This is my first trip report, and actually my first post to airliners.net ever. Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think.
Oh, one other thing--I don't eat meat, so if you're wondering what CO
's vegetarian meals look like, then you've come to the right place my friend.
Soooo....onto the fun stuff:
I recently flew DTW
. My itinerary was (more details about each flight below):
My first flight left DTW
at 8am. I arrived nice and early to have an opportunity to walk around and see where the other planes were going. As usual, DTW
security was a breeze, and I was in the "secure" area within 10 minutes of arriving at the McNamara Terminal. I immediately headed down to the light-and-sound tunnel and over to the B-concourse to my gate, B8
(I think this is the blurriest pic I've got)
There was an EWR
flight across the hall at B5
, a Scranton PA flight at nearby B3
(in case you were itching to visit Joe Biden's hometown), and a Pittsburgh flight at nearby B4
. Yeah, I know, not exactly exotic destinations. Oh well...we were surrounded by NWA regional jets. Also, as usual B7
was empty--I remember flying out of B7
a lot when McNamara first opened, but now I barely see it being used. Overall the airport was really quiet.
Anyhoo, I digress....back to CO
1489, my first flight from DTW
Continental 1489, DTW
October 4, 2008
, Arrived IAH
Here's a view of our plane from inside the terminal:
I was fortunate to get a first-class upgrade to seat 1A. I've never sat in that seat before...typically if I get a first-class upgrade I'm near the back of the cabin. As you might imagine, it was not a full flight. I boarded as soon as first-class boarding was announced, and I didn't have to walk very far to get to my seat. Here's my seat:
The flight attendants were super-friendly on this flight. They were all smiles as the passengers came aboard, exchanging such pleasantries as "Good morning." and "It's nice to have you onboard this morning." I generally find CO
's flight attendants to be friendly, but these people seemed *particularly* happy to see us. And it was 730am on a Saturday!! So kudos to them. Same was true of the pilots...they introduced themselves by name over the PA, and would later greet everyone as they left the plane. It's so great to see people to who take such pleasure in their jobs.
Initially 1B was empty, but then they moved some folks from economy class up to first, and some dude sat down in 1B. I'm not exactly sure why these folks got moved up right before the boarding door closed, but oh well.
We pushed back a few minutes early, and taxiied past the old Smith Terminal on our way to the runway. There were 2 US A319s parked at the old US gates at Smith, as well as a NK
A319 parked there as well (but not at the old NK
gates at concourse C. For those of you who don't know, the Smith Terminal closed on September 17, 2008 and was replaced by the new North Terminal, so I was surprised to see RON's still at the Smith. Apparently there isn't enough space for them near the North Terminal quite yet. I assume that'll change when part of the Smith is torn down.
Take-off was smooth and uneventful. About 30 minutes after take-off they started the breakfast service. First they offered a beverage. I chose orange juice:
The choices were the standard domestic first class choices: cheese omelet or cereal. I chose the omelet. Sadly (as I would learn later while coming back to DTW
) breakfast is the only meal of the day where you can guarantee vegetarian options in domestic first class, at least for non-transcons.
I like the way that they serve you the meal first with the omelet, potato-broccoli-thingy, meat, yogurt, and fresh fruit, and then come around separately with the warm breads. Nice touch. I chose the biscuit. Here's my breakfast in its entirety:
And a close-up of the main attraction. I am a big fan of the potato-broccoli thingy, despite my use of the word "thingy" to describe it. It's a nice alternative to regular potatoes:
The meal was delicious. I appreciate that the fresh fruit was so varied...it wasn't just some sad, tired-looking piece of melon surrounded by a moat of grapes.
On our way down to Houston we flew right over MEM
While flying near MEM
I looked down and saw a NW
CRJ zoom by in the opposite direction...its main identifying feature being the red tail. In about three seconds it appeared and then was gone.
Our descent into IAH
was very smooth, as was our landing. We landed on the opposite side of the airport as our gate, so we had a somewhat long taxi. Eventually we parked at C35. As people were de-planing I asked the flight attendant if she minded if I stayed onboard for a few minutes to take some shots of the cabin. She said sure, and the first-officer overheard our conversation and offered to let me take pictures of the cockpit too! So, here's what I have to show for my efforts:
Economy class cabin, CO
735 (sadly kinda blurry...not enough light, I think):
Cockpit of CO
A big thanks to a great CO
So I made my way into the C-terminal at IAH
and learned that my connecting gate to HNL
would be E18:
Here's a pic of the inside of the E-terminal:
One thing that I really love about CO
's hubs (at IAH
, that is) is that there are flights going *everywhere*. At IAH
you get to see tons of Latin America flights, and then at EWR
you get to see tons of European flights.
