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2260mi To See FC Barcelona. CO Caracas-Houston-MTY  
User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6898 times:

Hey guys, this is my trip report of my recent trip to Houston to watch FC Barcelona play Mexico City's America in a friendly match held at Reliant Stadium on Aug 9th. Since May, I knew I was going to spend summer vacations with my family in Monterrey, what I didn't know was that Barcelona was going to do a USA-Mexico tour in August. After checking the tour dates, I saw that they were playing in Monterrey on Aug 3rd. I tried to get the tickets online but they all sold out in less than 1 hour! Thankfully, Barca was also playing in Houston 6 days later. Since my flight with CO makes a stop in IAH, I decided to stay 3 days in Houston to watch the game and spend time with Venezuelan friends who are exiled in Houston.

Continental Airlines #1667
CCS-IAH
Boeing B737-800 (N73270)
Departure Time: 12:30 PM (3.5 hours late)
Arrival time: 04:00 PM (3.5 hours late)
Load: 100% in both C and Y

At 4 AM my alarm clocks wakes me up, reminding me that I have a 9AM flight to catch in CCS. Since it was match day, I took a shower and then put on my FC Barcelona Jersey with Lionel Messi's name and number in the back. The cab arrived at my house at 4:55 and we left to the airport at 5:00. We got to the beggining of the highway that leads to the airport at 5:20 and we decided to take the highway with the 2-lane bypass road "Trocha" ( A highway bridge collapsed in January) instead of the old road thru the mountains. To our surprise, there was a traffic jam to enter the trocha despite being so early in the morning. It took us 20 minutes to cross the trocha and by 5:50 we were unloading our bags in front of the International terminal.

We got to the counter and there was a line of aprox 45 people in front of CO's counters. We used our CO elite status and queued in the business class lane which only had 2 people in front of us.

http://i7.tinypic.com/24mrw1t.jpg

You can see that this is the Skyteam area with AZ, DL, AF, CO and CM next to each other.

http://i7.tinypic.com/24mrwra.jpg

At 6:05 they started to check people in and by 6:15 we were handing our passports and tickets to the agent. We asked him if he could put the four of us together and he replied: "The flight is full, I hope that your travel agent did it when he booked you" as the boarding passes were already coming out of the printer. He never even bothered to try. The Business cabin was full so sadly, no upgrade today.

By 6:30 we were clearing security and then directly to an available emigration officer which stamped our passports. We then visited one of the two new Food Courts and this one had a Budare or Arepera which is a place where they sell Arepas & Cachapas (typical venezuelan food). I had a Guayanes Cheese Cachapa and half Mano Cheese Arepa. It was delicious. This restaurant is gonna have great success, especially because most Venezuelan people wanna enjoy their last Arepa or Cachapa before leaving Venezuela.

http://i8.tinypic.com/24mrx9d.jpg

After buying some Rum and Venezuelan chocolates for my Houston friends, I went spotting around the terminal. I managed to see our 738 while being towed to the gate. To my surprise it had winglets  Smile

http://i7.tinypic.com/24mrza1.jpg

Here is AA's A300 to MIA while some luggage is inspected by a National Guard officer:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05496.jpg

Delta's 738 to ATL:



At 08:20 they called Business and Skyteam Elite pax to start boarding. It was a long line.. there were many elites I guess. The lady in front of me was holding an Alitalia Platinium Elite Card. When I got to my seat, I found out that it was the row in front of the exit row, so my seat didn't recline and wasn't comfy.

More pax started to walk down the aisle looking for their seats and one guy standing in the aisle next to me saw me wearing a Barcelona Jersey and asked: "Pana, vas para el juego?" =" Dude, are you going to the game?" I said: "De bolas!" = "Of course". He then said: "Si va, nos vemos alla" = "Cool, see ya there".

Here are some pics of Venezuelan traffic, an Aserca DC9-32 and the Conviasa turboprop fleet (ATR42 and Dash7):

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05503.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05504.jpg

After everyone was in their seats the captain announced that we would be at least one hour late because he had detected low levels of oxygen in the plane's tanks and that they had to purchase oxygen and refill the tanks. Well, here I was in my middle seat with no recline hoping that it wouldn't take more than one hour. To my disgrace, at 10:00 am, the captain announced that Houston Maintenance hadn't sent the paperwork to buy the oxygen. Then at 10:30 he said that mecanics had filled our oxygen tanks and that they were waiting for Houston to give us the go-ahead. By this time, a Rutaca 737-200 that was on our left in the Domestic terminal when we were boarding was returning to its gate after flying to PMV and then back to CCS.

