First trip report-be kind!
24 August 2005
Continental Airlines CO1817
Flight time: 6h00m
Getting up at four in the morning is NOT fun. Especially when all caffeinated drinks are in short supply. I still had not fully woken up by 0445, when we began the drive from our home in Westchester County to EWR.
Traffic was light, obviously for this early hour, and we managed to get to EWR by 0545 (a record) without getting lost.....
Lucky us, no bags to check in. There was a 100m-long line or so to have the bags screened. We walked right in.
The machines provided by CO checked us in rather quickly, but my dad had mispelled my mother's maiden name, which caused a few problems.....
We grinned as we watched the long long long check in line move at one metre per hour and went up to security.
We stopped grinning. Security was long, slow, and tiring. The TSA employee looked at my IDs (Canadian passport, South African ID Card) and asked me why I had not applied for U.S. citisenship. I tried to explain, but she said "Just go to the left, whatever...."
My bad luck: I got chosen for some extra screening. As the weird security guy ran over my body with the black instrument, I thought about how overboard this security thing might be....no other country but Israel is so strict......and Israel does have an excuse. Soon enough, 9/11 will become an excuse for everything. Freedom of speech? Nope, sorry. 9/11! Abortion? No, 9/11! Clean environment? Sorry, 9/11! Those 3,000 who died did not die for this.
After the debacle known as US airport security, we made our way to Starbucks (or as my sister says, Star-steals-your-bucks) for coffee (YES! Caffeine!) and muffins.
I watched my fellow passengers. Most of them were old people in tour groups or a guy with his wife and three kids. We were one of the only groups with no adult male. Just Mum, my sister, and I. And no hot girls .
We quicky went to Gate 83. They hadn't started boarding yet. I looked at my fellow passengers and groaned. Not one, not two, not three, but EIGHT annoying small children. I never behaved like that. If I did, I'd face my mother's wrath (NOT GOOD). At least there was one little boy who was being good....
Boarding started at about 7:10. We were seated in Row 5 (first row in Y). It turned out we were supposed to board last-we got on anyway.
The flight attendant, a graying bald man with a goatee and a nasal tone of voice, welcomed us aboard Continental Airlines flight 1817, with nonstop service to Vancouver, BC, and so on.....
Take off was at 8:00 (a record for our experiences from EWR, last time, we were stuck on the taxiway for 45 minutes). A smooth takeoff.
We climed out over the Hudson River Valley and Upstate New York, then over Lake Ontario. Then "Breakfast" was served.
The tea and the muffin were OK. The "egg and cheese muffin" should have actually been called "two pieces of rock with squishy rubber and melted plastic." The yoghurt had the colour, consistency, and taste of liquid soap. I didn't even touch the orange juice, but it looked more like vomit. At least they made an effort.
The movie today was Sahara. Boring. So instead my IFE was One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Great book!
I was surprised how often the F/As came around with drinks. I was quite impressed with CO for doing this, considering how many "better" airlines (read: BA) didn't do this.
Soon enough, we spotted the snow-capped mountains of the Rockies and began to prepare for arrival. I filled out mon carte d'embarquement en francais (to annoy my sister) and we soon began to descend into YVR.
Landing was smooth, NWA employees pulled us in into Gate 81 and we made our way to the short immigration line, then to the taxi rank to get the cab to our hotel.
Check-in: 10/10 (Maiden name problem handled well)
Terminal C: 8/10 (better than Terminal B)
Service: 10/10 (all the tea)
Meal: 1/10 (they made an effort)
Comfort: 10/10 (nice seat)
31 August 2005
Continental Airlines CO1818
Flight time: 5h20m
After a fabulous week in BC, climaxing in a climb on a glacier in Whistler and again at a dim-sum place in Vancouver, it was time to go home.
We arrived at YVR, in the same cab we left it in. Check-in was handled by a very fast-talking NW agent and we made our way to US customs....
I have never gotten the point of going through US Customs in Canada. To me, it is a pointless extravagance. Why can't the US do it?
But anyway, customs was quick, and soon I got a coffee from Star-steals-your-bucks and went off to spot and read In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, by Alexander McCall Smith.
We boarded through Gate 81. We were in Row 6, next to a quiet Israeli family and in front of three annoying Southerners (sorry to all those from the South) who were talking in a slur.
Take off was on-time and smooth.
The meal, lunch, was then dished out by the fat, grumpy F/A, who basically threw it at us. The tea, the pasta salad, and the mini pizza were OK, but the packadged biscuits were disgusting. Better than last time, though.
The BC field hockey team was on board, and were acting wild. They were picking up every teenage girls phone #, except for my sister's, whose good taste reigned over her hormones....
Movies were Fever Pitch and Madagascar. Both were watched and liked by me.
The sun began to set over Lake Ontario and all too soon, we landed at EWR. We got our car and drove home.....
Main Terminal: 9/10
Service: 6/10 (the rude F/A)
Meal: 7/10 (a lot better than last time)
166/200: 83/100: B