Continental Airlines #22
SKD DEP: Newark, NJ 2020
SKD ARR: Dublin Ireland 0745 +1
ACT DEP: 20:19/20:40
ACT ARR: 07:25/07:49
Boeing 767-400 N76055
Seat: 31L Economy
Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
Photo © Simon Willson
American Airlines - $698.00. Aer Lingus - $638.00. Continental - $415.20. I think the choice here was obvious. Although Aer Lingus is boasting some incredible fares right now I just was unable to find them for my travel days. So, for the first time Continental won my business. I also liked the fact that I’d finally get on a 764!!
I tried to book the flights on continental.com to avail of an online booking bonus but the seat maps were taking too long to load – so I booked on travelocity.com. I selected seat 31L for this flight – a bulkhead. Seatguru.com indicated that there was “poor legroom” and Artsyman also indicated that the legroom wasn’t great. But, I decided to stick with the bulkhead anyway.
I live in Westchester so Newark is a bit of a haul for me. However, this trip proved quicker than the ride to Kennedy. Took the Henry Hudson to the GWB and the turnpike south to exit 14 and was at Terminal C in 45 minutes. Went to the upper level for check-in. I was impressed to see that flights were separated depending on destination. My area handled Dublin, Shannon, Glasgow, and Amsterdam. Next to me was Manchester and someplace else. Other areas handled, Lisbon, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Brussels, Paris, London-LGW, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Rome, and Milan. It was very easy and there was no hassle and there did not seem to be endless lines anywhere. The agent printed by boarding pass and tagged my two bags. I like the Continental boarding passes. They tell you relevant information such as the mileage for the flight and your scheduled arrival time. Brought the bags over to the TSA and that was it. Easy!
We took a walk down to the domestic check-in area trying to find someplace to grab a bite to eat but failed to find anything. I was impressed with the domestic e-ticket check-in……there were no lines and all you had to do was swipe your card etc. Very impressive.
I left my parents at security for Gates 101-115. My flight was leaving from 106. It was about 615pm and I headed down to the end of the concourse to the Sam Adams Brewhouse to kill some time and watch some traffic. Didn’t really see too much….mostly company 777s, 767s, 738s, and ERJs.
Boarding commenced on time at 730pm. BusinessFirst and Onepass Elites were invited to board first. Following that rows were called in 5 row increments starting from the back – rows 40-45, 35-40, 30-35, 25-30 etc. I boarding with my group and found my way to 31L the window seat just behind door 3L. I normally sit in bulkhead seats and was pleasantly surprised to find more legroom that expected – a good thing. I’ve had bulkheads on AA, BA, EI, and now CO. EI would rate the worst with only about an extra two inches. AA would be the best with about 4-6 feet. The windows were very large and the seat was relatively comfortable. The PTVs were wall mounted in front of you. I didn’t care for that to be honest – I like the 777 TVs located in the armrest. But that’s only minor. The Economy seats featured a generous recline and adjustable headrests. At the seat was a large pillow and blanket with some nifty headsets – unfortunately two pronged so no point in stealing.
Photo © Fernando Gomes
Photo © Fernando Gomes
My seat mate was an Irish guy who was unfriendly and did not respond to my “how’s it goin’?”
We pushed back from the gate on time at 8:20pm with a good load. It seemed to me that the only vacant seats were the center “E” seats. The safety demonstration was shown on the PTVs. Of all the safety demos I’ve seen done on video this one probably ranks in the top three. It was professionally done and you didn’t feel like you were being treated like a moron. Flight attendants stood next to the monitors in the aisles while it was played.
We lined up for take off in front of an ExpressJet and behind another ExpressJet. We passed Terminal B where I saw an LX 332, BA 772, VS 744, and DL 73S. I cannot recall seeing anything else. Passed the FedEx facility which had lots of 72F’s and MD-11F’s on stand. We were airborne at 8:40 and our announced flight time was 5 hours and 31 minutes for our flight to Dublin.
Shortly after takeoff eyeshades and earplugs were distributed and the inflight entertainment started off with an explanation of how to use the system and the numerous features that it encompassed including some great games!! The first order of business was a drinks trolley. Of course two things apply here since this is a US Carrier:
1. You don’t get the whole can of soda unless you ask for it.
2. Beer/Wine/Spirits are $5 or 5 Euro.
I took a Sprite and that came with pretzels. In the meantime I started to watch Daredevil on my TV. Also showing was Just Married, The Hours, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (for the kids…… CSI, and lots of other stuff. The Airshow was displayed on the overhead monitors in the aisles spread throughout the aircraft. Audio was poor but then again all US carriers have bad audio programming. And the games were great…poker, blackjack, chess, etc.
Following the drinks trolley was the main dinner for the flight. The choice was chicken or beef. I took the beef. It was a whole steak, medium-well ( I like it that way anyway) with mashed potatoes, peas, and carrots. On the side was a salad, a roll, and nice piece of carrot cake. I took another Sprite and received the whole can without asking for it from a nice F/A Joan.
Some comments now on the inflight service. To be honest I found it a bit on the slow side. This is through no fault of the crew but the fact that two people have to serve rows 16-45 can mean a long wait if you are in 45. The flight attendants were by far the most professional crew I have ever encountered. Perhaps this was just a good crew but I was very impressed….the crew addressed people as Sir/Gentlemen/Ma’am/Ladies. It seemed to me that the crew genuinely believed they were there for the passenger’s benefit and not the other way around as I find it on EI and AA. I love AA but the grandma crews have got to go. This crew was generally a 26-35 mix and presented themselves well.
After the meal service was complete the duty free cart made its way through the aisles and remained open until we reached Irish airspace in the rear of the plane. Daredevil had finished and the remainder of the program was finishing so I took out my magazines and CD player and relaxed for a while. The second round of videos then commenced and I finished the flight off watching Just Married – patheticly stupid but a nice way to pass time on a flight.
1 hour and 15 minutes out of Dublin a light breakfast was served consisting of a fruit bowl and croissant. Followed with a choice of tea/coffee/juices. The fruit was fresh and the croissant was tasty.
We started our descent into Dublin near Westport and entered a thick cloud cover at 25,000 feet which lasted until the 5,000 feet marker. We made a U-turn over the Irish sea and used the westbound approach. Landing was great on a rainy morning in Dublin…it’s funny when you get used to flying on certain aircraft and into certain airports. I’m so used to flying 320/321 and 333’s into Dublin that flying a heavy Boeing felt great. I could honestly say that I felt how big the 764 was when we landed as we nearly used the entire length of the runway. An EI 333 landed just behind us at around 07:30am. We landed at 7:25am but our gate, B34 was not available so we had to wait – and arrived on stand at 7:49am.
Photo © Michael J Kelly
Baggage was delivered on Belt 6 – one of the new belts at Dublin. There was a 30 minute delay in getting our bags but mine came out fairly early.
1. Newark Airport Terminal C – It was clean, with plenty to occupy your time – and has windows.
2. Flight Attendants – Truly professionals on this flight
3. Modern Fleet with 767/777 service to Europe.
4. Offering an great alternative to EI!!!
1. Onepass doesn’t have great partners like AA does…..
2. Newark can be a pain to get to from my place….