Boeing 737-800 (N35204) Suppose to be a 739!
Orlando - Newark
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:45
Scheduled Arrival Time: 13:20
Actual Departure Time: 10:43
Actual Arrival Time: 13:05
Check In: My old roommate (phatfarmlines) dropped me off at the airport today. We left DAB at 7:30 and thanks to traffic managed to get to MCO at 9:35! We parked the car and headed over to the CO counters which were not that packed. I went straight for the electronic check in and printed my boarding passes for both flights. Went over to the counter where the woman tagged my bags to LAS with the green "transfer EWR" tag on the bag with a "boarding begins at 10:00." We then headed over to Burger King for a quick bite. 10 is too early and we knew that from our CO flights in May. At 10 I said bye and headed for the now familiar MCO security. I have never flown out of the other side of the airport. I tend to see the same security each time. Anyway after a quick move through x-ray took the train over to gate 4 where there were a few seat around. I sat down and watched the America West 737 board to PHX.
Photo © Chris Sheldon
Boarding: Within 5 minutes the boarding process started with the back and eventually my row was called and I headed through. At the door there was stewardess chit chatting with the pilots without even giving a second glance at the pax boarding. I proceeded to 11A. There was already someone in 11C. As luck would have it the 11B was kept free. The doors were closed and the load factor looked to be 95% in coach. The seats were comfortable and the headrests were nice.
Photo © Joe Pries
Photo © Jarek Dabrowski
Photo © Chris Liao
Push back occurred early and the screens were flipped down. The safety demo was shown and there were some very good-looking flight attendants in it. We taxied for about 10 minutes.
The Flight: Take off commenced and I was amazed at how loud the 737NG was. I was expecting something on the lines of the 320's. This was louder but much more powerful. We shot up like a rocket. Eventually the crew came round with headphones for $2.00. I bought a pair and plugged it in to listen to some music. The news was then started on the monitors. Meantime the crew started the "snack" service. When they got to me, "Turkey or ham?" was the question. I took the turkey and it came with a bag of lays chips and a chocolate and a packet of mayo. The bun was of decent size, not small but not big either. Check this site out if you want pictures of what the food looked like.
Photo © Leigh Miller
Arrival & Transit: We landed early and I got a great view of Terminal B as we were gliding down. A smooth landing and we were off to gate C92. We were off the plane and I headed over to the new International pier where my gate was suppose to be C128. After weaving through the crowds in the other two piers I got to a virtually deserted International pier. Wow is all I can say. This area remained me of SFO's new International terminal. Glass all over with steele pylons. It was bright and airy. I sat down and saw a few CO 772's as well as that darn Peter Max 777. I'm sorry but I am one of those people that thinks it looks like someone threw up on a perfectly good 777. I saw quite a few planes while I was there. Among the interesting ones,
Photo © Cary Liao
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
Photo © Tom Turner
Privat Air (Lufthansa from DUS) 737-700
Photo © Vincent de Koning
EL AL 777-200
Photo © Joe Pries
Air France 777-200
Photo © Fernando Gomes
Singapore Airlines 747-400
Photo © Timothy Keeney
Photo © Joe Pries
Photo © Jason Whitebird
British Airways 777-200
Photo © Thomas Millard
Our gate was changed to C134 when I checked the screens again.
Newark - Las Vegas
Boeing 757-200 (N58101)
Scheduled Departure Time: 17:05
Scheduled Arrival Time: 19:22
Actual Departure Time: 18:00
Actual Arrival Time: 19:35
Photo © George polfliet
Boarding: I headed over to the gate at 16:20 as that was the boarding time written on the boarding pass. Imagine my surprise when I saw a 757-200 from Birmingham pull into the gate that moment. Well I guess we won't be on time today. "Ladies and gentlemen. Flight 1268 to Las Vegas shall be delayed due to late arrival of aircraft. As this aircraft has arrived from an International destination, the crew of the last flight can not leave till security has searched the plane. Once that is done, and only then can the crew for your Las Vegas flight board the aircraft. We ask for your patience in this matter and shall start boarding as soon as possible." Boarding commenced at 17:10 by rows and I was in the second group. I got to my seat and waited a bit more then suddenly, the door was closed at 17:45 but the seat next to me was empty! YES! The seats were the same as the 737's except the TVs were not flat like the 737's nor were they the big TV's in the isle like other airlines 752's. They were flip down screens but much thicker than the 737's or 320's. I plugged in the headphones to channel 5 and sat back.
