ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sat Apr 16, 2005 5:57 pm

Date: Jan 13, 2005

Origination Airport: Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)

Destination Airport: Nashville, TN (BNA)

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-IAH

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 a B+.
It is a little crowded an enclosed, but it is better than many regional terminals and concourses I've visited.


SECOND FLIGHT IAH - BNA

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 to BNA. 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.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

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.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
LPLAspotter
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:27 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:17 am

Very nice trip report. I'll remember CO express if I ever have a choice.

LPLAspotter
Nuke the Gay Wales for Christ
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 5:06 am

Quoting Ejmmsu (Thread starter):
The "express" terminal consists of four "Banjos" eminating from a central point

This terminal, along with Terminal "A" (which looks completely different today) were part of the original IAH as constructed in the 1960s. Both looked identical with the central tickets/baggage claim area and the four Banjos . . . I prefer spokes - coming off the corners. Very innovative and futuristic for the 1960s.

OK, history lesson over.

Great report. I've always enjoyed CO Express (and CO as well), I think they ahve the best "regional" service in the sky. I would hardly call a IAH-BNA flight "regional" . . . they also run IAH-CLT with the ERJs.

I also prefer the ERJ to the CRJ - like you, being single and traveling alone most often, the single seat side is the hot ticket.

Regards.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
AirWillie6475
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:45 pm

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:37 am

I agree with you that Express flight attendants are better and more enthusiastic about their work. Maybe its because they have shorter flights. Too bad Continental doesn't have express service where I live. I had no idea that regionals offer real food on flights. Based on your experience, would you fly a ERJ for 2+ hours?
 
FlyingTexan
Posts: 2998
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2003 8:30 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:36 am

Thank you for the TR.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 2):
I would hardly call a IAH-BNA flight "regional" . . . they also run IAH-CLT with the ERJs.

Continental Express has redefined regional with the 3.5 hour flight to Palm Springs and the 4 hour trek to Boise, both from Houston. There is also Dulles and West Palm. United Express also operates IAH-IAD with the Embraer 170.

Although the former are smaller cities, they are not ‘regional’ distances. Dulles is not a small market nor is it anywhere in the region of Houston.
"Wouldn't your boss like to fly home nonstop at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon?" -Airline Exec to Congressional Staffer
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:46 am

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 4):
Continental Express has redefined regional with the 3.5 hour flight to Palm Springs and the 4 hour trek to Boise,

My point exactly - these "Regional Jets" are no longer doing "Regional" work. That 4 hour "hop" up to BOI from IAH is clearly not a regional run . . .

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 4):
United Express also operates IAH-IAD with the Embraer 170.

And I don't classify the EMB170-195 class as a "Regional" Aircraft. Rather short haul airliners . . . they're nice too.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
UAL747
Posts: 6725
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 5:42 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:37 am

You are right about the OKC airport. Massive improvements over the old terminals. The airport is being COMPLETELY demolished and rebuilt. The new concourse wing that is open is AMAZING for a city our size. It's quite modern, open, and airy. Much better than the old terminals.

You can view the new airport at:

www.flyokc.com

UAL
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:16 pm

I wouldn't mind an ERJ for flights up to three hours, espescially on the one seat side.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
Tom in NO
Posts: 6725
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 1999 10:10 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Tue Apr 19, 2005 12:21 am

Quoting UAL747 (Reply 6):
Much better than the old terminals

The old terminal did its job very well, and had one very distinct advantage over the new terminal.....namely the observation deck.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
UAL747
Posts: 6725
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 5:42 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:12 am

The old terminal was dark, low ceilings, and looked like a disco nightmare with all that mirrored ceilings and walls. Might as well put a disco ball in there to finish it off.

UAL
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
10mid
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 5:15 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sat Apr 23, 2005 5:26 am

Quoting Ejmmsu (Thread starter):
The meal consisted of a turky sandwich on a small baugette, a package of baby carrots, and a fun size candy bar.

You're fortunate you didn't get the salami and crackers.
 
ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:46 pm

COex serves salami and crackers too?
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
UAXDXer
Posts: 700
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2004 3:36 pm

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Mon Apr 25, 2005 3:39 pm

Ejmmsu,

Very good report as I too fly COex frequently from OKC. As longs as Continentals fair is within $50 of the lowest ticket price I'll pay the extra $$$. However, in June I'll be taking UAL to SLC. I was shocked to see that the OKC-DEN leg is on a 757. Guess United is running out of places to send the '57. I ain't complaining tho  Silly
It takes a bug to hit a windsheild but it takes guts to stick
 
ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

RE: OKC-IAH-BNA On Continental Express

Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:46 pm

UAX,

I was also very suprised when I saw that UA was sending a 757 to OKC. OKC doesn't see 757's very often. After your flight, you'll have to tell us what the load factor was.

From looking at the schedule, the 757 is one of two RON's, the other a 733 that arrives later and leaves earlier.

If I remember correctly, DEN-OKC used to be almost exclusively 735's. Now I think its a mixture of 733's 735's 757's and BAE146's.

Hope you enjoy your trip!
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"

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