AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6116 posts, RR: 10 Posted (12 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8758 times:
This past week, I took Continental for the first time. Also, this was my first trip involving the newest generation of the 737. Fortunately, I flew on all three versions of the NG (all three you can find in the States, anyhow). This trip included 737-724, -824, -924, and MD-82.
Keep in mind, some of these thoughts were written kinda randomly.
Continental flight 414
August 9, 2002
N33209, Delivered Aug-31-00
DFW Terminal B Gate 19 departure, IAH Terminal C Gate 35 Arrival
My girlfriend and I arrived at Dallas/ Fort Worth airport about two hours prior to departure. We checked in at the eticket check in kiosk outside of security, with the aid of an older gentleman who was very helpful. We checked her bag and proceeded through security. As always, she made it through just fine. I, on the other hand, did not. I neglected to give my cell phone to the hungry Xray machine, and so the metal detector went off as I walked through. So I had to be “hand-checked” with the smaller handheld metal detector. It went ballistic over my belt buckle. It made similar protests at the sight of my metal shoelace eyelets. Shoes had to go through the Xray machine. Belt had to come off. Other than that, no trouble. Once inside, we took a short walk around the terminals, as the Starbucks in terminal B had a broken Coffee machine. We went to Frulatti in terminal C, and hurried back to our gate. Once there, we realized that just a few months ago Gate B19 at DFW belonged to USAir, not Conti. This is probably due to TWA moving its gates immediately adjacent to AA’s gates in the B terminal. We stood around for only a few minutes until they called boarding. As we were in row 19, and Conti still boards by rows, we were in the second or third group called. We walked down the Jetway to our 737-800 and waited while the passengers in front found their seats, et cetera. I took 19B, and my girlfriend 19A. The 737 was clean inside, and attractive to look at. This was my first flight on the Next Generation 737. The seats Continental has chosen are comfortable, however the winged headrest is nearly as firm as a two- by- four. For you Europeans, here in the States the term “two- by- four” is a generic phrase that refers to a piece of lumber, two inches by four inches. NOT comfortable. But the chair itself was nice- back didn’t get sore. I really liked the new sculpted ceiling panels and overheads, and this Continental example has been kept clean. The engines were started, and much to my pleasure, I found them slightly quieter than those on the previous generation 737s. Flaps went out, and as we were immediately behind the wing, I could see all of that going on. The safety demo was given over the flip down LCD screens. We took off briskly. The flight to Houston was about 50 minutes in duration. The screens came back down shortly after takeoff to display the GPS linked map. I was really surprised to see all the information that CO gives on the map; groundspeed in MPH, altitude, MACH speed, rate of descent/climb, time to destination… all of these were given at the top of the screen. Drink service, with peanuts, was given. We touched down in Houston- IAH- ontime. Deplaning was about typical- let’s all rush to climb over each other and hit one another with our carry-on bags falling from the heavens ONLY to stand in the aisle and wait for ten minutes while first class pax leisurely disembark.
Once in the Intercontinental/ Bush airport, I used the restroom. It was nasty. The place was dirty, and badly in need of renovation. The airport itself is not impressive. The food issue has been inadequately addressed. That is, the number and location of restaurants is sub par, as is the variety of food types. There’s some sort of bar/grill in each wing of the terminals. Other than that, you’ve got popcorn stands, which smell HORRIBLE and are responsible for several fire alarms. While we were in the bar/grill, the fire alarm sounded twice as the woman making popcorn frowned. The clam chowder served in the bar was decent, and quite cheap.
Continental Flight 1206
August 9, 2002
N37408, Delivered Oct-04-01
IAH Terminal C gate 36 departure
On the above picture, NOTE the window between two blank spaces. I highly recommend this row, as it offers a great view of the engine/ reversers in operation. It's 12A. Perfect.
This was a pleasant flight. I really enjoy the 737-900. I was certainly pleased when I booked the tickets to see this flight was on a 739, and this swayed my buying decision sharply. We boarded to find this aircraft just as clean as the last. Before departure, I made use of the mid-cabin lavatory. I really like vacuum lavs. The lav was clean and well designed, though the plastic piece that holds hand towels in place fell onto the floor as I took towels. “Oh, behave,” I exclaimed as I replaced it, hoping the next passenger would not be subjected to this rash display of anger. I took my seat, 12A, to find myself in the perfect place. If you look at the port side of the 739, you will see places that don’t have windows. I was the first coach row to have a window, and I could see the thrust-reverser PERFECTLY- JUST what I had hoped for. The screens gave the same safety demo, and then retracted neatly into their modern concealment. The screens came back down just as on the earlier flight after takeoff to display the map. Engines started, slats were deployed, and we taxied to the runway and made a smooth roll into the sky. Weather was brilliant for our flight. My only disappointment on this flight was that we had just a drink service, and the flight was nearly two hours. But the plane was clean and comfortable, and the flight attendants friendly. We landed in Tampa on time. The landing was smooth. I certainly watched the reverser in action.
