Boeing 737-824 N73251
My flight was set to depart at 9:30 AM. However I overslept and woke up at 8:00 AM I hustled and made it to ORD by 8:45. Mind you it takes me about 45 minutes just to drive to the airport, so you can tell I busted ass. I quickly went through the employee security checkpoint in Terminal 1 (It’s good to have a badge) and walked to Gate E6 in Terminal 2 where the Continental 737-800 was waiting for me. Boarding had already started once I got there so I checked in and got in line. This flight was 100% full. I originally had a window seat but switched to an aisle seat in the emergency exit row so that a family could sit together. I was so tired I planned on sleeping on this flight, so I wouldn’t be using the window seat anyway.
We pushed back right on time, and taxied out to Runway 32L intersection T10 where we taxied onto the runway and waited for an arriving America West A320 to cross the runway. Once the cactus ‘bus was clear, the throttles were pushed forward and off we went. We lifted off and turned south towards Houston. It was interesting to see that CO had the moving map display on the flip-down IFE screens. It’s a pretty neat feature, although it was later replaced by their in-flight programming which I paid no attention to. However it was cool that CO lets you use your own headphones. The ones they sell are only $2 and you can keep them and use them on future flights. Nice touch. The flight had been listed as a snack flight on my itinerary, but they announced it was only a drink flight. And drinks were all they had. No pretzels, peanuts, trail mix. Just drinks. No biggie. The flight was smooth and uneventful and I drifted in and out of sleep until we were on final. The pilot battled cross-winds all the way down until touchdown. We then made an extremely long taxi back to the gate. My connecting flight was two gates over.
Boeing 737-3T0 N77303
This flight was only half-full. I had a window seat and had the entire row to myself. We pushed back on time and made a long taxi out to Runway 33R where we were behind a line of Continental and Continental Express aircraft. While taxing out, I managed to see the Peter Max 777. It was really nice to see in person. Although we were behind a long line of aircraft to takeoff, ATC was clearing them very quickly so our turn came quickly. We took off and followed the runway heading almost all the way to Dallas. Flight time to DFW was 44 minutes, which meant a quick drink service before descending for approach. Again, it was drinks only. We made a quick descent and landed on DFW’s Runway 35R, again making an extra-long taxi to Gate B13.
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 N16813
I got to DFW 2 hours early this time, and found no line to check-in. I checked my bag and went to the security line. Although the line was not very long, it was slow and it took me about 15 minutes to get through. While waiting for my stuff to get through the X-ray machine, I was asked to step aside and be inspected. I was thoroughly wanded, patted down, and had to take my shoes off. Once I got through that, I waited for my flight to Houston. The aircraft carrying me today was a 21-year old MD-80 which previously had flown for New York Air. It was to be my first flight on a –80. I noticed upon entering the aircraft, that this particular model did not have the new fortified cockpit doors, unlike the two other aircraft I had flown down on. I took my seat, another window, on the left side of the aircraft. This plane was showing its age on the inside as well as out. Every movable part of the plane from the doors to the wing slats seemed to creak or moan when moved. We again departed on time and taxied to Runway 18R for takeoff. We did a rolling take-off and I was surprised at how much quieter the MD-80 is inside compared to the DC-9. This flight was a fairly short 41 minutes and we were in cruise for only a few moments before starting back down. On approach to Houston, we flew parallel to another CO MD-80. It was cool watching the two planes “race” for the runway, although the other aircraft beat us to the ground since its runway came up sooner. Upon landing at IAH I saw a TWA 717 finishing its landing roll on Runway 8. I’m gonna miss those.
Boeing 737-824 N33203
I had an hour and a half to kill at IAH so I ate at Wendy’s and then went to the newsstand to get some reading material for the next flight. I bought a magazine and the novel “Black Hawk Down”. I had just seen the movie and loved it, so now I want to read the book. The inbound flight was a little late coming in but it was quickly turned and we departed only 10 minutes late. The flight was about 80% full. After pushback, we taxied out to Runway 8 where we took off behind 3 other Continental 737’s. Once airborne, I was surprised to find that this would indeed be a snack flight as advertised. They offered turkey sandwhiches as well as full can beverages. Not bad considering I was expecting nothing more than a drink. The FA’s came around twice more afterward to offer drinks. The flight was smooth most of the way until approach. There were thunderstorms in the Chicago area, so our descent was pretty rough. We broke out of the clouds at about 8,000 ft. We overflew ORD and I witnessed lightning striking the ground. It was a pretty cool sight although it freaked some of the people on the plane out. Apparently they thought we might get hit. We flew out to Lake Michigan and turned back over Evanston to catch the ILS to Runway 22R. The approach was pretty bumpy and the pilot was struggling with some serious crosswinds all the way up until the flare before touchdown. We landed kind of rough and used full reverse to stop. We were about 20 minutes early so we had to wait for another aircraft to clear the gate. We eventually parked next to a brand new CO 737-900. Quite a long plane.
Overall it was a good trip. It was my first time flying CO and I was impressed. Definitely a quality airline.