Check-in was a breeze. There was no one in line. To my delight the friendly agent gave me a seat assignment (18A) and I was on my way through the security checkpoint. It took just a minute to get through security then I made the walk down to gate 31 to wait for my flight to board.
At 6:35am an announcement was made that IAH was closed due to severe weather, as such we would not start boarding until 7:00am. The 7:00am boarding time came and went. It got pushed back to 7:30am. Same thing. Finally, boarding commenced at 8:00am. I figured I could still theoretically make my connection as it's only like a 35 min. flight between SAT and IAH. Well, I figured wrong.
Continental Airlines #264
Pushback: 9:15am (approx.)
Airborne: 9:27am (approx.)
Touchdown: 10:02am (approx.)
Photo © Miguel Cláudio
I took my seat 18A on this now mostly full 757 (around 40 passengers switched over from the 8:40am flight to this one). The captain came on and said we would be here for awhile. Everyone was seated by 8:25am. We ended up waiting for :50 minutes before getting ATC clearance to depart. Once we pushed back, we were quickly number one to depart from runway 3. SAT looked like a ghost town besides the handful of CO, AA, and WN jets. Climbout was the typical 757 powerful. Overcast skies dominated the entire flight. Amazingly every passenger received a drink service, which I thought to be an impressive feat on such a short hop. Nothing was shown on the flip-down screens. Our descent into IAH started just about as soon as we reached our cruising altitude, which was FL240 if i'm not mistaken. It was a preyty much straight in approach into IAH, which was still seeing some rain, but nothing severe. Landing was solid, braking was adequate. Parked at gate C35.
I immediately found a CO rep to inquire about the MSY gate. She told me the 9:20am flight had been pushed back until 10:15am, was leaving from gate D-4, and that I could make it if I ran. Well, the time was about 10:10, and seeing how going from the C gates to the D gates isn't exactly the shortest walk in the world, I figured I wouldn't have a chance of making it. That being said, I ran like the wind to try and make it. The plane was pulling back from the jetway just as I arrived. Bummer.
The nice agent at gate D4 gladly switched my ticket from the 9:20 to the scheduled 10:25am nonstop (flight #123), which was now delayed until 11:21am. Looking at the gate area, one could tell that this flight was going to be packed to the gills. All I was concerned about was getting a seat. That, and getting some food, so I got a sub from Subway, made a couple of calls, and before I knew it, I heard my name over the p.a system. I made the flight.
Continental Airlines #123
Boeing 737-800 (with winglets)
Pushback: 11:55am (approx.)
Airborne: 12:08pm (approx.)
Touchdown: 1:03pm (approx.)
Photo © Mario Aurich
I had seat 29E, middle seat, last row. At the very least I had an attractive lady sitting to the right of me. To the left of me...the exact opposite of that. Oh well, it was just a short flight. I was lucky to get on this one, as they only had one open seat on the entire plane. I have no idea as to what runway we took off from, but we used a good amount of tarmac before getting airborne. As expected, climbout was bumpy. The "flight tracker" was playing on the tv screens during this flight. We pretty much flew on a northeasterly course for the first fifteen minutes of the flight, then made a straight line over BTR and finally down into MSY. We got up to 28,000 feet. Once again, every passenger received a beverage...peanuts as well. The captain made an announcement that we were going to be landing on runway 1, and should be at the gate for around 1:00pm. Low overcast skies and a brisk north wind were the weather conditions in MSY as we started our final over the bayous. We came in higher than usual and faster than usual over the Mississippi River, and I thought for sure we would have to do a go around. We landed on the first try (albeit almost halfway down the 7000ft. runway) and used more braking than normal to come to a stop. It was an exciting way to conclude the trip. We parked at gate D3 next to a company B737-500.
Overall, CO did a great job as usual. I think they are a step above other U.S carriers in terms of service, and I just love the modern, all-Boeing fleet.