markk
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 10:45 am

Houston Express Info

Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:40 am

anyone have info on the Houston Express flight from Houston to Angola, I am flying with Schlumberger so I assume it's strictly coach.
 
Flyer732
Posts: 1321
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:09 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:56 am

The Houston Express is operated with a World Airways MD-11, N278WA.
The aircraft has 12 Ultra First Class seats, 78 Business Class seats and 23 Premium Economy seats. 113 total.
The service in all cabins is of much higher quality than the service on most scheduled airlines.

Its an interesting flight and an interesting operation to say the least.
 
markk
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 10:45 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:07 am

Can you gain any type of airline miles out of it?
 
Flyer732
Posts: 1321
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:09 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:17 am

Quoting Markk (Reply 2):
Can you gain any type of airline miles out of it?

Not that I'm aware of,(I could be wrong) its operated as a private charter, typicaly flying Oil Rig workers to Luanda, where they will connect to other Sonair aircraft to their final destination - where they spend 30 days (I think) working on the rig before they make the trip back to Houston for time off.
 
markk
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 10:45 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:23 am

Thanks for the info, How's the food? Thanks again!
 
AA54Heavy
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2003 5:44 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:57 am

What are the schedules like (in terms of days and times)? Also, how do they crew the flight, does the outbound crew bunk in Luanda for 12 hours and then come back onthe return flight, or do they spend longer in Luanda? Are these all American crews or are there locals from Angola that work on these flights as well? Any word on how much this costs to run this service?
Roger that, turning to our "other" left
 
HAJFlyer
Posts: 1349
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:34 pm

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:28 am

Quoting AA54Heavy (Reply 5):
What are the schedules like (in terms of days and times)? Also, how do they crew the flight, does the outbound crew bunk in Luanda for 12 hours and then come back onthe return flight, or do they spend longer in Luanda? Are these all American crews or are there locals from Angola that work on these flights as well? Any word on how much this costs to run this service?

AA54Heavy check out the following thread. It contains lots of information on the Houston Express.
Taag Angolan To Fly To Houston (by ETStar Oct 12 2005 in Civil Aviation)
 
Flyer732
Posts: 1321
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:09 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:09 am

Quoting AA54Heavy (Reply 5):
What are the schedules like (in terms of days and times)? Also, how do they crew the flight, does the outbound crew bunk in Luanda for 12 hours and then come back onthe return flight, or do they spend longer in Luanda? Are these all American crews or are there locals from Angola that work on these flights as well? Any word on how much this costs to run this service?

The crew arrives in the early morning with the plane, flight WO100. They proceede to the hotel and rest for 14 hours before going back to the plane and operating WO101 back to Houston.

The flight departs IAH at noon local, and then departs LAD around 1045 pm local.

There is typicaly one Sonair flight attendant to ensure service, but the rest of the crew are World.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 5187
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:12 am

Quoting Markk (Reply 2):
Can you gain any type of airline miles out of it?

Somebody who purported to have flown it said on Flyertalk that, at least when he flew it, he got 15,000 miles (or whatever) in the UA mileage program.
 
A340Spotter
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Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2003 9:52 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:19 am

Shamelessly plugging the plane with it's new colors:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jeffrey S. DeVore



It sits on Sunday for the weekly mx checks. Actually Friday's service was operated by the Retro World MD-11 again as N278WA must have been up for a bit heavier check (B v A, the C was just performed hence the new paint).

Jeffrey
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
wjcandee
Posts: 5187
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:20 am

Quoting Markk (Thread starter):
am flying with Schlumberger

What you get depends upon the class of service Schlum selects.

First class is sleeper seats.

Business class is a very fine business class, really more luxurious, for example, than DL's BusinessFirst.

Coach is apparently much like biz class on other carriers. There are only 23 coach seats, so odds are you end up in business or better.

The aircraft is an MD11, which can carry over 350 passengers, but this plane is fitted with only 113 seats, so that gives you an idea of how spacious it is.

World Airways, the operator, has a pretty good site at www.worldair.com, which tells you about its storied history. They specialize in flying widebody aircraft anytime, anywhere, all over the world, and have done it for more than 50 years.

The oil companies demand extraordinary catering on this flight, so I think you'll be pleased with the food and service.

Frankly, I'd be interesting in hearing your impressions after your flight.

By going nonstop like this, you save ten or more hours as opposed to going through Europe.

I've read that the flights usually go out somewhere above 50 percent full, but with a plane with this few seats, that's pretty amazingly spacious.

Hope this helps.

--Bill
 
wjcandee
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RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:30 am

AA54Heavy: I don't believe that they stage the crew. I believe that it goes out to the hotel and returns with the aircraft after rest, but Clipper002 would know better about that. With 3 flights each way per week, I suppose they could stage, but I don't think the crew wants to stay in Luanda any longer than necessary, despite the fact that it apparently has become safer in recent years.

World publicly puts the price of the contract for 3 round-trips per week at an amount north of $29 million annually (or around $185,000 per round-trip, if you assume 52 weeks per year and 3 flights per week). I suspect that they actually run fewer flights than that, given holidays etc. I also suspect that there's a fuel escalation in there, which would probably kick in under circumstances like this. There are a few posts out there on the 'Net in which people say what the oil co's are charged by Sonair for the seats. IIRC, it's in the neighborhood of $8000 r/t for first, 4500 for biz and 2800 for coach, but I could be significantly off.

Best,

Bill
 
Flyer732
Posts: 1321
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:09 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:37 pm

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 11):
AA54Heavy: I don't believe that they stage the crew. I believe that it goes out to the hotel and returns with the aircraft after rest, but Clipper002 would know better about that. With 3 flights each way per week, I suppose they could stage, but I don't think the crew wants to stay in Luanda any longer than necessary, despite the fact that it apparently has become safer in recent years.

Bill,
They crew rest in LAD for 14 hours, and then take the aircraft back to IAH. The only people who stay in LAD are the Ops Rep (6 weeks on, 6 weeks off) and occasionaly a mechanic.

The only time I've seen the aircraft there and the crew there for longer has either been for a MX reason, and most recently when Hurricane Rita hit Texas, the decision was made to leave the plane and crew in LAD until the storm had passed.

In recent weeks the flight has been fairly heavy. Pax counts in the 80's almost every day, even had one in the mid-90's recently.

Hope that helps.
 
wjcandee
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Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: Houston Express Info

Sun Oct 16, 2005 6:39 pm

Absolutely. Very interesting. Thanks for the info.

All the best,

Bill