM which to me is incomprehensible. I don't want lunch in the early morning. At least westbound instead of the measly cookie you got a small average tasting cake.

To be fair I like their snacks / sandwiches and croissant for breakfast is good.They also have a good frequent flyer program and generally I have always managed to get free seats in the summer by being flexible.This is not the case with DELTA which has the lousiest frequent flyer program.

I find the meals on AA a lot better and AA in the past year have improved their meals; a proper desert eastbound instead of a lousy cookie and cheese which I like as it fills me up with the bread.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Ronerone
Posted 2010-01-12 04:24:31 and read 24150 times.

Hi PH!

Thank you for yet another great TR, and a great start to a very interesting series.

I mist say, you really add the perfect spice to those US-Airline reports. Furthermore, you provide the perfect combination of rare aircraft types (many of which i dont even know are rare) with underdog US airlines.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In early September 2009 it was time to book another enthusiast trip

That's the spirit!

I am beginning to think that the majority of us here are getting a little too used to these enthusiast trips  Wink

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Munich (MUC) - London (LHR) on British Airways
London (LHR) - Houston (IAH) on Continental
Houston (IAH) - Portland (PDX) on Continental
Portland (PDX) - Seattle (SEA) on United Express, operated by Skywest Airlines
Seattle (SEA) - San Jose (SJC) on Alaska Airlines
San Jose (SJC) - Los Angeles (LAX) on American Eagle
Los Angeles (LAX) - Atlanta (ATL) on Delta
Atlanta (ATL) - Houston (IAH) on Continental Express, operated by ExpressJet
Houston (IAH) - Newark (EWR) on Continental
Newark (EWR) - Frankfurt (FRA) on Continental
Frankfurt (FRA) - Munich (MUC) on Lufthansa

That is one hell of an itinerary for 6 days!  Smile

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
When I arrived at Terminal 4 some 30 minutes later I tried my luck at a check-in kiosk, but I got an error message after entering my passport - names didn't match. I had added my middle name during reservation - not a good idea apparently.

I never seem to get it right at these self-service kiosks. But then again, i much prefer the old-fashioned way of checking in at the counter.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Boarding by seat numbers was started about 45 minutes prior to departure. The cabin was equipped with new comfortable seats...

I am not too much a fan of the seat colors on CO. They remind me of being on a bus.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
...and Continental's new AVOD IFE system with 9-inch screens:

Very nice!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
...but legroom was significantly reduced by the large and wide IFE box. At least there was enough space on the 777 to put the right foot between the seat frame and the wall:

Those IFE boxes are absolute torture!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
British Airways everywhere:

Very nice!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Continental's new AVOD (Audio Video On Demand) entertainment system offers a choice of more than 250 movies, 300 TV features, 3000 music tracks (playlist builder) and 25 interactive games. The menu is well structured and you find everything quite easy and quickly. Of course it can keep you entertained for a long time, but the system cannot match Emirates' ICE or similar systems in terms of quality and quantity.

That is quite comparable to ICE no?

Quite impressive!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The salad was fresh and tasted very good with the French dressing, but the main course was a big disappointment. I stayed away from the artificial-tasting red marinade and the overcooked green asparagus and only ate the chicken. The piece of cake was ok, but it was just too small. What I also found disappointing is the $5 charge for all alcoholic drinks at any time.

The salad was too large! They could have made it smaller and added something else!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
One hour prior to arrival another snack was served. I got a box and a hot sandwich:

I love these boxes! Souvenir-material  Smile

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The legroom was absolutely sufficient - the IFE box didn't pose a problem this time:

The legroom here seems more generous than on the 777.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Dinner
In contrast to many competitors, Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights. I was very surprised to see the flight attendants handing out hamburgers:

That is the one thing that makes CO stand out amongst its demostic rivals. I think this meal is sufficient by today's standards, and comes very close to KLM's or BA's regional offering! Well done on CO's part!


How about the cabin crew? What did they look like?  Smile And how was the service overall?


Thanks a lot for sharing PH! Looking forward to the next one.

Regards,
Roni

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Contact Air
Posted 2010-01-12 13:41:06 and read 24009 times.

Hi PH,

great report and fantastic pictures - nice to read another North America story from your side. Congratulations to your first B 737-900 - a type of aircraft that is really difficult to get in Europe.

It was good to hear that CO met your expectations - the meal on the domestic flight looks nice and sets them apart from many competitors.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
What I found very interesting before push-back was the welcome video by Continental's CEO Larry Kellner. In his short speech he talked about the "most professional co-workers in the business" and "one of the youngest fleets". Nice idea!

Interesting - I haven't seen this on any other airline.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The captain informed us that it would take longer than expected to get airborne due to the heavy traffic. So we had to taxi to a waiting position where we stayed about 20 minutes. Finally, 34 minutes after leaving the gate, it was our turn and we entered the runway.