Now it was 11:30am (2.5 hours late) when the Captain said: "Folks, I have no clue of why they are taking so long in Houston to send us the needed paperwork, it's getting hot in here, I know, I feel it also, I wanna get to Houston as much as you guys want too" By that time, FA's started to distribute drinks to our sweaty souls. Near noon, CCS's intl. terminal is very empty because US flights have already departed and European arrivals haven't gotten there yet. We only had an Aeropostal MD80 (YV 132T) on our right and that was it.

Finally at 12:15 we pushed back from the gate at the same time as the Aeropostal MD80 on our right. We taxied behing the MD80 and an Avior 732 to runway 10. While taxing parallel to the intl. terminal, I could see 3 Aeropostal planes parked at the gates (1 D95 and 2 MD80s). It looked like if CCS's intl. terminal was Aeropostal's turf.

After a B1900D landed and the MD80 and 732 took off, it was our turn to take the skies.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05510.jpg

At 12:30 we were airborne and made a tight left turn as all US bound planes do.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05511.jpg

Breakfast service began over Aruba and it was delicious. It consisted of a french bread filled with melted cheese, ham and scrambled eggs. A yogurt and fruits were the sides for this sandwich.

I had an apple juice and then tried to get some sleep. The lack of recline didn't help and I struggled to fall asleep and could only stay half-awake, half-asleep. The movie was Ice Age II, which I had already seen. After the first move ended, they showed Dr. Doolite III which didn't grab my attention and I preffered my video iPOD where I watched two "Lost" episodes from the 2nd season.

A second round of beverages was served about 1.5 hours before landing. At this time the lead FA which was a male and looked very gay was complaining with the other FA that this was his "6th service of the flight". Yeah right how hard is it to distribute drinks to 150 pax... try sitting in a non-recline middle seat in a full flight for 6.5 hours.

30 minutes before landing I started to see oil rigs in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Inmmediately the Bay of Galveston came into sight. It was a clear day over the Houston area. We approached IAH from the east and then made a left turn to intercept the ILS for runway 27. We flew low over Lake Houston and then touched down softly in rwy 27. We exited to the right and I could see a very heavy KLM 744 take off and made a right turn towards the north. ATC made us hold just outside the runway for about 10 minutes and then we taxied behind another CO 738 towards terminal E. I saw four CO 777, two at the gates and two taxiing. There were CO planes everywhere, no wonder why IAH is called InterCONTINENTAL.



http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05518.jpg

We parked in gate E8 and took a long walk towards Inmigration and Customs facilities. We made it to the queue just before the 300+ pax from LGW so it was a rather short queue compared to what they had to go through.

After clearing customs and inmigration we took Rental Cars bus which took us to the new Rental Car facility just outside the terminal. We rented a minivan and hit the road only to be welcomed to Houston with a nice traffic jam on Sam Houston's Beltway. That's when I regretted not using Hardy's Road Tollway.

We made to our hotel in the northern suburbs of Houston where my friends joined us to go to the Barcelona game. It was 7pm and thankfully there was another friendly match right before the Barcelona one. We drove towards downtown using the Hardy Tollway and then US-280 towards Reliant Stadium.



When we got there, we saw huge lines of traffic on the exits near the Stadium. We managed to use an exit far from the stadium and then made a U-turn and joined a line near the entrance to the parking lot.

After a long walk from our parking spot to the stadium, we got to our seats on the 89th minute of the first friendly match. Just in time to watch Barcelona!



http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05527.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05542.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05561.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05565.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/luisde8cd/Houston06/lowDSC05564.jpg


The game was great with 8 goals. Barcelona played with all of its stars except Puyol. The newly bought Zambrotta and Thuram were seen warming up but they never saw action. It was great to see those stars live without a TV screen. The game ended 4-4. The stadium announcer said that it was a record attendance for a soccer game in Texas (70,500 people!).

Continental Express #2655
IAH-MTY
Embraer 145
Departure Time: 08:00 PM (15 min late)
Arrival time: 09:30 PM (15 min late)
Load: 99%


Well that's it for my trip to Houston. The flight to MTY was in a E145. It was my first time in a Regional Jet and it was very comfy. Better than the B738 I flew from CCS. The flight was completely full except for one empty seat which was the one next to me  Smile.

There was only one flight attendant and she only spoke english. She started the snack service right after take off, we were overflying Houston Hobby Airport when I got my sandwich.

