My family and I bought the tickets way back in December of 2003, for our yearly trip to Florida, this time to Orlando. It was my first time in Orlando for vacation since 2001, so I was very excited. To add to the excitement, I hadn't flown since September 2003.
I awoke at the ungodly hour of 03:00 for my 06:30AM flight. I went downstairs, took a shower, woke everyone else up, and then loaded the car with our luggage. We then drove the 20 minute drive from my little town of Fayetteville to Syracuse's Hancock International Airport.
Continental Express Flight 2441
Gate: Dep- 21; Arr- 19B
Depart: (S)- 06:30; (A)- 06:42
Arrive: (S)- 08:00; (A)- 07:49
We dragged our numerous pieces of luggage into the terminal, and found the COex check-in, and the kind agent took our e-ticket and checked our luggage, and we were off to the concourse.
We arrived to Gate 21, I think it was (I have since thrown away my boarding passes, but remember the Gates quite well). As I sat down and put on my headphones in the gate area, who else did I see on my vacation, but a teacher from school . Crazy.
As 6:00 came and went, there were absolutely no CO/COex employees, and obviously no announcement was made. This was the first time in over 5 years that I haven't boarded on-time with CO. But, as 6:10 approached, so did the employees. At 20 past 6, they started the boarding process, and everybody was on in a matter of 5 minutes. Ahh, the beauty of RJs.
I settled into my seat on the left side of this ERJ. The seats in the RJs are very comfortable- leather, with loads of cushioning. The cabin door was shut, and we pushed back as the engines were started. I love the noise the ERJ makes when it starts up after sitting overnight. We taxiied over to the de-icing pad for a quick bath, then taxiied over to the threshold of runway 15-33. We then turned onto the runway, and up we were off. I love the feeling of being slammed into the back of your seat .
A quick beverage service, with CO's lovely muffins, which are a tad dry, but it's better than no food on a 40-minute flight. And before I knew it, we were descending from FL220, as the captain announced. A nice bumpy landing into CLE, and then taxiied for a few minutes to Gate 19B (?). For the first time ever, I deplaned using airstairs. Ahh, the smell of jet A in the morning. Ran up and through the gate, and into the new D concourse at Hopkins. It's a beautiful terminal, it just didn't have many people in it, at 8:00 in the morning.
Continental Airlines Flight 1071
CLE-CO / KMCO), USA - Florida">MCO
Gate: Dep- C23; Arr- 5
Depart: (S)- 09:05; (A)- 09:02
Arrive: (S)- 11:30; (A)- 11:16
As we progressed through the D concourse, and took the underground passageway to the C concourse, my mom decided she needed to go and have a smoke. I told her to take my little sister and go ahead, but we didn't have much time. She turned right to go outside with my sister, while my brother and I went to Gate C23, to put our carry-ons at the gate. We then went to Burger King and paid double the price for a Croissan'wich. But, we were hungry, so it's all good.
We went back to the gate, and sat in our seats, and watched the movements outside. Tons and tons of RJs, but I love 'em.
We awaited boarding time, and then at 08:30, the gate agent announced boarding. But my mom and sister were nowhere to be found. We boarded without them, and I settled into my right-side window seat, behind the wing. My brother was in 24F, a row in front of me. After a few minutes, my mom and sister boarded and sat in 24D and 24E. On this full flight, I got the luck of the draw. After arguing for my beloved window seat with my mom, I said I'd sit next to a stranger just so I could get a window seat. And just my luck, this supposed stranger was a no-show. So the guy in 25D decided to take his laptop and all his business things and place them on top of my backpack in the middle seat. Thanks, buddy .
We pushed back early, with the people in the row behind me being the last to board. It was a man, his brother, and his daughter. The man sat behind me, the apparent brother in 26D, and the girl in 26E, middle seat. Thank god. No kicking... or so I thought. They talked very loud, so that's how I figured their relation to eachother. The little girl, probably 8 or 9, same age as my little sister, hadn't flown before, and kept asking all of those age-old questions, like: "What happens if the pilots fall asleep, Dad?", and so on.
We taxiied to the runway, and as we went over a bump in the tarmac, the little girl behind me decided she wanted the window so she could see what it was- her father offered her the seat after she said, "What was that?" So the father and her traded seats, slamming mine with what I assume to be his knees and then the little girl with her feet. I figured he'd tell her to stop, but that wasn't the case. This is a scenario where the phrase "From takeoff to touch down" is applicable.
We taxiied to the runway, and we were second in line for takeoff, after a USAirways Express Canadair RJ. They look nice in US' livery. On the runway we rolled, and as luck has it, another rolling takeoff! I never had experienced a rolling take off in my life, but two in one day!
We were off, and turned a sharp 180' to the left, and then it was 2 hours of nothing but beverage services. I was offered a muffin, and there was 3 full beverage services, on a 2 hour flight! In comparison to US Airways, the inflight service at CO is top-notch. The flight attendants smile, they're attentive, and don't give you attitude. I overheard one of the F/A's saying to another that it was a terrible day for her, and that same F/A served us with a smile, still. On US, the F/A's are cold and distant, and give you an attitude that would make a Burger King employee look good. The screens flipped down for what I understand is the in-flight entertainment. I don't really care for TVs on a 2-hour flight, so I didn't bother to watch Continental Visions. There was never a flight map shown, which I thought was odd, but what can you do?
We started our descent into Orlando with about 20 minutes to go until touchdown. With lots of sudden drops and shakes, more than the usual turbulence, I had a feeling the landing we be eventful. As we turned various right turns, the captain was most definitely fighting the winds as we descended, and onto the glidescope. Lots of S-turns, so I figured that we were too high at the time. As we got closer, it became apparent that we were way too low, and the captain gassed it and pulled back, periodically. As we passed over the 417, I could see the people's faces in the cars below. Way too low. We were almost on the ground, as the nose pitched up. I figured, a go around, my first! But we just stayed at the same height for a few seconds, and then we were on the ground with a bounce then a slam.
As we deplaned, we felt a rush of cold air after walking onto the jetway. Beautiful . You really come to expect that when you deplane anywhere in Florida, you get a rush of warm air. Not the case. It was 55'. This was going to be a great week .
We went to the baggage claim, where it was an absolute mess. Two flights, ours from Cleveland, and one from Houston, on the same baggage carousel. We waited about 10 minutes, and we had our luggage. My Dad was coming around the bend as we walked out of the baggage claim. Perfect timing.
*A return trip will follow shortly, exact routing, but in reverse. Hope you like my first ever trip report !
Edit: Gate Information
[Edited 2004-03-14 19:56:21]