Wow, I hadn't expected IAH to be that big. But then again, I have never been there.

Regards
Christoph

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Luftfahrer
Posted 2010-01-13 08:58:08 and read 23799 times.

Nice itinerary PlaneHunter. That's about roughly as much flying as I do in approximately two years... or in other words, can't wait to fly again.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Los Angeles (LAX) - Atlanta (ATL) on Delta

Boeing 777-200LR?  Wink

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I didn't find a button to switch the TV screen off.

Judging from the pictures, there doesn't seem to be one which is quite a nuisance. Other than that, live TV onboard must be pretty cool I imagine.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Next report: PDX-SEA-SJC-LAX on Skywest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Eagle

Looking forward to the continuation. The Pacific NW is a beautiful area I hope to visit some day.

Thank you for sharing.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Ohthedrama747
Posted 2010-01-13 14:00:35 and read 23673 times.

Excellent trip report.

I just had a CO trip and arrived home yesterday (EDI-EWR-EDI) and I must agree that the food was disappointing. I also agree that the hot sandwich was good, better than the meal in my opinion.

The AVOD is good, we had the systems on the 752 but it definitely needs looked at. Ours was reset 3 times during the flight with each time needing about 20 minutes for it to boot up - extremely frustrating.

On the whole I find Continental good, free booze would make it better however. I'm flying AA to LAX in August and it'll be nice to compare the US airlines.

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-01-30 06:29:33 and read 22788 times.



Quoting Airpearl (Reply 20):
Hey PH, thanks for this wonderful trip report. I always enjoy your TRs because they provide the ideal combination of story telling, facts, figures and details and relevant photos. And you're truly the "plane-hunter"; your complex itineraries I can usually only dream about

Hi Airpearl,
thanks so much for your kind words! As for the itinerary - there would have been room for two more flights, but you have to stop sometimes.  

Quoting Airpearl (Reply 20):
Fantastic. The seats look very good... much nicer than I remember CO last. Not a fan of the over-sized IFE box though.

When did you fly on CO? I had an old-style interior on the way home, so I can imagine what you mean.

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 21):
Excellent trip report - as always!

Thanks a lot, Gjunnar!

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 21):
I feel reminded a lot about my last trip on CO on the 777. I also liked their entertainment system (maybe a little more than you did) and disliked their exact same food (maybe a little more than you did, except the mustard

Interesting to hear you had similar experiences.

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 22):
Many thanks for the report.

Hi Pierre, good to hear you liked it.

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 22):
And of course being able to fly on a 737-900ER must be something quite special. It looks like a seriously nice aircraft (over here I fly on the 800 with winglets all the time with Ryanair and that's pretty nice but a 900 must be even better).

Yes, I really like the 739 - it looks very nice with its long fuselage and winglets.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 23):
Another interesting, well written report with great pictures! I enjoyed as usual!

Hi Patrick, many thanks for your feedback!

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 23):
250 USD are a lot of money, I wouldn't mind to wait a few hours longer after getting such a compensation.

Yes, wouldn't mind either - if I don't have to risk anything.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 24):
Hey, just wanted to say thanks for writing the report. I really enjoyed it. Tremendous photos. Was quite disappointed to get to the end, and look forward to reading about your onward flights.

Hi MilesDependent, thanks a lot! The next part is almost ready.

Quoting Teo747 (Reply 25):
Wow, great report and a very impressive set of flights you found there!

Many tanks, Tom!

Quoting Teo747 (Reply 25):
A little surprised that they were only offering $250 compensation for taking a later LHR-IAH flight considering that I got $200 on Delta over Christmas for waiting an extra hour to fly the short hop from ATL-PNS.

Wow, sounds like a great offer by Delta!

Quoting ThegreatRDU (Reply 26):
Solid TR,
CO is definitely one of the premier US carriers

No doubts about that!

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 27):
Very pleased to read another report from you, o' hunter of planes.

Hi Econojetter, thanks a lot for your nice reply!

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 27):
The 739ER is on my hunting list; a major 739ER operator in this region is Lionair but they don't have a great reputation.

Indeed, Lion Air is a major operator, but I'm not sure whether I would want to try that carrier.

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 27):
This must be at least the 3rd generation Y class seat on CO's 772s. The original seat made the legroom feel tight; the one I sat in in 2008 (looked different from these) seemed to come with improved legroom.

Interesting to hear.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 28):
Great photos as usual, nice to see a insight into the new ''Star''.

Thanks, Phil!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 28):
How did they charge for the Direct TV? Cash?

I'm quite sure that only credit card is accepted.

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
This was a great read, thanks for posting.

Hi BZNPilot, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
I'm hoping to get a 739 in my logbook at some point too.

