Date: Jan 13, 2005
Origination Airport: Oklahoma City, OK
Destination Airport: Nashville, TN
Connection Hub: Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH
I arrived at the OKC
airport at 7:00 am for my 8:15 departure.
The Oklahoma City airport is undergoing a complete overhaul and is becoming one of the nicest airports in the country for a city its size. Luckily, Continental Airlines has been moved to the beautiful new concourse.
I easily and quickly checked in at one of the self check in kiosks. I swiped my credit card, and my reservation quickly came up on the screen. I did not have to check a bag, and the machine dispensed my boarding passes.
Security is not a hassle at OKC
, even at peak times. I was through security in less than five minutes, with a small line. Even at peak times, it is no more than ten minutes.
I took the short walk to the nice waiting area around Continental's two gates. There was an ERJ parked at each gate, one for Newark, and one for my flight to IAH
A couple minutes after I sat down, a friendly gate agent walked up and handed me a planeside luggage tag for my carry on. The OKC
Continental staff was very good about tagging everyone's bags early so there were no delays during boarding.
We started boarding about 25 mins before scheduled departure, with the same friendly gate agent scanning our boarding passes.
The gate agents were very friendly, active, and on top of things.
FIRST FLIGHT OKC
Equipment: Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet.
Departure time (Scheduled/Actual): 8:15am / 8:10am
I personally like the fact that CO
decided to stock its regional feeder with reasonably comfortable ERJ's as opposed to the CRJ's, which I find less comfortable. Since I usually travel alone, getting a seat alone on the one seat side is awesome.
In general, the seats in regional jets are not as comfortable as on larger jets. However, the one-seat side on an ERJ is about as good as it gets. The fusalage cuts into the leg room just a tad, but this is true of all regional jets. In general, this is much better than being squeesed against the fusalage on a CRJ with a fellow passenger on your left. At least on the ERJ's, you can sit alone if you are flying alone.
Boarding was quick, and it was a full flight. The wheels left the ground about five minutes early on this flight of slightly over an hour to IAH
. In flight service was basic, a full beverage service and a small snack. At this point, I can't remember if it was a granola bar or pretzels. The flight attendent was friendly and efficient.
We arrived at IAH
about 15 mins ahead of schedule, waited about five minutes for our gate to open up, and de-boarded about five mins early.
In relation to other domestic express carriers, this coach service was good.
CONNECTION AT IAH
Since both of my flights were going to be operated by Continental Express, I was fortunate to not have to change terminals. My gate-checked bag was waiting for me right as I left the plane. The "express" terminal consists of four "Banjos" eminating from a central point. Each "banjo" has 10-15 gates specially designed for regional jets, and a large central waiting area. This is a very good setup for a large regional jet operation.
The only issue I have with the setup is that you have to make a reasonably long walk to the "center point" to find a bathroom and food vendors.
As soon as I departed my flight, I walked to the center, which ended up being pretty crowded. The food and bathroom facilities were adequate, and I used both.
I checked the large flight monitors and walked down a different, yet identical "banjo" to get to my connecting flight.
I would have to rate the express terminal at IAH
It is a little crowded an enclosed, but it is better than many regional terminals and concourses I've visited.
SECOND FLIGHT IAH
Equipment: Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet.
Departure time (Scheduled/Actual): 10:50am / 10:55am
Boarding was called about 15 mins before scheduled departure, and boarding was quick and efficent. I dropped of my carry on at the door of the aircraft again just as before.
This was the same plane-type as I had on the previous flight, and I had a seat on the one-seat side again.
Service on this flight was similar to the first flight except for one huge surprise......LUNCH!!
I didn't know airlines served free food at all anymore, much less a 1.5 hour flight from IAH
. On an express carrier no less. The fact that CO
serves free food on meal-time flights sets them apart in the airline industry. The meal consisted of a turky sandwich on a small baugette, a package of baby carrots, and a fun size candy bar.
There were also TWO! drink services on this flight, and the flight attendent was friendly and effcient. She was also very friendly and helpful to a passenger that had accidentally spilled his drink.
I have to rate the in-flight service on this leg as A++
We arrived at BNA
about five minutes early, and again, my bag was waiting for me at the door of the aircraft as i disembarked.
Continental Express is the best regional jet carrier I have ever flown. The fact that they serve free meals on meal-time flights is awesome.
Also, I've found that express Flight Attendents are usually younger and more frindly than on mainline flights.
Overall, I rate the whole experience an A.
Since my return itenerary was on Northwest, this is all I have to review on this trip.