My brother and I decided to fly down to Houston for the weekend to see the Yankees take on the Houston Astros for the first time in Houston. We live in Brooklyn so we didn't need that much time to get to La Guardia Airport. After a twenty minute drive on the BQE and Grand Central Pkwy we pulled up to the Central Terminal B right at the beginning of the departure level, since Continental leaves from the A gates. We checked in using a kiosk which was very easy and a nice lady checked in our one bag.
We still had about an hour until our flight boarded so I made my brother wander around the terminal with me to take pictures. He was less than thrilled. The airport seemed surprisingly busy for 11am but it was a Friday and it was La Guardia airport, which for those of you who have flown in or out of here know that it is ALWAYS busy. I noticed a nice line forming down at the base of runway 13 and I started to worry. Maybe it will clear out by the time we leave, I thought.
There are some nice big windows in the terminal B before you go through security which offers some decent shots of the gates and runways 13/31. Today I saw a mix of planes and airlines including Spirit, American, Delta, US Airways, Continental, Air Canada, United, Northwest, Air Tran Midwest, Jet Blue, and of course a ton of regional jets from US Airways, Delta and American Eagle.
At around 11:20 we headed through security at the Gate A concourse which is served by the following airlines to the following destinations:
La Guardia Airport, Central Terminal B, Concourse A
• Air Canada (Montreal, Toronto-Pearson)
• Air Canada Jazz (Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto-Pearson)
• Continental Airlines (Aruba [seasonal], Cleveland, Houston-Intercontinental)
• Continental Express operated by Chautauqua Airlines (Cleveland)
• Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines (Cleveland)
• JetBlue Airways (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach)
Security was fairly easy. Only took about ten minutes and we were through without a problem. Now for a little complaining. For those of you who have been in this terminal at LGA you will know why I am complaining and for those of you who don’t, you will now know. The central terminal has 4 concourses A-D. Each is a narrow long hallway essentially. The concourses are cramped, dark, dirty, and there are barely any windows. If you are lucky enough to find a window, chances are it is too dirty, or it has tinted plastic over it making it impossible to see outside. Needless to say it’s not very conducive for spotting. We made our way down the concourse to the middle-end and on the right was our gate, A5. I managed to get one shot of our plane although the gate cut off the front part of the aircraft.
We boarded right on time at 11:30 and my brother and I made it down the jet way on to a very hot plane. It was in the 90’s in NYC that day and our plane had just arrived from Cleveland. Obviously the crew did a poor job keeping the aircraft cool in the hour that it was on the ground. After some mild complaining from passengers the crew took action. They asked us to close the window shades to keep the sun out. Of course I did not close mine, as I was busy watching all of the action on the tarmac. Flight time was announced at 3 hours and 27 minutes. We pushed a couple minutes early and began to crawl towards the end of runway 13.
We did the ziz-zag taxi across runways 4/22, past the Marine Air Terminal (Delta Shuttle) and passed Donald Trump’s 727 which is parked in a remote spot. We didn’t move for a few minutes and then we pulled off the taxi way and joined two American MD-80’s in a remote parking area. The engines powered down and I knew we were in trouble. The pilot came on an announced that we were number 23 for takeoff. 23 for takeoff in the middle of the day with absolutely no weather delays anywhere in the Eastern U.S. There was a chorus of groans and boos and some cursing. I slumped back into my seat as I have done so many times leaving a New York Airport and just sighed. I have been much worse off than number 23. I was once number 62 leaving JFK and number 93 leaving La Guardia last summer in the midst of terrible thunderstorms across the eastern half of the country. So needless to say, I was prepared for the delay. We were only setback about 45 minutes which is not so terrible. Around 12:40 the pilot powered on both engines. We taxied back on to the taxiway and following a Delta 757 bound for Atlanta and a United 737 bound for Chicago, we took our place at the end of runway 13. We waited for a Delta MD-88 to land on intersecting runway 22 and then it was our turn. Full power, decent length takeoff and we were off. We were heavy with a full load and lots of fuel to get to Texas so climb out was a little slow at first. We did a complete circle around the airport and then flew back west across Manhattan before turning southwest and heading towards Houston. I got some nice shots of LGA and NYC…
After 15 minutes the seatbelt sign went off and the flight attendants got up and started getting ready for their service. It was announced that lunch would be served on today’s flight. There was no IFE at all. No TV’s and movies on the old 737’s! Oh well, my brother did homework and I listened to my iPod and read a book. Drinks came around. Everyone got a full can without having to ask and a bag of pretzels. About an hour into the flight they served lunch. It was a plastic tray with a hot turkey and cheese Panini, served with mayo. It came with a salad, dressing, a small Hershey’s bar and another bag of pretzels. Can’t complain about a free snack/meal when most airlines will give you nothing or charge you for processed snacks. One of the perks of flying CO is getting these snacks/meals on most flights just over 2 hours. Delta only serves peanuts on their JFK-IAH flight, so the sandwich and other snacks were appreciated. After lunch I settled into my seat a napped a little. The flight was very smooth and uneventful. There was another drink service and a water service towards the end of the flight. The CO flight attendants work hard on every flight i've been on. I’ve seen attendants do less work on a 9 hour flight from Europe.
We made a smooth approach into Houston and turned up from the South.
Landing was smooth and we made it to our gate finally after taxiing all around the airport. This allowed me take a bunch of cool pix however including a bunch of the midday arrivals from Europe at terminal E. We only ended up being about 20 minutes late in the end. Not bad at all.
We got our bag quickly and hopped in a cab to our hotel downtown. It was a great weekend in sweltering Houston. Despite it being 100 degrees everyday we did a lot and had fun and the Yankees won all 3 games! Here are some pictures from Houston...
THAT’S ALL FOLKS! Hope you enjoyed my first report. More reports to come soon. Flying to SEA next week from JFK on DL and returning on CO to EWR...
Go Yankees (FOREVER)