So just as the title indicates, this is the second trip report that I'm posting on the EWR-TLV route. I flew this route back in 2006.
First, the flight details and background:
Friday, June 27, 2008
CO84 - EWR-TLV
Aircraft: Boeing 777-224ER - Tail #: N76010
STD: 1605LT (Local Time)
Seat: 32C (Exit Row Aisle)
Load Factors: C Class: 100%. Y Class: 100%. Literally no open seats on this flight.
Check In at Newark:
I arrived at Newark's Terminal C at 1330LT. Like usual, a large concoction of Asian and European travelers bound for their various respective destinations awaited the long line to check in for their flights. Tel Aviv, of course, included. That meant I'd be waiting on the line for a good while. 40 minutes roughly. I already checked in online through CO's website. I locked in 26K at home through this system. I was hoping for row 16 or 32. Sure enough it was my turn, and I stepped up to the counter. Behind the counters stood CO employees, along with "handling company" employees. The lady told me to swipe my passport and she tagged my bag. I asked if row 16 or 32 was available. I showed her my JFK Port Authority ID. I explained that I work at JFK. I thought this may help me out. She told me they were already taken, etc. Blah blah blah. Fair enough, I know how check in works as I worked as an agent for two years.
Down the escalator and through TSA I went. No duty free was necessary this time around. I proceeded straight to Gate C138. C138 is located in the "newer"" wing of Terminal C. The gate was screened off like usual for the Tel Aviv flights. I entered the gate area at about 1455LT. A bunch of "underpaid" security employees checked all passengers and their belongings as they entered the gate area. The gate agents made announcements to "check in" before boarding. I got on the "check in" line. It wasn't as if we were going to be boarding any time soon. I stepped up to the counter and asked the lead gate agent if I could have an exit row. I explained to him that I work at JFK and showed him my ID as well. His response to me asking was, "Sure, you came at a perfect time." He ripped up my 26K boarding pass, and handed me a new boarding pass reading 32C (Exit row aisle). Awesome!
The jet bridge at C138 wasn't attached to any aircraft. It was an empty gate out on the ramp. Our bird, N76010 was being towed from Terminal B. It arrived to the gate quite late, at about 1540LT; 25 minutes after we were to commence boarding. I stood in the gate area patiently. The crew started arriving slowly. Finally the flight deck crew arrived; Three males in all. I hesitantly approached one of the two FO's, Dave. I introduced myself and spoke about my flying aspirations. He introduced me to the PIC Thomas Curtain. The third FO was chatting with the crew. I asked if I could come up for some photos of the flight deck. They were pleased to say yes. They said I could as well in Tel Aviv upon arrival. I knew we were running behind schedule, so I didn't expect a visit to the flight deck while in North America. I figured it would be at our destination. FO Dave asked for my seat number. I told him 32 Charlie. He said he'd come back and get me during boarding if they were free for a few minutes. In short, they didn't come to get me in Newark. I went right up when we arrived. We boarded at 1550LT.
Here: Various shots of a different CO Triple Seven...
|A shot of a different CO Tripple Seven.|
|The best part of a 777: The nose section. The prettiest of any aircraft in my opinion.|
|The mighty GE90 engine. Looks great on the ground, sounds great at moderate to full thrust on takeoff.|
Push Back, Taxi, Holding Pit, Takeoff:
We pushed at 1657LT and taxied for a few minutes. It seemed like we weren't going anywhere. Twenty minutes after we started to taxi, Captain Curtain informed us that we would be placed in what's known as the "holding pit", along with a few other flights. This was attributed to the bad weather along our initial route out of Newark and up the Eastern seaboard, towards Canada. In short, we sat for one hour and 25 minutes or so. At 1828LT we started moving again, and, within 30 seconds the GE's powered up, and we powered down 22R for a full length departure. The best feeling in the world. Even better, I'd imagine, if you're at the controls.
Other than the delay in Newark, the flight was pretty much uneventful. In fact, it resembled the previous experience that I had two years back. Very very friendly and professional crew, fair to poor food, and an awesome triple seven ride. One new touch to N76010 was that it was equipped with the VOD system, which was touch screen. Nice. By the way, one bad aspect to exit rows on Continental's 777 fleet is that there is no window. I knew this when I accepted the seat at the gate. This prohibited me from taking videos of the takeoff and landing. The window is in the door, so the angle is pretty bad if you want to take pictures or videos. About 35 minutes after departure the cabin crew commenced the drink and dinner service. Standard and nice. I only took a picture of the breakfast service. It wasn't that bad actually. The crew went around frequently with water and drink services. In the back galley area, there was an assortment of drinks and snacks for passengers to take at their leisure. Nice touch.
|Not too bad. It was decent.|
The flight passed by rather quickly, and before I knew it, we were approaching the good old Tel Aviv coastline. Six minutes after that, we touched down with a few light bumps on TLV's runway 12. We arrived at the gate two hours and eleven minutes late. So much for an early start in Israel. No worries though. Anyway, as passengers began deplaning, I walked straight up to the flight deck. The pilots remembered me, and apologized for not being able to have me visit back at EWR. I completely understood and thanked them for allowing me up to begin with. First officer Dave offered to take a picture of me in the Captain's seat. I gladly accepted. He also said, "Would you like to wear my jacket and hat?" I laughed and nodded, thinking he was joking. He responded by saying he was serious, and he let me wear his jacket and hat for the photo.
A photo of me in FO Dave's "uniform". Good thing I had my sunglasses with me to complete the look.
|Myself in the "Left Seat" of the awesome 777-200ER. On the ground in TLV. Disregard the polo shirt... haha|
This trip over to TLV was a pleasant one. As usual with Continental Airlines. Thanks for reading all! I'm sorry I didn't have more pictures on this post. I will try to add the rest soon.
By the way, Bill, if you read this, too bad to have missed you at EWR and/or the flights. Hope to see you next time.