Usually when I make my monthly trips between ATL and MSY, I choose DL. DL has eleven daily flights in the market, so chances are there’s always a flight leaving when I need one. Also, since FL is in the market, the fares, with advance purchase and depending on the season, can be very reasonable….from time to time less than $180 USD. Also, I have around 20K SkyMiles, so I’ve been trying to stick with DL whenever possible to build up that account. Overall, I like DL’s product…it’s a far cry from what it was just a few years ago.
This time, however, I was thinking about taking either CO or US, carriers which I have not flown on for at least four years (in the case of CO, six). US would route me via CLT on a pair of A320’s…CO, via IAH, on an ERJ and 739. I almost decided on US, but eventually changed my mind to CO, because for all I know, the CO name might not even exist next time I choose to fly them. I wanted to make sure I got on CO one last time. The ATL-IAH and IAH-MSY flights would mark my 49th and 50th flights all time on CO/CO Express.
Flight CO 3100
I’ve always enjoyed my previous flights on ERJ’s as I think getting an “A” seat is a pretty comfortable way to fly. Sure enough, I managed to snag seat 6A on this flight, was not full. Boarding started at 12:55pm, and push back was on schedule at 1:15pm. Announced flying time was 1h52m. I didn’t particularly care for the Flight Attendant on this flight…she was just sort of “going through the motions”, and didn’t seem all that interested in what she was doing. No big deal, just an observation. The flight was smooth the entire way. In flights service consisted of a cup of soda (or juice, or whatever your poison might be) and a bag of pretzels. We touched down in IAH around 2:15pm local time and it took us about fifteen minutes to taxi to gate B69. I was off the plane by 2:35pm. Here are a few pics from CO 3100…not much to take pictures of on this flight...although the scenery on the ramp in IAH was interesting.
I caught the Terminal Link train to the station for Concourses D and E and made the walk to get E14 for my connecting flight to MSY. The plane, inbound from CUN, was just finishing unloading when I got there.
Flight CO 33
Flight 33 originates in CDG with 777 equipment…of course, it’s a “change of gauge” flight, so the IAH-MSY sector is operated by a much smaller bird. I did hear a few French speaking passengers at the gate, so perhaps they took advantage of this “direct” service from CDG to MSY. Anyway, boarding started at 3:10pm. I had seat 36F on this one. To my delight ship #410 operated this flight which was one of the 739’s with the new DirecTV system installed. Not that it’s of much use on a 46 minute flight, but it was neat to play around with. My overall impression of the system was a good one…95 channels is a lot…however, there was no moving map, and there were no free channels after the free preview ended. This was only my third flight on a B739, and this was the first time that I sat this far back. You can really tell what a large plane this is from row 36…hard to believe it was actually a 737. The seats were comfortable however pitch seemed very tight. Push was on time at 3:40pm. The safety announcement was introduced by Jeff Smisek and “Rhapsody in Blue” briefly played in the background once his speech ended. After taxiing past a couple of 777’s with the “UNITED” titles…something I think I’ll never get used to…we were airborne by 4:00pm. Cruising altitude was 27,000 ft. Beverage service started about fifteen minutes after takeoff and by the time the passengers in the last row got their drink, descent had started. We touched down on runway 10 at MSY at 4:46pm and parked at gate D-5 just minutes later. Here are the pics and videos from CO 33.
Takeoff video link:
Landing video link:
I used to fly Continental extensively in the ’04-’06 timeframe during my non rev days working in MSY, and they always treated me very well. So I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for the airline. The planes were always clean, the crews always professional and courteous, and the service was genuine. I realize this is a time of transition for the airline and a time of uncertainty for many employees…but for the most part, everything went off without a hitch. I hope the new United manages to successfully blend the best of both airlines into a truly great carrier, but I suppose time will tell. And if flights 49 and 50 were indeed my last ever flights on Continental, all I can say is so long and thanks for the memories.