Photo © Mike Genovese
We backed away at 18:00 and took our sweet time taxing and waited behind a queue. We were actually in the air at 18:20.
The Flight: Service started and since I was pretty much far back I had to wait. Gordon Bethune's welcome message was shown on the screens. I won't comment on it except that it makes CO sound like they are the "best" and everyone else is below trash. The movie today was "Life or Something Like it." I started watching it and soon a tray with a hot meatloaf sandwich was given to me with a bag of baby carrots, a chocolate and ketchup. The drink cart came over 10 minutes after the tray which was a bit annoying but I can live with it. A can of coke was given to me with a cup. I finished everything in tray and it was collected shortly after. A second round of drinks was offered and I took a glass of water. Soon the movie finished and another episode of "3rd Rock from the Sun" was shown followed by news. Once that was over I opened the window shade and plugged in good old channel 5. A stewardess came round with a tray full of water and handed it out to everyone with a smile. Eventually decent started just about the time sunset started. The pilots made an announcement that they had made up some time but not enough for an on time landing, we would be roughly 25 minutes late.
Photo © Richard Silagi
Arrival: We landed with a great view of the strip, too bad it was on the other side of the aircraft. Never the less we landed and turned around when we taxied to the gate. I never realized how close Mandalay Bay is to the airport. Shoot! Oh well maybe next time. We were off the plane and headed for a long walk to baggage claim. As I was on the trek my phone rang. It was my dad saying they were at baggage claim 7. We were at 2. Once my bag came out we were off in a cab to the hotel.
Boeing 757-200 (N14118)
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:40
Scheduled Arrival Time: 17:52
Actual Departure Time: 12:55
Actual Arrival Time: 17:35
Check In: We left the hotel early and were at the airport around 8:30 because my parents were on the UA flight to DEN at
10:55. Once they were checked in we headed over to the CO area which was practically deserted. I used the e-check in machine again and my boarding passes were printed but my NW FFP was not in the database so I the lady typed the stuff in for me so it was fine. I then headed over to the counter and the bags were tagged to MCO with the pink "transfer IAH" tag. We then headed over to the shopping area and looked around. Then I headed over with my parents to the security area for C,D & E. I am not joking, it looked like there were over 500 people there! I said bye and headed over to the museum that was near the area. After about 30 minutes there I headed over to my security area which had gone from maybe 3 people in line, as I saw it last to about 300 right now! I got through after about a 30 minute wait. I headed towards gate A19 only to find the satellite full of people with all gates occupied by an aircraft.
2 Continental 752
Alaska Air 739
Champion Air 727
My plane was not even there yet. I headed over to the other A pier and found it virtually empty. I sat down made a few phone calls and ended up watching a few HP's depart and a couple CO's leave. Then my plane landed from EWR and I caught the registration as it went by.
Photo © Chris Coduto
Boarding: The boarding time was 12:05 but I headed over to the gate at 11:55 only to find that boarding was already in process. I had not heard a call for boarding nor what rows. Some people were confused as well. "What rows are boarding?" I just went and stood in line and they seem to be letting everyone through. I got on the jetway to find a line. Once I managed to get onboard it looked they had not boarded by rows since there were people in all rows. I sat down and there was already a lady in the middle seat. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are looking for 4 volunteers to give up seats. If you are flying to Baltimore we will put you on a America West flight in 2 hours which is non-stop. If you are not we shall give you a $300 travel voucher and we shall pay for a nights stay in Las Vegas as all flights are full till tomorrow morning at 7am. If you wish to take this please ring your call button to let a flight attendant know." Only 2 people rang their call button. The announcement kept repeating with "we are looking for 2 more volunteers. For those of you flying to Baltimore this works to your advantage. Take this offer." Eventually 4 people gave up their seats and the plane was 100% full. The doors were closed we pushed back a few minutes late. This plane was domestically configured and did not have winged headrests on the seats. They were flat and kind of uncomfortable. What can I say? I have been spoilt now.
