Hello all, I apologise for posting such an old report here, but when I made it I was not a member here. Now that I came across the report on my PC the other day I thought it'd be a shame to waste it. Se here it is, Part 1 of 3. Leg 1 of 3. I apologise in advance for the general poor quality of my photos. I was using an small inexpensive digicam that did not have image stabilisation..
Flight was in September 2004:
Continental Airlines Flight 37
Edinburgh Turnhouse International to Newark Liberty International
Scheduled Departure Time EDI: 10:00 Local.
Scheduled Arrival Time EWR: 12:30 Local.
Actual time of departure EDI: 11:30 local.
Actual time of arrival EWR: 14:05 local.
My day started at 5am. I was nervous. Today was the day of my first Trans-Atlantic flight in 10 years and only my second one up till then, the previous being to Florida between June 10th and 23rd 1994. By 6am I was ready. I decided to head out to Edinburgh Airport. I packed my roller case (a small luggage bag with 2 wheels and pulling handle, like what you see F/A’s use) and briefcase. I double checked I had the confirmation print out for my Continental flights and Passport. Good, all accounted for. Money? in my wallet as I left it. All set. I put the keys in the ignition and started the car, I made sure all the lights were working and kicked the tires, a habit I got from my father and something I believe all drivers should practice.
Satisfied that my car wasn’t going to attract any attention I set off for the short 10 to 15 mile journey.
It was still dark as I entered the airport grounds, I chose the first long stay car park and parked up. It was foggy, wet and cool. Not boding well for the photos I has asked my spotter friend Joe to take I thought. I hoped it would clear. For most of that week it had been misty and cool in the early mornings and by 9am it usually cleared and was replaced by warmth and sunshine.
After a short ride on the courtesy car park shuttle I went to the Continental ticket desk, to find it was unoccupied. Not surprising as it was only 6:30am. I decided to go purchase something to read and return later. I grabbed the October edition of Airliners World and had a quick browse through. At 7am I decided to head back down to the ticket desk; this time it was occupied. As I walked towards it I passed the check in desk for my flight. Agents were busy preparing the First and Business class blue, “Continental First” logo embroidered, carpet. I handed over my confirmation sheets and the boarding passes for the 3 flights I would be taking that day were printed. They were:
CO97 – EDI-EWR
CO301 – EWR-FLL
CO9192 – FLL-NAS
The agent was very friendly and we discussed this service. She mentioned that it was very popular and was regularly full but that today I was lucky. Seat 31B was unoccupied affording myself in 31A and a fellow passenger in 31C some extra room. Later on boarding the plane I found it was one of only 3 empty seats. What luck! After getting the boarding passes printed I was told I could check in right away. Excellent I thought… there was only 2 other people there anyway. So off I went. I answered some security questions and then checked in. Sometimes I wonder if I have “mug” painted on my face as once I had finished checking in, I was picked for the random bag search. On reflection, I think that maybe being on my own, with no hold luggage and checking in for a flight to a destination I was scheduled to return from 3 days later was a little suspicious. I can't blame them really.
Anyhow, the search went quickly and nothing was found to be out of order which it shouldn’t have been anyway. After that and a quick chat with the agent performing the search I decided to head straight for the departure lounge. I wasn’t hungry, I had no one to say bye to so “why not?” I thought.
The security checks were the normal tight procedures. A few folk in front of me kept beeping so they were frisked but I cleared the checks quickly and found myself sitting at gate 3 in no time.
A BMI baby flight arrived, boarded and left in the time I sat there. 10:00 am rolled about and the CO 757 was still not to be seen. By then a load of Americans were sitting about moaning. I can’t remember the exact time but the plane eventually parked up and de boarded. Caterers and other airport services swooped upon the plane quickly like pack of wolves onto their prey.
By 11am we were herded aboard, myself getting picked again for a random bag search as I passed the ticket inspection. This time I had to remove my shoes, well trainers for inspection (that's `sneakers` in American talk) to prove I hadn't fashioned them into some sort of grenade. Which, after the previous years antics of a Brit on an America bound flight seems pretty reasonable.
When I look back on it, I'm pretty sure they targeted me for those searches due to my lack of luggage and relative short period at my destination. But, it didn't bother me. I was happy to oblige and was happy to see they cared for our safety. After the search, I was allowed to board and I took my seat (31A). On it, arranged neatly, was a blanket, a cushion and a pair of earphones, I picked the items up and then settled down. As expected seat 31B was vacant, affording me space to place my cushion and blanket. The leg room was quite generous. I estimate 31-33 inches in pitch.
(The water bottle I placed in the seat pocket makes it appear smaller)
I was able to stretch my legs fully and quite comfortably. The headrest on the seat was vertically adjustable and the “wings” of it could be folded out to provide support and stop you getting a stiff neck. In the arm rest was the familiar 2 port headphone jack and a channel/volume control.
The entire boarding process was pretty quick. I’d say we were all aboard and seated in 20 minutes. Not bad for 170 or so odd people.