Upon arriving at the bag claim, we were notified that her luggage was lost in Houston, but would be delivered to our address when the next plane came in. It got to our house at about 10PM that night.
Continental Flight 1707
August 13, 2002
N14831, Delivered May-05-87
Arriving IAH terminal C gate 30.
We got to Tampa int’l about two hours early and used the electronic check in thing again. Security in Tampa is now under federal control. I had much more difficulty getting through this time. My shoes gave the agent great difficulty, though he was generally concerned about the security AND also friendly. He waved his wand over my shoes, and couldn’t get it to behave, so he asked me to give them to him. He ran them through the Xray. The metal detector also went off around my ankles, which caused problems. I think it was set too sensitive. The only metal near my ankles is the Magnesium deposits in my bones! But he patted around my ankles and legs, and discovered quickly that I was not carrying a gun or knife or anything. I joked that I could take off my socks if he wanted, but that he might regret it, as I left my odor-eaters at home. Hehe. My belt buckle also gave trouble. I undid my belt as instructed, and held it out of the way. The detector continued to sound its alarm, however, much to both of our dismay. He pointed out that it might be the button on my jeans. At this time I was thinking, “you know, I am going to have to have a strip search done because of all this danged metal.” He warned me before he pushed on my pants to see if anything was in there. Fortunately, nothing was in there… nothing that didn’t belong, anyhow. So he passed the wand over my pants again, and it still went off. So now he asked me to turn the top of the jeans down, exposing the back side of the button. Of course, no security threat was found. I have learned my lesson- don’t wear those shoes, that belt, and those jeans on a plane. By the time we got to our gate, they were already boarding our MD-80. I really like MD-80s. This one had relatively new interior walls that matched those on the 737NGs we had been on. Seats were different from those on the 737NG. The headrest was much softer, but the seat had a terrible lump in the lumbar area that made both or our backs hurt after just an hour. It was impossible to get comfortable in those seats. We were in row 25, seats A and C. Fortunately, we could see the flaps in action. We encountered a little bit of turbulence and also rain during the flight. While at the gates, they played music over the speakers, as they had done on both of the previous flights. Again, only a drink service to Houston. This flight was a bit late. There were thunderstorms in Tampa, and the ground crews had come in out of the lightning for safety. This delayed the loading of baggage. We were about 20-25 minutes late. As we only had 1 hour ten minutes connection time, this pushed us back to only having about 40 minutes. Continental board very early, in the case of this flight, they started boarding about the time we arrived from Tampa. She had to use the restroom- which she says was disgusting. Then we inquired of the agent handling our inbound flight as to what gate the Dallas flight was leaving from. She said “C37- go all the way down this hall and make a right at your first opportunity.” She was very helpful.
This was my least favorite of all the flights. First, when we were done using the restrooms in the terminal, we made a mad dash, only to find they were already boarding. Oddly, they were boarding ALL rows of the 73G. So we got on- I took the window, she the middle. We had row 10, which is good in a CO 73G, but I would probably recommend row 9 for a good view of the engine. This plane was not as clean. The seats and floors were clean, but the overheads were stained brown with what looked like coffee. The plane also made noises. Flaps ground, landing gear clunked. We taxied out, only to find IAH is a busy place at 5:30 pm. We saw a SpeedBird 747-400 in Bennyhone tartan colors with sleek Rolls Royce engines take off. We lined up and felt the engines roar up. Two times I felt as though the plane were skidding sideways on the runway, but could not verify that feeling by looking out the window. Perhaps it was wind. But the second time I felt that, I was more concerned. But we lifted off safely. Gear whined upward. Unfortunately, the screens never came down, and no map was shown. Drink service was again given. An unusual thing happened with my drink service. I asked for, and was given, a Coca-Cola. She handed me a cup full of ice, and the can. I poured the drink, and drank some. Later, I drank some more. Then I looked at the can. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that EVERYTHING WRITTEN ON THE CAN WAS WRITTEN IN ARABIC. I mean, the coke logo was standard, but everything else looked Arabic. I was NOT happy. All of a sudden, I was imagining some terrorist weirdo running a coke bottling plant of his own and including anthrax in the ingredient list. And I was the unlucky American he targeted. I decided not to say anything. I thought that if I said anything, I might appear to be the security risk. Looking back, I should have said something. I should have asked a flight attendant what the hell an Arabic Coke was doing on our airplane from Tampa. There was a large ring of terrorists in an apartment in Florida, if you all remember. Running some sort of planning operation, they were. BUT- that flight was about 40 hours ago, and I am still breathing. Surely I am okay. We landed at DFW on time. Baggage took only a little while to start going, and fortunately, her bag made the short connection transfer in Houston and successfully made it to Dallas with us.
