CO1186: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
CO66: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – Shannon Airport (SNN)
I had spent 3 weeks visiting my family and friends in the Windy City but alas, all good things must come to an end as they say. This year Continental Airlines (Economy) was my carrier of choice to get me from Shannon to Chicago and home again, of course, with a connection in Newark, NJ.
During the course of my stay in Chicago (only a few minutes’ drive east of O’Hare), I went to the airport for a few hours spotting.
Flight Information Display System at International Terminal 5
Advert from the IDA promoting Ireland (international terminal)
I spent a night at the Holiday Inn and Suites next to the airport as I attended a wedding nearby. In the lobby of this hotel was a FIDS showing all departing flights from ORD that day (even codeshare flights):
Anyway the morning of my flights home to Ireland came and I checked-in on Continental.com. I was checking 2 bags so paid the $45 here as I would have to pay $5 more at the airport.
I’ve been quite unlucky so far with CO. Last year when I showed up at ORD for my flight home I was told that I would be rerouted through Paris with Air France because storms in New York meant I would likely miss my connection to SNN. Then this year I missed my EWR-ORD connection due to a late arrival from SNN. Hopefully this trip would go smoother…
I got dropped off at Terminal 2 at 15:30 CDT by my uncle and grandmother and approached the CO desks to drop off my baggage. One bag was overweight but the other was well under the limit so the very friendly agent asked me to balance them out. I frantically swapped some of the contents of one into the other and she gave me the all-clear. She then asked me to scan my boarding passes under the self-service screen at the desk. I thanked her and took my bags over the TSA screeners who took them for me and I walked down to the end where there’s a nice little CO-only security area.
On my way down, to the left of me I noticed what looked like a huge camera with TSA agents behind it watching a screen. A sign nearby informed me that they were testing out new security equipment. When I got to the security area an agent told me to go to Terminal 1 because this facility was reaching capacity. So I headed out the door and turned left for the very short walk to T1 which was literally next door. There are no landside restaurants/bars/concessions at Terminals 1, 2 or 3.
Security was just inside it and primarily served United Airlines passengers who are based in T1. A member of staff was at the front of the line making sure all my documentation was in order and because there was no one behind me she started asking how my trip to Chicago was and her views on former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich who is currently being tried (for a second time) for corruption. She was so nice and friendly, I doubt she was a member of the TSA though.
The line for security took about 5 minutes and another inspector at the front called everyone by name as he handed back their boarding passes and passports. The new full-body scanners are at ORD and there was one in operation here. When my time came, just as I was walking through the normal scanner, an agent started to ask to do the full-body scan but then said “never mind” when he saw that I was going through the regular one. So I escaped the full-body scan this time
Time to boarding was getting close so I went straight to the gate, Gate B3 which is in Terminal 1.
My aircraft, Boeing 737-824 N76265 awaiting departure back to EWR
It was an unusually overcast day in Chicago.
JetBlue Airways flight B6924 – an Airbus A320 going to Boston
I was thirsty so I walked to gate B12 to McDonalds for a coke. When I got back they were already starting to board the flight. This was at 16:10 and the STD was 16:50.
B3/B4 gate area
I got in line straight away and was onboard in a matter of minutes. I sat in my designated seat, 22A and to my satisfaction, no one else occupied the seats nest to me and only 1 occupied the 3 seats across from me so it was almost like having a whole row to myself! Boarding ended just after 16:30 and the door was closed at 16:36. The estimated load factor was 50%.
Delta Shuttle flight S55946 – an Embraer ERJ-175 bound for New York-LaGuardia
Terminal 1, Concourse C
This was an older 737 model because it didn’t have seat-back DirecTV access like on my inbound flight
At 16:38 CDT the captain welcomed us aboard and gave us our flight details. He projected a flight time of 1 hour, 31 minutes which would land us in Newark about an hour early due to the powerful jet stream which was on our side. Pushback soon followed at 16:43, 7 minutes ahead of schedule. This would be my first time travelling east-bound on CO and my 6th time flying a Boeing 737.
Tuesday, 17th August 2010
Departure Terminal & Gate
Departure Taxi Route
Gate B3, A7, T8, T, T10, RWY32L
Weather at Departure
Overcast, winds W, temp. 80°F
Arrival Terminal & Gate
Terminal C, Gate C98
Arrival Taxi Route
RWY22L, N, PA, A, Gate C98
Weather at Arrival
Scattered cloud, winds N
Actual Flight Time
1 hour, 52 minutes
We began taxiing at 16:50.