I was at IAH
during a morning bank to Latin America, and so I walked by flights going to Cancun, San Pedro Sula, Acapulco, San Salvador, Guatemala City, Belize City, and the list goes on. *This* is what makes being at the airport so exciting!! Also, the daily flight to Tokyo-Narita (CO 7) was departing from E7:
Here are some other shots of the Terminal E ramp:
The aircraft in the background is ship #66 that would be taking me to HNL
(and back from HNL
, as it turns out):
So after some walking around, I made my way over to E18:
View of the high-E-gates:
Continental 73, IAH
October 4, 2008
Boeing 767-400ER (High-density configuration)
from E18, Arrived HNL
Here's our aircraft being loaded up with valuable cargo to HNL
Boarding commenced around 1050am with BusinessFirst passengers, and then Elite Status flyers were invited to board. I was seated in 14A, in the mini-cabin on the high-density Continental 764ER's. I liked being in the mini-cabin, though according to seatguru I was supposed to have some extra legroom...I dunno, it didn't seem any different to me than when I've been on standard 32" pitch on CO
's 767s. And I'm pretty short, so that certainly wasn't it.
Here's a shot of the mini-cabin during boarding:
Like many people I'm a big fan of the Boeing Signature Interior on CO
's 767s. I find the cabin to feel more spacious and newer (and cleaner) than on 767s with the older interior.
So 11:25am (our scheduled departure time) came and went, and around 11:35 the captain came on the PA to say that there was a mechanical issue onboard and that we'd be delayed for a little while--apparently they were having trouble closing one of the cargo doors. We finally pushed-back at 11:58am and quickly made our way to the runway and we were off!!
About 30 minutes into flight the first drink service started, along with a pretzel appetizer. We had one flight attendant assigned to the port side of the mini-cabin. Unlike the F/A on the other side of the mini-cabin, she didn't serve with a cart, which meant that she was constantly hurrying up and down the aisle back to the galley, which was right behind row 15. And, naturally, she was carrying drinks while hurrying. I was seriously just waiting for an orange juice to end up on someone's lap. She was definitely nice, but there was just a lot of hurrying going on.
After the hurrying had ended, lunch was about ready to be served. I very much appreciate that CO
still serves hot meals on their Hawaii flights, as well as domestic flights more generally. I especially love CO
's vegetarian meals. They contract with Jyoti, an Indian grocer. I find their dishes to be the best vegetarian food that I've ever gotten onboard an airplane (disclaimer: I've only flown US carriers)....delightful curries, tofu, channa masala, basmati rice, etc. Plus they typically serve them with vegan cookies for dessert (from the Sun Flour Baking Co.) which are also really tasty. These meals are in a totally different league from the stale pasta with runny red sauce that I've received on other airlines. I think the best part is that the vegetarian meals are clearly not an afterthought...it's not like the people at Chelsea were saying "Damn, we got this vegetarian dude at 25E...alright let's see what we can scrape up."
One thing about the special meals, though, is that they serve them before the rest of the meals. So I find that you get no warning...no cart appears a minute before you get served. Rather, one minute you're sitting there enjoying the scents of the cabin, and the next minute a flight attendant appears with a special meal and is ready to throw it on your lap, unless you lower your tray table at the speed of sound.
Here's the meal that I enjoyed: Channa masala, green peas and carrots in a red curry, basmati rice, salad, and a German chocolate vegan cookie. Very tasty!!
We flew over Mexico on our way to Honolulu. I'm not entirely sure how they decide whether to over-fly Mexico and pay the required fees to the Mexican government, but in any event they did this morning. They may have done it this morning in order to make up time inflight (given our late departure). If anyone can shed more light on that decision, I'm all ears.
As usual the CO
crew came through the cabin a number of times offering water, and they would also give you other drinks and/or pretzels during flight if you asked. I've generally found that CO
is very good about offering refreshment throughout the flight.
I spent much of the flight doing work. I find that I'm able to work really well on airplanes. It's basically like being in a coffee shop at 35,000 feet, but without the Internet distracting me, and with some pretty amazing views. So, it's actually *better* than a coffee shop.