AIRCRAFT: I really like the 737NG. I have experience now on all three generations, as well as the competing Airbus products. I have to say, I think I prefer the 737NG to the A320 that United flies. The A320 is a great plane, no doubt. But the 737 has a nicer interior, in terms of sculpted panels, et cetera. It was a quiet plane, whose engines have lost the traditional GE roar/buzzsaw sounds. The MD-80 is also a personal favorite. I love the plane itself, it's old-tech simplicity, the sound of the pratt engines. The lavs on the MD-80 showed their age. The first three planes were very clean, far cleaner than most of my AA experiences. The 737-700 was reasonably clean.
AIRPORTS: DFW is my home airport, I won't comment much except that the CO area is quite nice and that terminal B is FAR nicer than any of the other three terminals. Houston IAH is nothing to write home about. It's okay. She and I walked through the new D area, and it's much more pleasant. But the restrooms are dirty and old, with leaky faucets. The terminal shows its age. The number and quality of restaurants is seriously lacking. TAMPA however, is terriffic. I really like the airport. It's very modern in the terminal area (red terminal, I should point out, rather than blue). Restrooms are modern and clean. The restaurants are nice- they had TGIFridays, among other things. Also, there is a hotel connected to the terminal, and I hear it's really nice.
CONTINENTAL: I would say that, overall, I like this airline. My girlfriend and I deliberately chose Conti over American because we have recently had REALLY FRUSTRATING experiences with American. They screwed me out of 30,000 AAdvantage miles and out of my first class seat (another story) and they ripped her family off. To compare the two.. here goes. Continental's planes were cleaner. They were nicer than the equipment AA offered. I wish they had offered at least a snack between Houston and Tampa, but I guess I can't expect that in the post 9-11 environment. The only real problem on this trip was the lost luggage that somehow missed a 3.5 hour layover. Explain that one. The flight attendants were nice; the purser on our last flight explained our delay in borading, as many people- including us- were late connecting. I was dissappointed in the level of communication from the cockpit. We weren't told much. The flight TPA-IAH was the exception, the captain told us what we would be flying over, and announced our cruise altitude. The other three flights however, received only "flight attendants please be seated for departure." Planes were kept up well. And, in sharp contrast to my recent AA experiences, the aircraft lavatories actually had SOAP, HAND TOWELS and TOILET TISSUE. Woohoo! Yes- my recent flight DFW-HNL on AA was missing all three of these in the aft lavatories.
Overall, I would rate the trip a 7/10. No food- for whatever reason- uncomfortable headrests, dirty restrooms in IAH, and lost luggage are responsible for the three point subtraction.
I will certainly fly Continental again, IF it is convenient and reasonably priced. I had a slightly better experience than these on United, however that was BEFORE 9-11 and the subsequent cutbacks. And, I like a 737-800 over an A320 now that I have flown on both.
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1743 posts, RR: 37
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8611 times:
I just completed 4 flights with CO and got food on all of them. MCO-EWR-LAS-IAH-MCO, and yes, trip report is on its way. I agree I have been dissapointed with IAH, flown through 3 times in the last 4 months. I agree TPA is a great airport and had the pleasure of flying CO/NW in May out of there. It is a great terminal. You can compare your flights with mine when it is posted, I'm just waiting for my other trip report to die down.
Regarding the Coke can, I would have asked just out of curiosity. Are you sure it was Arabic? I am asking because I just spent 3 months in Kuwait and have noticed that there are quiet a few languages that are similar to Arabic. Agreed, strange to be on a US dosmestic flight though!
