This is the return of my other post (http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/113031)
Again, I am not that guy that photographs everything so it's not a 'proper' (geeky ) trip report.
We arrived at McCarren to a relatively empty check in area. Passengers are asked to use the machines in front of the check in desks before going forward. This was quick and simple, it even offered us seats on an earlier flight (for $25 each) but as it was leaving in only 45 minutes or so, we decided to stick with our original flight as we had no idea how long the security checks would take. After moving upstairs in the terminal we found a wide open and fully staffed checkpoint, at least 12 machines in use just for the D gates and it looked like a similar story for the C gates. No queue worth mentioning so in no time we were through. After getting some food and coffee we wandered down to our gate. I like McCarren, it is a nice bright place with good views out onto the tarmac. Boarding was suprisingly quick, economy passengers were basically boarded in 2 chunks but for whatever reason we were pretty much all in and seated within a few minutes. There was a short delay for a couple of late passengers, but our captain was on the PA keeping us informed. We pushed back slightly late but a sprightly taxi and being 2nd for take off meant we made up the time for departure. As on our EWR-LAS leg, the flight was originally scheduled for a 738 but as it was the day before thanksgiving, this had been changed to a 757-200 and was 99% full. I could see only 2 empty seats and again, the seats had plenty of legroom despite feeling a little old.
After take off, the seatbelt signs remained on a while due to a few bumps here and there. This also happened another couple of times as we made our way across to New Jersey. After a drinks service (again, soft drinks/coffee free, alcohol $5 each. This time the whole can offered and taken!) we were served a breakfast. This was a tub of cornflakes with some milk, a piece of banana bread and some raisins. In contrast to both our outbound legs, there was only 1 water run and one further drinks service before landing. The crew did not seem to be very happy working today (maybe due to being away for the holidays coming up or something similar) but were pleasant enough. Today's movie was Hairspray which was OK. We touched down pretty much on time and taxied in. As this was an internal flight, we were again quickly at baggage and once more, it started to come out pretty much as we arrived. Ours were one of the first so we had a little bit of luck. One thing to note if you are visiting New York and arrive to Newark is that a taxi to Manhattan will cost around $70. I would normally take the AirTrain but my wife and I had 3 cases between us and she was not feeling so good, so we took the easy way.
Newark Terminal C's check in area was pretty quiet when we arrived, so we were able to move straight forward to the machines and check in for our flight. Once more we were expecting problems at security and there was a longer line than our last time through, but it was moving quickly and the atmosphere felt lighter. We picked up some duty free and some small gifts and made our way down to Gate 135. This gate seems to be haunting me, our flight to Vegas left from and the return arrived at this gate. It is however not such a bad place to hang about, there are plenty of comfortable seats clean toilets nearby and somewhere to get a slice of pizza and a coffee. For some reason when boarding was callled from the jetway door, most of us did not hear it and it was only when one of the agents came over to tell us all that we started. This meant no boarding by rows but in the end we were only about 50-60% full in economy so it was no major problem.
This was one of Continentals refurbished 757-200s so all seats had a seatback tv. I did not realise until it was booted up that it was fully AVOD. The screens are touch controlled, with the exception of brightness, power and volume buttons beneath it. As I cannot sleep on flights this was a real bonus for me. There were some 17 movies available, a number of TV programs (CSI, Simpsons, etc) games, radio and airshow. It kept me well entertained and the screen is angled, bright and big enough to easily watch movies even when fully reclined. I was once again in 18A and there were no boxes underneath the seat in front so there was no compromise on comfort. However there is quite a small box by the feet of the person in the middle seat and it did not give rise to any complaints from my wife. The refurbished seats looked newer and felt more comfortable than those on the other 757-200s. There was a drinks and dinner service shortly after take off. I treated myself to a beer and got an ICE cold but only 330ml Heineken. The meal was beef or chicken ( I had chicken, with rice, very nice) as well as a salad (with optional ceasar dressing) and 2 chocolate cookies. Like our other eastbound flight, there was only 2 water runs during the flight in contrast to the many that we had westbound. There was another drinks and breakfast service not long before landing consisting of a warm croissant and fruit salad.
Due to favourable winds we arrived a little early at Manchester. There was no queue for immigration and the bags were out in less than 10 minutes, but as this was first thing on Sunday morning I should hope so too! Continental represented good value for money, were clean, on time and have a good cabin service overall. If it all comes together (refurbed plane and the sort of cabin service we received eastbound) they could certainly be classed as excellent so I do recommend them if visiting New York or beyond.
Thanks for reading!