Finally getting around to posting my trip report from my winter vacation...includes another first for me-- (first time on a 777!!)
Continental Express 3226 (op'd by ExpressJet)
Scheduled Departure Time- 1:20pm
Actual Departure Time- 1:52pm (wheels up at 2:08pm)
Scheduled Arrival Time- 2:24pm
Actual Arrival Time- 2:56pm
Departure Gate: Gate 3 (BDL)
Arrival Gate: Gate 110A (EWR)
Air-Traffic Control Delays prevented us from departing on-time from Hartford...they didn't rebook any of us though due to flights being extremely full; however, for people going onto IAH (there was myself and about 5 others) and JAX (3 people) they had to get electric carts for us in Newark to whisk us to the connecting gates...it was crazy - we sped through EWR at about 40 MPH it seemed!! Anyhow, the flight from BDL to EWR was a 37 minute flight at 17,000 feet...flight was almost completely full...only noteable aspects of the short hop was that it appears that CoEX has done away with the automated pre-flight safety briefing- The f/a did it manually "CRJ style" and let me tell you-- 1) its hard to see them from the 15th row - although i fly often enough that i could recite it anyhow... and 2) the f/a needed some work on her delivery- you could barely understand her... but I digress... other than that it was a solid flight... Ice water was served which helped keep me hydrated during my long day of flying...EWR rampers are very slow with planeside baggage, and our flight crew was Cleveland-based. Aircraft was heading to ROC after our flight, albeit with a new flight crew.
Scheduled Departure Time- 3:10pm
Actual Departure Time- 3:38pm (wheels up at 3:59pm)
Scheduled Arrival Time- 6:08pm
Actual Arrival Time- 6:13pm
Departure Gate: Gate 121 (EWR)
Arrival Gate: Gate E18 (IAH)
Got off the speedy cart and the six of us were some of the last to board the nearly full 777 which had originated in Madrid...we still waited further for connecting bags and a couple more passengers--- I thought it was a nice touch by Continental not to just leave us stranded in Newark (i don't think every airline waits for you)... Anyhow, the 777's seats are much more roomy and the PTV's are really neat. Although I haven't ever been to Europe, I can see how they might help to pass the time on a flight over 5 hours or so. For this flight of 3 hours and 7 minutes, I used it as a novelty, moreover because it was the first exposure I'd ever had to them. I watched Friends, played some blackjack and chess and the memory game. Two beverages services were offered- given CO's propensity to offer meals on flights over 3 hours I was mildly surprised that there wasn't something more substantial, but I had brought a couple Nutri-Grain bars with me and that tided me over until I got to Houston. One of the most amazing things, I thought, about the 777 was the wing flex. I'm always marveling about the wing flex of the 767's I've flown on Delta, but the 777 wing seriously looks like it flexes above the airplane. And those engines are just huge!! It's really something- I'm glad I took the double connection to get on board this plane. Anyhow, the flight was one of the smoothest flights I've been on and the f/a's were super friendly, and Houston-based... We made our descent amongst the beautiful lights of Houston, Texas before making a hard landing at Bush Intercontinental. We deplaned into the nice new terminal and I made my way across the airport for what seemed like a mile to my next flight, stopping along the way for frozen yogurt.
Scheduled Departure Time- 7:00pm
Actual Departure Time- 7:09pm (wheels up at 7:34pm)
Scheduled Arrival Time- 8:47pm
Actual Arrival Time- 9:01pm
Departure Gate: Gate C14 (IAH)
Arrival Gate: Gate 62 (LAX)
Flight was oversold, but unfortunately due to my yogurt run I didn't arrive in time to volunteer...darn! I always volunteer if I can because I like to earn the free travel Anyhow, this flight was packed to the gills and the gate agents started boarding late due to the flight being oversold and connections coming in late, so the f/a's inside were really trying to rush people into their seats to make departure as close to on-time as possible... Man, the 753 is loooonnng- I could barely see the wings and engines from the window next to my seat in the 6th row- for those of you that aren't familiar with the CO layout of the 753, they cut down the first class section to only 12 (maybe its 14??) seats, so row 6 is the second row of the coach section- there are only 3 rows of coach before the lavatory and bulkhead and the 2L door that divides things a little, so the 18 coach seats in rows 5, 6, and 7 are kinda isolated in a little more privacy...anyhow, we waited in a reasonably long line for takeoff (we were second in line at BDL and like third or fourth in line at EWR)- there may have been seven or eight planes ahead of us this time, so that caused a longer taxi-out time than normal. We took off for the long trak across Texas, which takes over half the whole flight of 3 hours and 11 minutes. Airshow was aired for a while before they began the movie "Shark Tales"- I watched about 20 minutes of it before deciding it was way too stupid for my taste. They served a dinner which consisted of a Jennie-O Turkey pastrami sandwich, a bad of ruffles, a tiny bag of mini-carrots, and some type of caramel confection for dessert. Not great food, but edible and enough to tide you over. As with the EWR-IAH flight 2 beverages were served (nice touch)... Again, as with all the flights this time, it was very smooth except for one pocket of turbulence over AZ or New Mexico, and again on descent. LAX was having light rain showers and some wind gusts and that gave us a few rolling bumps on the way in. We took the appraoch out into the Pacific Ocean before making a 360 and coming in from the west. After the long taxi to Terminal 6 we had to wait a few minutes for ground personnel to appear with the tug to bring us the rest of the way as gate 62 is a "tug-in" gate. The Houston and Newark based flight crew were only half done with their workday, as our 757-300 turned around and became the first of the two red-eyes into EWR...
All in all, I think Continental always does a great job... its as good an airline as any you'd find in the US...they've got nice new planes, they still serve some semblance of food, and they might be more likely to help you actually make your connection.
I will post my January 2nd return tomorrow...its on the red-tails and also a double-connector (LAX-IND-DTW-BDL), and with my new elite status I got upgrades on the first two sectors!