OB1783P From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 329 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 6 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6682 times:
Earlier in the fall, I decided to visit the Northern part of Guatemala (El Peten). I saw that Continental offered a nonstop flight from IAH to Flores (FRS) and back, every Saturday. By the time I was ready to reserve, the flight had almost doubled in price, so I fiddled with Continental.com and bought the ticket for the original price, but coming back from GUA.
Later, in travel forums, I discovered that my flight to Flores, on November 25, was the last scheduled Continental flight to Flores. Who knows what would have happened if I had reserved earlier, returning from Flores on December 2?
LAST FLIGHT TO FLORES
Too excited to sleep at all, I left home at 2:00 a.m. I parked at the long term parking at BWI, and I was one of few waiting for the Continental windows to open at 4:30. Security, at that time, was a breeze.
CO527 Nov. 25 06 BWI-IAH
Gate D14 Seat 19C
Scheduled 6:00 - 8:30
Actual 6:10 - 8:10
Nothing special there. Many Latinos on the quiet flight, due to numerous connections in IAH. Nice, smiling cabin crew. One lavatory inoperative. Movie "Little Man" on drop screens, but few takers for headphones. There was a shallow but low cloud ceiling, which we entered, and then poof, landed a few seconds later.
In Houston, I enjoyed the train to terminal C, but the terminal itself was disappointing, doubly so when I found out my flight was delayed, due to fog (at both ends). I expected to get a glimpse Air China and PIA, but I saw only one non-CO tail, a NW A320.
CO2198 Nov. 25 06 IAH-FRS
Gate C62 Seat 1A
Scheduled 9:40 - 12:50
Actual 11:25 - 2:15
The young pilots looked fresh out of high school, and the cheerful F/A was a bit confused (kept saying Flores - Guadalajara instead of Flores - Guatemala). The flight was very cold for a while. For most of the time, we hugged the Gulf Coast. When we got closer to FRS, I was thrilled to see jungle landscape. For me, there is nothing quite like the sight of what appears to be a broccoli forest: the promise of a great time.
No, no, it's not the same picture. It's the same breakfast on a different flight!
I also adore jungle airports: no walkways, no glass in the windows, huge weapons in the hand of juvenile gendarmes, a feeling of impending thrill and general mildew.
Now, since I have you here, a few photos from my trip:
I loved everything about Guatemala except driving through Guatemala City (no beltway, unfortunately). I spent my last night in the touristy volcano town of Antigua. I hired a shuttle to the airport for $10, which I ended up riding alone, through the most depressing cityscape: an endless boulevard of broken dreams.
CO459 Dec. 02 06 GUA-IAH
Gate A Seat 17D
Scheduled 1:30 - 4:29
Actual 1:37 - 4:10
The GUA terminal is drafty, ratty, and undergoing renovations. Long wait at the Continental window, possibly due to a lot of extra luggage. The purported $30 tax is included in the ticket, but you need to pay a 20 Quetzales security fee ($3). Security is similar to here. The line was short (it's a small airport, actually). There were fighter jets practicing hi-speed touch and go, making the building rattle. Not much spotting: just a couple of DC-3s in the distance. Lining up for take off, the pilot did a little swerve to gain extra few feet, and he revved up the engines with the brakes on. We took off like a rocket.
The 100% male F/A team didn't crack a smile, but they did the job very well. No movie: episodes of The King of Queens with no sound. What the @#*&?
Immigration at IAH is the smoothest I have ever experienced in a large airport, in a bright and welcoming terminal. Shame on ORD and IAD by comparison. Terminal E was a joy to wait a couple of hours in. I bumped into a couple with whom I had climbed the volcano the day before (you need to keep walking or your soles melt). I witnessed a golden Texas sunset, and watched a lot of CO jets take off and land.
CO526 Dec. 02 06 IAH-BWI
Gate E8 Seat 15C
B737-800 N??? never had a clear view of the tail
Scheduled 6:59 - 10:58
Actual 6:59 - 10:30
Cheerful waiting with the Riverdale Baptist Basketball Team. I already felt so far from Guatemala. Since the plane was unevenly seated, I moved to seats 11D-E-F, and slept through "Talladega Nights." Back to deserted and chilly Baltimore. Who said the best part of a journey is to come home? Not I!
CONCLUSION: It's the first time I go on a big trip with a small plane. I had a wonderful time in Guatemala. Aviation-wise, it was not that much of an adventure, but Continental gets the job done. Latin flights are always very quiet, with well-behaved travelers. I have no definite plans of where to go next year, but if CO starts EWR-PVG, I will certainly be tempted.
[Edited 2006-12-07 02:13:08]
I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5910 times:
Isn't IAH great? I love terminal E especially, and now that C has been redone, it's much nicer than it was.
I recently turned down the opportunity to go on a trip to GUA in favor of going home for Christmas. I know it was the right decision, but...... maybe some other time!
And hey, that's some of the best looking coach food I've seen in a while... keep in mind, oh ye from other countries, that Continental is the only one that still serves it for free.
AND gives you a pillow and blanket without asking for cash.
Oh, what kind of sandwich is that? The one from GUA to IAH? Looks interesting....
Halcyon From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5239 times:
It is very nice to be able to share these stories with thousands rather than just the (with me at least) often less than enthused family.
I'd also like to thank you for your nextjourney.org reports, especially the one on Peru. I loved the parts about having rocks thrown at the change, and the "Iron House" was quite amusing to me. What a strange place to try to start and even stranger fad.
I hope you have fun on your next trip and continue to keep us updated.