Good luck!

Quoting LYChemsa (Reply 30):
I flew EWR to Geneva and back but have avoided CO in the past 2 years. It was always the same. A crummy unoriginal salad mostly lettuce and 1 tomato (better than Swiss who just give lettuce), an average dull tasting main dish and what I could not stand was the cookie for desert.

The return is always lunch at 10AM which to me is incomprehensible. I don't want lunch in the early morning. At least westbound instead of the measly cookie you got a small average tasting cake.

Interesting to read your point of view.

Quoting LYChemsa (Reply 30):
I find the meals on AA a lot better and AA in the past year have improved their meals; a proper desert eastbound instead of a lousy cookie and cheese which I like as it fills me up with the bread.

I haven't flown AA since 2002, but I remember the catering was very good, especially on the DFW-LGW leg.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 31):
Thank you for yet another great TR, and a great start to a very interesting series.

I mist say, you really add the perfect spice to those US-Airline reports. Furthermore, you provide the perfect combination of rare aircraft types (many of which i dont even know are rare) with underdog US airlines.

Hi Roni, thanks so much for your comments, your feedback is always highly appreciated!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 31):
I never seem to get it right at these self-service kiosks. But then again, i much prefer the old-fashioned way of checking in at the counter.

Well, it depends on the staff behind the counters. Sometimes it's not easy to get the seat of choice.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 31):
That is quite comparable to ICE no?

No, ICE simply offers much more options. And you can find much more movies in different languages.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 31):
How about the cabin crew? What did they look like? Smile And how was the service overall?

They were all very friendly - and most of them were middle-aged and average looking women. The service was good in general, though not outstanding as on certain Asian carriers.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 32):
great report and fantastic pictures - nice to read another North America story from your side.

Hi Christoph, thanks for your reply!

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 32):
Wow, I hadn't expected IAH to be that big. But then again, I have never been there.

IAH is huge, but it can get boring sometimes (too many ERJs and 737s)...

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 33):
Nice itinerary PlaneHunter. That's about roughly as much flying as I do in approximately two years... or in other words, can't wait to fly again.

Thanks, Luftfahrer!

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 33):
Boeing 777-200LR?

No comment...  

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 33):
Looking forward to the continuation. The Pacific NW is a beautiful area I hope to visit some day.

Part 2 with many pictures from that area will be online soon!

Quoting Ohthedrama747 (Reply 34):
Excellent trip report.

Many thanks, Graham!

Quoting Ohthedrama747 (Reply 34):
I just had a CO trip and arrived home yesterday (EDI-EWR-EDI) and I must agree that the food was disappointing. I also agree that the hot sandwich was good, better than the meal in my opinion.

Interesting to hear about your recent CO experience.

Quoting Ohthedrama747 (Reply 34):
The AVOD is good, we had the systems on the 752 but it definitely needs looked at. Ours was reset 3 times during the flight with each time needing about 20 minutes for it to boot up - extremely frustrating.

Wow, that doesn't sound good.

Quoting Ohthedrama747 (Reply 34):
I'm flying AA to LAX in August and it'll be nice to compare the US airlines.

Alright, don't forget to write a report!  


PH

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Shaq
Posted 2010-01-30 12:26:57 and read 22610 times.

Hi Planehunter !
I really like your TR.
By the time you fly this trip , CO was in Star Alliance huh?

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: Reifel
Posted 2010-01-30 13:36:57 and read 22547 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I was asked whether I would be interested in taking a later flight and being compensated with USD 250, but I had to decline. No more pieces of information about alternative flight options were available and I did not want to risk missing my flights on the next day. Why doesn't that ever happen on ordinary trips without onward connections? embarrassed

I know that this also happens on DL sometimes when you do online-check in. You then can volunteer for rebooking and compensation. They will let you check in anyway just in case the flight does not turn out overbooked.

By the way, I really like CO's website. When you look at your bookings the day of your flight you can see registration of the aircraft, food which is served, and even the waiting list! Never saw this for any airline before.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In contrast to many competitors, Continental still serves free (cold and hot) meals on longer domestic flights. I was very surprised to see the flight attendants handing out hamburgers

Nice meal for a US domestic flight.


Thanks for sharing!

Topic: RE: The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-02-02 11:56:46 and read 21989 times.



Quoting Shaq (Reply 36):
Hi Planehunter !
I really like your TR.

Thanks, Shaq!

Quoting Shaq (Reply 36):
By the time you fly this trip , CO was in Star Alliance huh?

No, not yet. I still got FlyingBlue miles.

Quoting Reifel (Reply 37):
By the way, I really like CO's website. When you look at your bookings the day of your flight you can see registration of the aircraft, food which is served, and even the waiting list! Never saw this for any airline before.

Thanks, I didn't know that.


PH


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