I agree that the 737NG is a great plane. Though I have to say I prefer the 320.Not based on UA though, I know they do not keep them in the best condition. Flying the European airlines A320's are fantastic! The seats are good on the 737's believe me, I sat on the old domestic seats on a 752 last week, they are horrible in lumber support and are very thin and soft.
Sorry forgot to tell you that when I used the bathroom in front of C44, it had automatic faucets. I know they didn't when we were there in May, but they did this time.
ScottysAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8553 times:
Very nice trip report as for yourself flight onboard of the new B737-900. I actually that I was flew on the new airplane with the B737-900 on flight from FLL-IAH-PHX with reg. number N79402 and N33266 and N30401 and N937MC. That is great flight onboard of new 737NG.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6116 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8462 times:
sorry for the incongruity! The coke can in question was actually on the TPA-IAH leg, and indeed it must then have come from Tampa. Not originally, but at least some part of that day it was in Tampa.
I am quite the linguist- but only for Romance languages. I know nothing about written languages from that part of the world. It looked familiar, like something I have seen before, but it could have been anything. It was NOT Farsi. It was NOT Hebrew. Those are the only two I would recognize.
SURELY we should have been served something? I mean, coke and peanuts is fine, and I understand airlines are hurting. And I knew shortly after I paid for the tickets that there was no scheduled service. But two hours...
I have also flown an A319 on USAirways, and while I certainly like the A320 family, I like the 73G/8/9 a bit better. I, in sharp contrast to SR103, thought the new 737 was quieter than the Airbus. Not anything earth-shattering, of course. They're both quiet planes. I also like Boeing's sculpetd ceiling better than Airbus's. Of course, Airbus was the first to have an attractive ceiling, in my opinion.
Scotty- wow, you got to fly the FIRST Conti 737-900. I really liked the plane, and it gave me some good feeling to know that I was flying on a plane far more environmentally friendly than the 727s being replaced. Of course, Conti hasn't flown 72s in awhile, but you know what I mean. I also thought the 737-900 was the smoothest of the 737s we flew on.
Phxflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7430 times:
Imagine my dismay when I discovered that EVERYTHING WRITTEN ON THE CAN WAS WRITTEN IN ARABIC. I mean, the coke logo was standard, but everything else looked Arabic. I was NOT happy. All of a sudden, I was imagining some terrorist weirdo running a coke bottling plant of his own and including anthrax in the ingredient list. And I was the unlucky American he targeted. I decided not to say anything. I thought that if I said anything, I might appear to be the security risk. Looking back, I should have said something.
I certainly don't mean to point fingers or accuse anyone of being small-minded, but these statements seem very racist and prejudicial to me. While I'm sure this wasn't your intention, I'd request that you just be careful when making these sorts of over-generalized statements in future reports. Not everything related to the Arabic culture is terrorist-related, and this is actually quite a miniscule portion of the culture. Otherwise, a great report. I've never been on a CO flight that shows the GPS map...
Jeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1349 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7233 times:
Quoting CMK10 (Reply 1): Then I looked at the can. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that EVERYTHING WRITTEN ON THE CAN WAS WRITTEN IN ARABIC. I mean, the coke logo was standard, but everything else looked Arabic. I was NOT happy. All of a sudden, I was imagining some terrorist weirdo running a coke bottling plant of his own and including anthrax in the ingredient list. And I was the unlucky American he targeted. I decided not to say anything
I hope people have become more understanding these days that not every Muslim is a terrorist, and not every terrorist is a Muslim.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6116 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6551 times:
Well, here I am, seven years later, wondering why on earth my FIRST EVER trip on CO is back on the front page.
I thought these things were locked out after a year??!!?!!
Quoting Phxflyer (Reply 9): I certainly don't mean to point fingers or accuse anyone of being small-minded, but these statements seem very racist and prejudicial to me. While I'm sure this wasn't your intention, I'd request that you just be careful when making these sorts of over-generalized statements in future reports. Not everything related to the Arabic culture is terrorist-related, and this is actually quite a miniscule portion of the culture. Otherwise, a great report. I've never been on a CO flight that shows the GPS map...
Do you mean to tell me that you simply sit at your computer and dig up seven year old topics in order to peruse them for things which might offend you?
Thank you for complimenting my report in the end, but overall, your comment is out of place. Please consider the timeline here- this post was written less than a year after 9-11, and I think deserves some understanding in that regard.
Quoting Phxflyer (Reply 9): Not everything related to the Arabic culture is terrorist-related,
Really? I had no idea. Perhaps I should run that statement by some of my Islamic friends and see if they agree.