After receiving the news of a death in the family less than 18 hours before. I booked a round trip on CO for under $500.00 USD SEA to SYR. Normally I take the Redeye to the east coast out of SEA just to avoid the typical problems of EWR at 5pm however this time. Just getting there was the important point.
SEA => EWR CO 1580 737-800 20A
Arriving at 530 am at Sea-Tac, I checked my bags and made my way through Security. SEA's new Casual and Expert TSA lines are worth a good comic post on their own. Passing Security I head off to the B gates to check whats going on. All the way out to the end, Several HA 763's are waiting for the departure. CO has a pretty busy morning. IAH and EWR are on tap and WN is on the east side of B and well they are always interesting to watch.
Boarding is easy and painless. CO still boards by rows rather than First, Elite, and everybody else like some carriers... Yeah you NW. Anyway luck would have it. The Middle Seat is empty again! What luck. Briefing, pushback, start-up and taxi all go quickly. We let on UA 737-500 roll in front of us and we roar down the runway into the beautiful Gray Seattle Sky. At 3500 feet we break into the clear. The Mountains clearly visible over the marine layer nothing but blue sky above. Not a bad day to fly. Beverage and a Snack come next, Orange Juice and the breakfast tray. Egg and cheese bagel, fruit a small muffin and yogurt. Its small, but its a warm meal thats free at FL370. Actually its pretty decent. CO has gone to Jimmy Dean branded sandwiches for breakfast. The Flight went great. I didn't watch the movie I was more interested in distracting myself with the window and my PSP.
After a rather uneventful flight. We actually landed 10 minutes early at EWR...
That was obviously to good to be true. After clearing the runways, we come to find our gate is still occupied. So its off to the Ballpark. Those of you who have been to EWR have a pretty good chance you have seen the, or been to the ballpark. After 35 minutes its off to our gate. So much for getting in early... Deplaning takes about 7 minutes to get to row 20. Now for the new fun of EWR.
Continental Express moved to Terminal A this spring and this would be my first experience with it... Luck would have it our arrival gate was 72 the shuttle bus is next to gate 71. Perfect. A short walk to the shuttle bus and in less than a minute we are told to head down the stairs and hop on the bus. 12 of us most all from the SEA flight grab a seat and we off to the south end. Not a bad ride. A decent view of Terminal B which at this point is loaded with International Aircraft. 2 SK A330 BA 772 LH A340, 744, Among others.
Now for the shock of a lifetime... After about a 5 minute bus ride. We pull up to Terminal A. I climb the stairs and I am met with probably 300 people standing in line to get on the shuttle to Terminal C. Down the Hall into the Center of Terminal A and Good God there are alot of people crammed into a small terminal. I finally find a Bathroom and locate my gate for SYR.
I walk up to Gate 26 in time to hear boarding all rows for SYR. I run down the jetway to find I am but the third person on the plane. I did notice. it is extremely difficult to hear any announcements in the gate area. As they generally have three flights at one gate. A word of wisdom if you are on COEX pay close attention to whats happening, i.e. hang up the cell phone.
EWR => SYR CO 2589 ERJ145 12A
After the Terminal shock I settle in to my seat we board up and push early. Not that pushing early matters at EWR at 5pm... From my window during push I could see the line building. Once we got moving the Capt announces we are number 17. Hey its EWR I've been there before and expect nothing less. 30 minutes of watching arrivals and departures out the window we line up and are on the way. I have always found during any flight near NYC people are always looking out the window and pointing landmarks out to others. Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty etc. Today was no different and the weather was great for taking in the skyline.
The trip to SYR was like it always is, fast and easy. A quick drink service and we are on a long Base leg for 28 at SYR. Landing with out incident we taxi to the gate and deplane. Off to Baggage Claim to fill out my lost bag claim form. The 30 minute connection at EWR does it every time. But on the plus side. CO still send out delayed bags via private courier. When I woke up the next morning at my parents house the bag was at the front door.
All in all this is pretty typical of what I get on CO. EWR at evening rush is a parking lot with a runway. The delayed bag is no big deal since they deliver it. I departed SEA about 5 minutes early and arrived in SYR about 15 minutes late of scheduled time, Thats pretty damn good in my book.
However the Return trip is a different story, and one where CO really shined in a situation that kept going down hill fast.