A company 737-900 parked at Gate B2 which would depart at 17:10 as flight CO647 to Houston
Delta Connection – a Bombardier CRJ700 which would later depart to Cincinnati as flight OH6374
US Airways flight US751 – an Airbus A320 arriving from Brussels via Philadelphia, still in its old colour scheme
American Airlines 767 with winglets
United Express Embraer ERJ-145 in the ExpressJet Airlines livery
9 minutes later we were on Runway 32L (shortened to 2,952m since I was here last – this used to be ORD’s longest). I departed on this runway when I was at ORD in 2009 too – from the same taxiway (T10) – when I was on AF51 to CDG. We entered the runway but paused for a while before rolling. Behind us an Iberia Airbus A340-600 serving as flight IB6274 to Madrid departed on a perpendicular runway and made an immediate turn right:
We were airborne at 16:59 and immediately turned right towards the east.
We never came out of the clouds during climb and it was quite turbulent at times as a result. 30 minutes in the captain came on again and informed us of an early arrival at EWR – 19:20 EDT, about 1 hour early due to the strong tailwinds. At this time the snack/bar service started. We were each served a turkey or ham roll with crisps and a small Twix along with a drink of our choice. The flight attendants were very courteous and friendly.
An article in Continental Magazine promoting Ireland. The other page is promoting Mexico
We finally came out of the clouds about an hour after takeoff.
Before I knew it, the descent began. A sudden burst of quite rough turbulence was experienced around this time.
At 18:57 EDT the captain made his final announcement informing us that we were 147 miles from EWR and he said it was windy on the ground with temperatures near 90°F/31°C. He told us our gate would be C98 for connecting passengers.
“Final approach” was called at 19:10 which was ridiculous because we wouldn’t land for another half hour.
At 19:32 the landing gear was lowered and the crew announced more turbulence was anticipated as we got closer to the runway.
We were treated to great views of the New York skyline as we approached from the north:
Statue of Liberty
We landed on 22L at 19:35 EDT.
After coming off the runway at Taxiway N, we stopped to let a departing CO 757 takeoff on Runway 22R.
Virgin Atlantic Airways A340-600 waiting to depart Terminal B to London as flight VS2. The OpenSkies 757 in the background was bound for Paris-Orly.
The LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 767-600 would depart for Rzeszów later that evening
This Lufthansa A340-600 would later depart back to Munich as flight LH413
A Singapore Airlines A340-500 that would operate SQ21 to Singapore; EWR-SIN is one of the longest flights in the world
We arrived at the gate at 19:43. I now had over two hours to kill before my connecting flight to Shannon, flight CO66, was scheduled to leave.
Gate C98 is at the end of the concourse so there was just one way to go after I came off the plane. As I approached the nearest flight information screen to check the gate for my next flight I saw a few other flights being boarded.
CO48 to Mumbai
I saw that the earlier flight to SNN (CO24) had already departed. The screen showed the SNN flight being boarded through Gate C92. For my own interest I also checked where the Dublin (CO126) and Belfast (CO94) flights would be boarded from. DUB was also down as Gate C92 and BFS was C95 – just across the way.
When I got to the gate it was showing “CO110 London-Heathrow Departed” – the gate was closed but the aircraft (a 757) was still there. I asked one of the three gate agents if indeed the SNN flight would board from here because the DUB flight was also listed for this gate and that was to leave just 5 minutes before mine. “Yes sir, flight 66 will be boarding from here”, after tapping on her computer. “But it says Dublin will be boarding from here too and both flights leave within 5 minutes of each other”, I said. “Both of those flights will board from this gate sir”. I thanked her and walked away in puzzlement knowing well that it would be impossible.
As I walked off I heard one of them say “let’s get out of here fast” – obviously not in the mood for any other passenger queries!
Sure enough after about five minutes it showed CO126 to Dublin, but quickly changed to CO66/Shannon by itself. Then came an announcement – “attention in the concourse: this is a gate-change announcement. Flight 126 with service to Dublin will be boarding through the doors marked C80 and not C92.
Coincidently, the SNN, DUB and BFS flights were all boarding from the same area.
The codeshare partners for this flight would be LH and UA.
Looking towards Terminal B
The terminal gradually got quiet – there weren’t many flights going out at this time of night except for the mostly international ones.
Taking a dig at our Duty Free prices!
Terminal C sometimes resembles a shopping centre – a rather pleasant one at that!
When I got back to the gate the “On time” sign had disappeared and now read “Now 11:30” – an hour and a half late no less. Still though, it could have been worse. The new gate agent made an announcement saying that our aircraft was being serviced and that they would have no new information until the aircraft arrived at the gate.