We landed in MTY 15 minutes late and my bags didn't make it because I got on that flight as a standby. I wanted to get earlier to MTY because my flight was at 9pm. Thanfully the bags made it in the 9pm flight and were delivered to our MTY apartment at midnight.


I hope you've enjoyed this report. Any questions and comments are obviously welcomed.

Saludos desde Monterrey,
Luis

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 6846 times:

Love the report, sorry you had a seat with restricted movement, next time get familiar with the seating arrangement on that flight for such a problem and try moving your seat around as soon as you get to the airport if you can't check-in on line.

Gonna pick at ya though if I may just to be mean!!  Smile

Quoting Luisde8cd (Thread starter):
ATC made us hold just outside the runway for about 10 minutes and then we taxied behind another CO 738 towards terminal E.

We don't hold aircraft off the ramp unless the ramp towers ask us to, so more than likely the gate was full or they had once again reached a ramp saturation (happens often here) which kept you off the ramp/gate.

Nice job and great pics, love the stadium for sure.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineVenezuela747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1429 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 6790 times:

Nice TR Luis.....love to see pics of my old airport. The Barca America game was so good, 3 goals in about 6 minutes. I almost drove to SLC to see my Real Madrid this weekend but I couldn't find tickets for my dad and I.


ROLL TIDE!!!
User currently offline797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1906 posts, RR: 27
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 6532 times:

Epa Luis!

Great Report, I'm so glad that your delay wasn't related with any airport issue.

Looks like you got lucky on getting up that nice 738 with winglets, even though you forgot to take a pic of the winglets and the food Big grin

Oh, also... I think it was inside your destiny card to see Barcelona playing, HOW LUCKIER could you get!

Well, keep bringing these cool reports, you'll be on my next one since we are going to meet in CUN!

SALUDOS



Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
User currently offlineMIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2853 posts, RR: 25
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6339 times:

Epale Luis! Great report pana! glad to read some trip reports from Venezuela!

Quoting Luisde8cd (Thread starter):
I had a Guayanes Cheese Cachapa and half Mano Cheese Arepa. It was delicious.

STOP!! that is torture! you have no idea how much I miss Arepas and Cachapas! specially Queso Guayanes and De Mano! hopefully when I go to MIA in December I would be able to eat some in a Venezuelan Restaurant!

Keep them Coming and can't wait to read the CUN trip from 797

Saludos desde Inglaterra

MIAspotter



I think, therefore I don´t fly Ryanair.
User currently offlineTope98 From Venezuela, joined Dec 2005, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6253 times:

Great trip report.... and nice game... im more into British football but Barca is one of the best teams in the world these days. Hope u enjoyed the game.

Im heading to UK and Prague next month but i dont know if i can do a trip report because of luggage restrictions. We´ll see. Hopefully it wont be that bad.

Saludos desde Caracas


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16907 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 6237 times:

Great trip report, thanks for sharing the photos.


Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2893 posts, RR: 18
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6211 times:

Nice report mate, thanks for sharing your experience with us, sure looked like that you enjoyed ur game.

Karan


User currently offline797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1906 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6095 times:

Quoting Tope98 (Reply 5):
Im heading to UK and Prague next month

Viejo! You've got to buy some Absinth! El Aguardiente se queda pendejo! That's the best drink I've ever had. I tried it for the first time in PRG... Trully amazing city!

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 4):
Keep them Coming and can't wait to read the CUN trip from 797

It will have plenty of pictures from the flight itself to the pictures from the trip...videos, etc... plus a.netters pics (luis and I, perhaps)

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 4):
STOP!! that is torture! you have no idea how much I miss Arepas and Cachapas! specially Queso Guayanes and De Mano! hopefully when I go to MIA in December I would be able to eat some in a Venezuelan Restaurant!

Dude, you Venezuelan?

Saludos



Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
User currently offlineTope98 From Venezuela, joined Dec 2005, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5998 times:

Quoting 797 (Reply 8):
Viejo! You've got to buy some Absinth! El Aguardiente se queda pendejo! That's the best drink I've ever had. I tried it for the first time in PRG... Trully amazing city!

Yes, ive been told same thing... of course im going to buy it.. i will let u know how was it, i would bring u some but its a little bit difficult with new baggage regulations regarding liquids...

Enjoy CUN btw... are you going with luis?

Saludos


User currently offlineMIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2853 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 5970 times:

Quoting 797 (Reply 8):
Dude, you Venezuelan?

Claro que si pana!! From Caracas (Chacao) I haven't been to Venezuela since 1999 when I went to live in MIA, Now I live in England.