We pushed back while a safety video was played to us. Seems Continental don’t do live safety briefings. We taxied out to runway 06 and back tracked on the runway. The Captain explained that the aircraft was late due to an unscheduled equipment change the previous night in EWR. We turned around and as soon as we were straightened up take off power was applied.
(Here you can see what the weather was like)
It felt like a de-rated take off, I wasn’t pushed back into by seat as I had usually been on previous 757 flights. We lifted off quickly none the less and soon entered the thick soup that never did quite clear up from the early morning. The layer of cloud was quite thin and within a few seconds we cleared it, revealing a beautifully bright blue morning sky. There us just something about seeing the tops of the clouds that never stops amazing me. I spent a good ten minute just staring out the window. The cloud cover was total, so no chance of spotting land marks as we headed north west to the coast.
I was surprise to see the LCD screen fold down from the overhead lockers and immediately begin to show the first in flight movie, “The Tuxedo”. It could only have been 20 minutes from wheels up as it began to play. Immediately after that, the cabin service began with a drinks trolley. Soft drinks were free and alcohol was £1 per serving. Being a T totaler that didn’t bother me. A Sprite was my order and I was duly served with a clear plastic, Continental Airlines branded, cup.
Soon after the whole cabin was served with drinks the meal was served. This was about 50 minutes into the flight.
Chicken Cor’don Bleu with rice (spl) with a side helping of a delicious salad with a pepper cream dressing, a white bread roll with butter and for desert a sort of marble cake with cream on top sprinkled with coco. All in all very tasty. The chicken was succulent, the rice nice and soft with a wonderful sauce mixed in. The peas and carrots mixed into the rice were moist and tasted pretty fresh too. The Salad was also very fresh and crisp. The roll was fresh, crunch outside fluffy inside. For an airline meal in Y class I was pretty surprised by the quality of it all.
Another drinks service made its way through the cabin while we ate, followed by another shortly after the empty dishes were collected. I ordered apple juice with no ice on both occasions.
All in all the service was very friendly and the attendants were on hand all the time seeing to our every need. If it wasn’t for the seating arrangements, I might as well have been in business class I thought to myself as I looked out of the window and watched the clouds go by.
Another film began playing soon after “The Tuxedo” finished. I forget its title. Something about a college/university and a bunch of guys wanting to set up a fraternity. I never paid much attention to it. The view out of the window was more entertaining.
We hit a spot of turbulence around then. Not too bad, but a little shaky for a few minutes. It was interesting to watch the wing tip bounce up and down. I observed a few of my fellow passengers getting a little nervous. But once the turbulence passed the cabin became more relaxed again.
As we approached what I assume was the Canadian coast, a snack was served that consisted of a hot turkey and cheese sandwich roll and a scone with a small tub of jam and a portion of butter. The roll was tasty as was the scone. I find that often scones served in restaurants and other public places are dry and give you a sort of dry sensation on the tongue. But not this one.
(There was a little bit of mild turbulence again as I took this photo. So forgive the poor quality)
Another drinks service was conducted before, during and after the snack. I really can’t complain. Well fed and watered.
The Captain announced that we would be arriving a total of 90 minutes late. It was then my thoughts turned away from the sitcom playing on the overhead video monitor and onto the connection flight I will now be missing. The idea of spending a night in the airport terminal was not appealing. I had been there and done that and it is not pleasant.
As we approached Newark Liberty airport we got to see some marvelous views of the suburban part of the New York area with Manhattan in the distance. As we got lower the flaps were extended in the usual fashion, the gear came down and we dropped even lower. It was when we were at about 500 feet that I saw the airport to the left of me. “Impossible!” I thought. We then banked left and pulled off a Kai Tak style approach. It seemed like the wings had only just leveled off when we crossed the runway threshold and thudded onto the tarmac. Spoilers popped up, reversers kicked in and the brakes came on. We taxied past countless Continental Express ERJ 145’s and a few triple sevens, also from CO. We parked up and de boarded quickly. I had expected a long wait at customs and immigration but despite a 764 arriving (from Glasgow I think due to the large amount of Glaswegian accents that could be heard) and another 757 (possibly from Birmingham as I could make out a lot of English accents) at the same time.
After clearing immigration I collected my hold luggage (just that wheeled bag I mentioned at the beginning) and was told to go to a connection re booking desk. I was quite worried that I'd end up stuck at the airport. Irrational as it may have seemed. But my flight to Palma Majorca the year before left me stranded and this was my first flight since. So naturally there was than niggling doubt in my head.
As it turns out I was booked onto the next flight to West Palm Beach in no time at all. West Palm I believed was slightly further south in Florida than my original connection point of Fort Lauderdale. From there I was rebooked onto flight CO9291 to Nassau
I took a ride on a terminal buggy along with 5 other passengers and was deposited at gate C86.
And that ends Leg 1 of 3. I hope ya'll enjoyed it Leg 2 coming up soon.
[Edited 2006-02-05 10:53:29]