Well, I got to try out CO yesterday, and the flights weren't too bad.
My first flight was SAN-IAH in an MD-80. This flight was oversold, so I volunteered my seat. About 15 minutes before departure, an announcement was made that, due to the number of no-sows, no volunteers' seats would be used. With that, I boarded the aircraft and headed to seat 25A, surprised to see that there were still quite a few seats available. A few minutes later, just after I had settled in, an agent came and asked if I had volunteered my seat assignment. Assuming that they needed it after all, I told him that I had. He responded, "Ok, well, we'd like to upgrade you as our way of saying thanks for trying to help." With that, I headed up to my new seat, 4B. When I sat down, the flight attendant took my jacket and offered me a drink. I ordered orange juice (it was about 7 am). Well, we sat at the gate about 10 more minutes, pushed back, taied out, and took off, al without me getting my pre-departure beverage. I found that to be a little odd - why did she offer it if she wasn't going to serve it??
Anyway, after takeoff the flight attendant came around to take drink orders, so I again asked for orange juice. She also brought around hot towels and set out tray table linens. This time she remembered to bring my drink, so that was good. We had a choice of cereal with fruit and yoghurt or a cheese omelet with a fruit plate for breakfast, so I chose the omelet. The meal was very nice. First, the fruit plate was brought out. It had melon, pineapple, orange, grapefruit, grapes, and a strawberry. Next, the main plate was brought, which had not only an omelet, but a waffle, ham, sausage, and potatoes as well. Other than the fact that the waffle was a bit soggy, the food was really quite good, and the f/a did a good job of keeping my oj full.
Unfortunately, there was a drastic change in the quality of the cabin service after the breakfast was cleared. Basically, it stopped altogether. During the last hour and a half of teh 2 1/2 hour flight, the f/a only came through the aisle once, and that was to do her before landing check. I actually had to go to the galley to request a Coke three times because she never came through the cabin. I find this to be totally unacceptable for First class... the f/a should be through the cabin every 10-15 minutes, workload permitting (her workload permitted - she was reading a novel) to check on passengers. Anyway, we landed on runway 8 at Houston Intercontinental and got to the gate about 20 minutes early.
My connecting flight left out of the adjacent gate, C-44, so I didn't get to see much of IAH. This flight was not full so I could't volunteer my seat, so I just boarded at the approprtiate time and headed to 25A. The clouds were very low, and after taking off from runway 26 we were only airborne for 12 seconds before the ground was no longer visible. It was so bad that the top of the control tower couldn't be seen from the terminal because it was shrouded in clouds. We climbed up and the entire flight was over a solid cloud deck. Folllowing along on my GPS, we flew over Arkansas, just east of LIT, and up near Memphis. We flew directly over Evensville, IN, tehn up to IND. As the flight attendants came down the aisle with the carts, I was happy to hear her offering other passengers lunch. I wasn't sure whether we'd get anything on this flight or not, but I was starving so I was happy we were. Well, when they got back to my row, I came to find out that "lunch" was her nickname for a small bag of honey roasted peanuts. Well, I had the peanuts and three cans of Coke for "lunch" and we landed in Indianapolis right on time.
Now some notes about CO -
1. Other than for the food, I don't know why anyone would pay to fly first on CO, at least not on this sort of flight. The service in the second half was severly lacking and, other than the extra personal space afforded by the wide armrest in F, I found coach to be more comfortable. The F seats were pretty hard, while the Y seats were better cushioned.
2. While most everyone I met at CO was friendly and the f/as provided good service, I was dissapointed that there was no food to speak of. On American's flight DFW-IND, which is only about 5 minutes longer and operates at about the same time of day, there is a food service. Their website lists it as a snack, so it may be a Bisrto bag (no, they don't officially call it a snack when they serve pretzels), but that's better than nothing in the afternoon.
3. I was extremely pleased with COs coach product. The interior looked nice, the seats were comfortable, and the legroom ample. Like American, the CO seats had adjustable headrests, though CO's were not as noticeable adjustable. I think I was the onle one who used it.
In all, the following would be my ranking of teh airlines I've flown, based solely on my own experiences:
Great Lakes (a bad airline, but bearable because the flights are so short)
One final question for anyone who may know... On my flight IAH-IND, the flight attendant asked people to open their window shades before takeoff and before landing. Does anyone know why? I've never seen this before on any of my flights, and they didn't do it that I noticed on my CO flight SAN-IAH.