Cheers

MIAspotter



I think, therefore I don´t fly Ryanair.
User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5898 times:

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 1):
Love the report, sorry you had a seat with restricted movement, next time get familiar with the seating arrangement on that flight for such a problem and try moving your seat around as soon as you get to the airport if you can't check-in on line.

The flight was full, the only seats we could choose were those in row 11 or the last row of coach which also has limited recline. At least we weren't at the back of the plane near the lavatory.

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 1):
We don't hold aircraft off the ramp unless the ramp towers ask us to, so more than likely the gate was full or they had once again reached a ramp saturation (happens often here) which kept you off the ramp/gate.

Yeah I think that was the reason for the delay.

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 1):
Nice job and great pics, love the stadium for sure.



Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 1):
Nice TR Luis



Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 1):
Epa Luis!

Great Report



Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 4):
Epale Luis! Great report pana! glad to read some trip reports from Venezuela!



Quoting Tope98 (Reply 5):
Great trip report.



Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):
Great trip report, thanks for sharing the photos.



Quoting Karan69 (Reply 7):
Nice report mate, thanks for sharing your experience with us, sure looked like that you enjoyed ur game.

Thank you all for your nice comments. That will encourage me to do a better job in my next trip report to CUN where I shall meet 797 and Civilav.

Quoting 797 (Reply 3):
Looks like you got lucky on getting up that nice 738 with winglets, even though you forgot to take a pic of the winglets and the food

Who wanted Winglets?  Smile

http://i7.tinypic.com/24zkmfn.jpg

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 4):
STOP!! that is torture! you have no idea how much I miss Arepas and Cachapas! specially Queso Guayanes and De Mano! hopefully when I go to MIA in December I would be able to eat some in a Venezuelan Restaurant!

It has been 10 days since I left CCS and I've already miss all kinds of white cheese  Sad . Mexican white cheeses don't get close to ours.

Quoting Tope98 (Reply 5):
Im heading to UK and Prague next month but i dont know if i can do a trip report because of luggage restrictions. We´ll see. Hopefully it wont be that bad.

Would love to read your report.

Quoting Tope98 (Reply 9):
Enjoy CUN btw... are you going with luis?

We'll meet there. I'll be coming from MTY on Aviacsa and he'll be coming from MIA with AA.

Saludos desde Monterrey,
Luis


User currently offlineRootsAir From Costa Rica, joined Feb 2005, 4186 posts, RR: 40
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5824 times:

Great trip report...even if..

VIVA REAL MADRID



A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8690 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 5811 times:

Great trip. I love reading your trip reports as well as your post.

MCOflyer



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offline797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1906 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5705 times:

Quoting Luisde8cd (Reply 11):
It has been 10 days since I left CCS and I've already miss all kinds of white cheese

Please be a bit more specific: QUESO PAISA Big grin

Quoting Tope98 (Reply 9):
Yes, ive been told same thing... of course im going to buy it.. i will let u know how was it, i would bring u some but its a little bit difficult with new baggage regulations regarding liquids...

Ha! Listen, I went yesterday to MIA to pick up my sister's friend who was arriving from CCS and I looked at all the new banners EVERYWHERE within the terminal pointing out the new procedures regarding liquid beverages. You can take them, but you'd have to check them in. I don't know how it's currently working in Europe, but that's how's working here in the States. Anyhow, thanks for the offer man, but my uncle got to go to PRG a couple months ago and as a good godfather he is, he brought me a true Absinth bottle with the green-fairy leaf inside! Enjoy!

Quoting Tope98 (Reply 9):
Enjoy CUN btw... are you going with luis?

Not going with him, but going in the same dates! We're going to meet with Mr Civilav and have sort of a small Venezuelan A.net meeting :P

Quoting Luisde8cd (Reply 11):
That will encourage me to do a better job in my next trip report to CUN where I shall meet 797 and Civilav.

Then it looks like you guys will have two blasting reports of our Tequila-trip to CUN. I have an idea that will blow down your minds :P

Quoting RootsAir (Reply 12):
VIVA REAL MADRID

Uh, poor guy  bouncy 



Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5479 times:

Quoting 797 (Reply 14):
Then it looks like you guys will have two blasting reports of our Tequila-trip to CUN. I have an idea that will blow down your minds

You've kept me intrigued since you told me that... looks like that Trip report will have many features not seen before.

Saludos desde Monterrey,
Luis


User currently offlineB737900er From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 160 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5414 times:

Good trip report.
Nice Pics


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