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8 Flights, 5 Days, 4 Airlines: Part 2

Sat Jun 25, 2005 3:11 pm

8 flights, 5 days, 4 airlines: Part 2


I was looking at taking the 10:00am Southwest Airlines flight from MSY to STL via HOU, but both of those were nearly booked to capacity; so, after doing some searching, I went ahead and booked myself on CO, as they said I would have no problems getting on either flight.

I arrived at the terminal for 11:00am and checked in at the CO counter. They had a few people in line, most were using the check in kiosks, and they had a few in the first class line. The agent quickly checked me in and told me to proceed to gate D3.

Continental Airlines
Flight #522
Boeing 737-800 (with winglets)
Departs: 12:30pm
Arrives: 1:44pm
Load: F 14/14, Y 89/141

I had seat 3A on this brand new 738. Boy did those winglets look good on her. First Class quickly filled to capacity as it usually does on this route. Coach was not too full. The old and kind of bitter flight attendant served us a pre departure drink then took our drink orders for the in flight beverage just before we pushed back from the gate. The safety demos were done by the f/a�s on this flight, which is not common for this aircraft. We pushed back right at 12:30 and were airborne by 12:34 off of runway 1. Very short takeoff roll, maybe 4,000ft. tops. I got a couple of pictures on initial climb out over Lake Pontchartrain and one as we passed over the Mississippi River at maybe 8,000ft. Should they come out ok I�ll post some in this thread. Flying time was 50 minutes at 28,000ft. We pretty much hugged the Gulf of Mexico coastline the whole way to IAH. En route all First Class passengers were served two more rounds of drinks and some pretzels. It got cloudy once we began our descent. It looked like a hot, hazy day in Houston�pretty typical for the summer I guess. Our final approach took us over what appeared to be a large man made lake with a train bridge crossing it. Very smooth landing, and we parked at a gate on the E concourse, E8 I think, a few minutes early. This plane was continuing on to SEA.

I took the 12:30 out of MSY instead of the 1:30 �cause I really didn�t feel like rushing to make my connection in IAH, which is what I usually end up doing. I made a good choice today as my connection to a CO Express flight to STL was leaving from B65. I took my time and found the inter-terminal train, made my way over to B, and got some lunch. At about 2:15 I headed down the hallway to B65 and watched a few ERJ�s leave for SHV, GPT, etc.

Continental Express
Flight #3240
Departs: 3:55pm
Arrives: 6:10pm
Load: 50/50

I was given a seat at around 3:40pm after the gate agent got the ok from the ramp. The flight was initially weight restricted but everything turned out ok in the end. I was given 15C, window seat on the two seat side. I forgot how comfortable the CO ERJ�s are. I think those seats are just as good if not better than some mainline aircraft. Just a neat little plane, a two hour flight in one of those is a breeze for me. Pushback was about five minutes late. It took us a good twenty minutes until we became number one for departure. We were airborne by 4:30pm. Bumpy ride out of Houston until we got to around 10,000ft. The captain announced the flying time of 1h45m at 31,000ft. Around twenty minutes after takeoff the flight attendant came around with a snack which consisted of a small sandwich (turkey or ham), a bag of chips, and a bag of M&M�s. And it was still free. God bless you Continental! After I downed the food I listened to some music and just enjoyed the ride. We were flying next to a UA Express CR7 on final into STL. Landing was pretty good. Taxied past the Missouri Air National Guard F-15 station before coming to rest next to a Northwest CRJ and DC9-50. Enjoyable flight. CO (mainline or Express) does an excellent job!

My friends picked me up and we went straight to their house. I had a nice meal of BBQ ribs and we watched a movie in this neat home theater that they built, complete with surround sound speakers, actual movie lighting, and a 66 inch screen. It�s pretty much the coolest room I�ve ever seen. After that we played some poker before I called it a night. Long day tomorrow I figured, and I was right.

Alyssa dropped me off at the STL main terminal for 8:00am. I had a good hour to kill before my meeting, so I took the opportunity to roam the terminal. I took a couple of pictures, had some coffee, and bought a St. Louis tee shirt for my friend from France. The meeting started a little after 9 and lasted until 3:30. Then, I took the Metrolink to the East terminal and checked in for WN�s 5:55pm nonstop to BHM, connecting to MSY.

Southwest Airlines
Flight #794
Boeing 737-300 (new colors)
Departs: 5:55pm
Arrives: 7:20pm
Load: 127/137

Very full flight today. I ended up with a �C� boarding pass, but no bother. It was going to be a short flight anyway. Flight 794 arrived from MCI early at 5:25pm. It took longer than usual for the passengers to deplane so we didn�t start boarding until 5:40pm. Still, WN did a great job and we went out right on time. I had seat 12B on this one. Taxi time was maybe five minutes and we were off following a NW DC9-30. Great in flight service as usual. What did I do on this flight? I slept pretty much the whole way. Those new leather seats are really comfortable in my opinion. We approached BHM and buzzed the mini skyscrapers of downtown before landing. The pilot in command used an extreme amount of braking to make a high speed turnoff. It was really impressive�and excessive. Everyone on board just had this weird smile on their faces and lots of people were laughing. Don�t let anyone tell you that an old -300 can�t stop on a dime. It can, trust me! We were the only Southwest jet in BHM at the time. This flight would continue on to TPA and it had 39 through passengers.

BHM was pretty dead at this hour. They were showing WWE wrestling on the television�s which I thought was interesting in an odd way. I found the cute and friendly agent working flight 634 to New Orleans and she promptly gave me a �B� boarding pass. A lot better than �C� that�s for sure!

Southwest Airlines
Flight #634
Boeing 737-300 (new colors)
Departs: 8:15pm
Arrives: 9:20pm
Load: 84/137

This flight operates MDW-SDF-BHM-MSY. 61 passengers boarded here in BHM and there were 23 through passengers on the plane. I found an empty row in the back and took a seat. Flying time was scheduled to be 44 minutes at 26,000ft. Push back was on time, and we were airborne by 8:22pm. Every passenger received a drink service on this short, short flight. Peanuts too of course, but I passed on those, as I started to feel kind of sick in BHM, not sure why. Anyway even though this flight was great, I was happy to get off the plane due to my sudden sickness. We landed onto runway 19 about ten minutes early and parked at gate B4 next to a Northwest A320 in the new colors. Once again, I have to say thanks to Southwest for the great service. They are really a class act, regardless of what people say.

Thus concludes a very long week. My next trip will probably take place in August when I fly up to SEA for a concert. Until then, happy flying, and stay tuned for pictures from some of these flights should they turn out ok.

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