The Flight: We took off and the usual Gordon Bethune message was flashed on the screen with a few people smirking about the comments he made. The movie today was "The Scorpion King." I plugged in and watched. The cart came over with "Roast Beef or Turkey?" I chose the Roast beef this time and it was served with a bag of carrots and mustard and a smores cup. It was ok, I prefer the turkey I guess. The drink cart came over about 10 minutes later again and was given the full can of Dr. Pepper again. Once the plastic tray was cleared we were offered a second drink and I had a glass of water. The movie finished and we began our decent soon after. We hit some rough air over Houston which sent a few pax screaming while gripping the armrests.
Photo © Ben Wang
Arrival & Transit: We landed early and taxied past the International Terminal which only had a BA 744 (G-BYGB)
Photo © Frank Schaefer
We started taxing once the BA was on its way to the runway with another announcement. "Ladies and Gentlemen I have some good news and bad news. First we have arrived 20 minutes early. The bad news, our gate is still occupied. We shall be standing at a active taxiway. Once we dock at the gate and the seatbelt sign is shut off you may get up, and that shall be your only indication." Eventually we headed over to C35 after a 738 vacated it. Once I got off the plane I headed over to C44 where my 753 had just arrived from LAX. I sat there for a few minutes before boarding began at 18:20.
Boeing 757-300 (N75854)
Scheduled Departure Time: 18:55
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:20
Actual Departure Time: 18:55
Actual Arrival Time: 22:10
Photo © Jay Davis
Boarding: I was in the first group called for boarding and went over to the seat. It was a bit of a walk but it was not that spectacular as people kept telling me it was. Sorry I have flown too many 747's and 777's to find the 753 of anything of interest. Eventually the plane was boarded and the door closed and what do you know, both seats next to me were free. At this point I plugged in my headphones and there was nothing but static. The safety demo was shown with the flat screens like on the 737NG and we headed out.
The Flight: We took off and hit a few bumps after take off. Eventually the headphones were passed out and the following announcement that just ruined the flight for me! "Ladies and gentlemen, today we shall be showing you the movie "Spirit-Stallion of Simoron." If you would like to watch the movie we would like to ask you to move to the right side of the aircraft as we have no entertainment on the left side of the aircraft." GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course there were no seats on that side except middle seats. Its a short flight, I'll survive without entertainment. The usual Gordon Bethune came on to say how wonderful Continental was and this time they turned his message into a rap song. "Welcome onboard Continental, Continental, Continental. We have the most modern, modern, modern aircraft in the industry." The entire message went on like this for some reason, rewind, forward etc...Eventually the crew came to me as they had started service in the front. "Turkey or ham?" I had the turkey which had a bag or chips, mayo and a smores cup. The drink cart came after 25 minutes!!! By this time I was dying of thrust as was everyone else near me. I had a can of Sprite. Eventually it was pitch black outside. I picked up the Continental magazine "Continental" and read it till decent started.
Arrival: We landed about 22:10 and taxied to gate 7. There was already a 752 and 735 at the terminal. Eventually I got off the plane and down to baggage claim where I waited for about 2 minutes before my bag came out. I grabbed my bag and headed out to curbside where I waited for 3 minutes before phatfarmlines drove up screaming and hollering about a gas tanker that exploded on the highway earlier which caused him enormous problems getting to MCO.
Verdict: Continental has done it again. I am very pleased with them. They are my airline or choice when I fly domestic in the US. The 737NG was great. I really like it but I was disappointed with the 753. The service was great, always friendly and no mean grouchy flight attendants which was good. I have always been happy with Continental and this trip was no exception. Sure there were glitches on the 753 but it was ok, everyone has bad days. CO employees are always smiling and go out of their way to help, something I do notice and thank them for. Now we shall see if their International flights live up to this.
Any comments? Anything I missed?