View of our flightpath:
View of the mini-cabin during flight:
About an hour and a half before landing the crew came through with a snack service. Again the veggie meal came first, which was a veggie burger with soy cheese on top. And again I was very impressed--this was not some sawdust-filled burger-like substance like some other veggie burgers...you could see *real* veggies inside (peas, soybeans, carrots, etc.). For those of you who know about veggie burgers, it reminded me of Dr. Praeger's California burgers...mmmmm, tasty! It came with another vegan German chocolate cookie:
Shortly after the meal we started our descent, and I was able to capture some great shots of Maui:
And the wing of our beautiful 767-400ER:
At this point we were starting our descent about to land:
Prior to touchdown:
The air-force base:
Upon touching down, we taxiied over to gate 24 and de-planed pretty quickly. Given that I was seated right near Door 2L, I was really off the plane quickly.
Welcome to Honolulu:
One thing that's really unique about HNL
is that part of the airside is outside. Gate 24 is one of the gates at HNL
that has its own private entrance, and so as soon as you exit the waiting room you're outside.
Here's a view of our plane at Gate 24:
So I had about 4 hours before my return flight to IAH
(this trip was solely for miles), which I learned would be on the same airplane. So I walked around HNL
and took a bunch of shots. Because many of the walkways are outside, it is possible to get some great ramp shots up-close-and-personal:
757, 777, 767 awaiting departure to the mainland (777 was going to ORD
, not sure about the other two):
757 to LAX
, 764 to EWR
View of central concourse with AA
Outside walkway to gates 6-11:
More of that walkway--I love the way it looks like a curbside check-in area (and probably was one at some point??), but it's actually all airside, and each gate has its own entrance and special holding room. The only downside is that there aren't many places to eat around these gates. This part of the airport, like much of the airport, looks like it's straight out of the 1970s, too:
Map of entire HNL
A333 to MSP
and 757 to somewhere:
Red and blue tails:
757 flight just after push-back (not sure where it was going--maybe LAX
Side-shot of CO
's ship #66 that would be taking me back to IAH
Cargo bay of ship #66:
767, love the contrast of the colorful plane against the concrete walls:
Garden in the middle of the airport (again, all airside...a very unique feature of HNL
, at least among other US airports):
After walking around a bit more, it was time to get back to gate 24 for departure back to IAH
Continental 2, HNL
October 4, 2008
Boeing 767-400ER (High-density configuration)
from Gate 24, Arrived IAH
Boarding had already commenced by the time I got back to Gate 24. They checked all boarding passes at the entrance to the waiting area, rather than at the entry to the jetway. So there was a line at the entryway, but then they didn't even check my BP
when I entered the jetway.
Anyhoo, this time I was also in the mini-cabin, but I had the bulkhead seat 10L.
View of the bulkhead from my seat:
Fun fact: On the way *to* Hawaii, they play Hawaiian music and show scenes of the islands on the PTV's when you're boarding. On the way *from* Hawaii, no such luck--instead it's the standard "Welcome Aboard" message, as seen here (I caught this in mid-transition):
We were served a "light dinner" about an hour after take-off. This was the same exact meal as I received prior to landing on the way to HNL
. Again, I very impressed with the veggie burger, and this was my third vegan German chocolate cookie of the trip:
I slept for most of this flight. I woke up at a few points, and was able to capture a few shots of our flightpath. This time we did not overfly Mexico:
About an hour before touching down the F/A's came through with a light breakfast: a delicious carrot muffin and the drink of your choice. I had coffee. I really liked the muffin--it was very moist:
Soon thereafter we landed and taxiied to E4
, our gate. We arrived at the gate one minute late. I had actually slept pretty well, so unlike many red-eyes I didn't feel too groggy as I got off the plane. Our plane would be on its way back to HNL
in a little over 2 hours, as CO
I had a long layover to my next flight. The time was now 7:45am, and my return flight to DTW
didn't leave until 1:04pm. Fortunately I had a free pass to the President's Club, compliments of Chase. These free passes are the *only* perks that are worth anything (beyond miles, that is) with that CO
Chase credit card.
I had never been in any of the P-Clubs at IAH
. I decided to try the one in the E-Terminal, as my connecting flight was scheduled to leave from E-22. So I made my way over there and grabbed a seat on the top floor overlooking the ramp.
They had breakfast food all laid out--I had a bagel with cream cheese, an apple, and some coffee. This is the first time I've been in a P-Club during breakfast hours, so it's nice to see some "real" food there, as opposed to just cheese and crackers like they have the rest of the day.
Here's a view at table-level looking outward:
Here are some shots of the inside of the P-Club:
And a few shots of the aviation-themed artwork inside the P-Club. This first shot is actually four separate canvasses. The artist is, according to the plaque nearby, a long-time CO
The glare kinda sucks on this one, but oh well:
So the view from my seat was absolutely amazing!! I could see all planes from gate E7 all the way over to E18. I took a bunch of shots.
There's the daily 777 to NRT
in the back, again leaving from E7 (just like the day before):
I had an especially good view of gate E12, as I was sitting right above it. This plane was on its way to San Pedro Sula, Honduras:
The 777 to NRT
after push-back. I love this shot because it shows the contrast between the size of the human being (look to the left of the front landing gear) and the size of the gorgeous 777:
A little while later I would see CO
72 from HNL
arrive at E18, and then pushback on its way back to HNL
73 (I told ya I had a long layover). Here it is on push-back--again another beautiful side-shot, as well as a comparison between human and plane:
Meanwhile gate E12 saw the arrival and departure of a 735, and then the arrival of one of CO
's new 737-900ER's:
Tail shot of the 737-900ER:
Around 12:30 I decided to make my way to my departure gate, which was still gate E22. My plane was coming in from Calgary.
Continental 1088, IAH
October 5, 2008
Boeing 737-800 (20/132 configuration, with mid-cabin lavatory)
from Gate E22, Arrived DTW
(I end where I began...how philosophical)
Here's a shot of our plane at E22:
When I got to the gate I took out my boarding pass and I was in for a big surprise! My boarding pass still said economy class on it, but my seat number was not my original seat of 10F, but instead said 5F on it! For some reason I hadn't noticed that before, even though I had printed out my boarding pass the night before, and especially since it didn't say "First" on it. But I happened to be on a 20F-configured 738, and I had indeed received a first-class upgrade! I was really surprised about that, given that I figured Sunday afternoon would be a prime travel time, and given that I was booked into the lowest-possible fare bucket. But oh well...I wasn't complaining!
Here's a shot of the first-class cabin:
And here's a shot from my seat, looking backward at the starboard wing/engine:
We pushed-back a few minutes early. Here's a shot of our gate. Though the font is kinda small in this picture, you can make out "DTW
" and that the next plane at this gate would be going to PHL
1676 (the later PHL
flight is 1776...don't ya just love airline humor):
I also took a few shots as we taxiied past the rest of the E-gates. This 762ER just arrived from LHR
Behind us while we taxiied was another beautiful CO
777 that had just arrived 44 minutes early from NRT
My seat at P-Club was on the top floor:
And one more:
We had a short wait to take-off...we were #7 for take-off. Although, this was actually the longest wait that I experienced the entire trip, but nothing compared to being #36 for take-off at EWR
this past May.
After take-off the F/A's started a lunch service. First I had some coffee and mixed nuts (and when they say "mixed" they mean it....it's not a giant collection of cheap peanuts with one cashew for good measure...there was a whole bunch of cashews, almonds, and peanuts in there):
Unfortunately for me they didn't offer any vegetarian options for lunch. The two options were a cheeseburger or a grilled chicken salad, both offered with split pea soup. I figured I'd get the salad and soup and just take the chicken off of the salad. Yet, unfortunately for me again, by the time they got to row 5 of first class there were only cheeseburgers left.
So I just ordered the split pea soup, and it also came with fresh fruit. Later on I would learn that the joke was on me, because it was really split pea with ham soup (despite being advertised as just "split pea"). I was so hungry that I decided to pick around the ham...actually, besides the ham the rest of the soup was pretty good. Here's a shot of my lunch:
This time our flightpath took us right over IND
, so I was able to get some great shots of the new terminal, scheduled to open this November:
Here's a shot in which you can see both the new terminal in the center and the old one on the left:
We made our way up to DTW
, and we actually flew north past DTW
and then did a 180 and landed. Here's an overview of the airport, with the McNamara terminal on the right, the old Smith terminal in the center, and the new North Terminal (replacing the Smith Terminal) on the left:
And that's it...we landed and had a loooong taxi over to gate B8
. I ended where I began.
Thanks for reading!! Please let me know what you think.