Just across from my flight
I stayed next to the window for about an hour to see if our aircraft, scheduled to be a 757-200, came by but no such luck. By this time it was about 22:00 – our original time of departure.
Unlike my inbound CO flight from SNN, there were a lot more Irish people on this one. Almost half Irish, half American I’d estimate.
So 23:30 came and went with no sign of the aircraft and by now there was a queue forming at the desk with passengers wanting to know what was going on. An announcement came: “Attention passengers travelling on flight 66 to Shannon: your aircraft is currently being serviced, our new estimated time of departure is 12:45 but we will not know for sure what time the aircraft will depart until it arrives at the gate and the crew are on board. Shortly we will be distributing meal vouchers so please have your boarding passes ready.” Meanwhile the flight crew were sitting across the way where the BFS flight had earlier departed in a secluded spot free from annoying passengers.
About ten minutes later we were asked to approach the desk with our boarding passes. We each received an envelope with a $6 voucher for any food vendor in the terminal, an apology from former CEO Larry Kellner, a Continental Currency coupon (which entitles you to a free alcoholic drink on board/$15 off Duty-Free purchases totalling $75+), a travel discount coupon (10% off my next flight!) and a comment card.
Needless to say I made sure I used up the full $6 at McDonalds as no change was given.
By this stage the terminal was virtually empty. I noticed there was also a substantial delay to flight CO76 going to Bristol. Looking up my flight status the night before I learned the 757 that would carry me home would be arriving from Phoenix first. This was not the case.
Finally, at about 00:30 we saw our bird approaching the gate. It was 757-224 registered N17139. The crew boarded immediately and an announcement came that boarding would be imminent.
When boarding was finally announced by row starting with the back, it didn’t matter – all people in the boarding area got up and got in line. The agents made numerous announcements “ladies and gentlemen we only ask passengers seated in rows xxx-xxx to come forward at this time”. It didn’t work though. I myself was on board at 00:45 EDT. Boarding was through Door 1L of the aircraft.
At 01:04 the captain made his announcement – “well, another on-time departure(!)”. He informed us that the aircraft had earlier arrived from Shannon (flight CO25) “broken” and the maintenance workers spent all day fixing it.
Wednesday, 18th August 2010
22:00 EDT (17th August)
01:08 EDT (18th August)
Departure Terminal & Gate
Terminal C, Gate C92
Departure Taxi Route
Gate C92, RH, B, D, V, AA, RWY4R
Weather at Departure
Arrival Terminal & Gate
Arrival Taxi Route
RWY24, A, Gate 8
Weather at Arrival
Fair, winds SW
Actual Flight Time
5 hours, 51 minutes
Push & start was at 01:08 EDT and we began taxiing at 01:13. On our taxi to Runway I noticed some construction vehicles on Runway 4L/22R doing work – rubber removing? That runway was obviously closed with big flashing “X”s at each end.
We held position briefly on 4R as an aircraft landed but we took off immediately after at 01:23. The lights were turned off before takeoff and remained dimmed for the rest of the flight. I was sitting next to a New York couple who were on their first trip to Ireland. Their Irish friend recommended going so they were going to rent a car on landing and drive around the country.
Dinner was served about 45 minutes after takeoff. The options were chicken teriyaki or beef teriyaki. I had neither as I was drifting off at that stage. The confirmed load factor for this flight was 100% in BusinessFirst and 91% in Economy.
I woke up at about 11:00 IST with only an hour. I opened my window blind and it wasn’t dark anymore – far from it:
The crew were halfway through their breakfast run but I just had an orange juice when they came to me. I didn’t catch what they were serving for breakfast. Cruising altitude at this time was 37,000 feet according to the Flight Map.
We soon cruised passed the Aran Islands on Ireland’s west coast and I knew I’d be touching down very soon. At 11:35 IST the captain wished us good morning and informed us of our descent into Shannon. We’d be landing there in 25 minutes.
Because of the nice day outside we were offered exceptional views of the countryside. The woman I was sitting next to said “my God, the whole country’s like a golf course or something…so beautiful”…I was like “well, we try
”. The only nuisance I have to deal with using my American passport to get home is filling out that immigration card which is basically asking for the same information that’s on your passport. These cards were distributed about an hour before landing.
It was obvious at this point we’d be landing on 24
We had a very smooth landing on Runway 24 at 11:59 IST with very light braking action. Two minutes later we were at Gate 8 shutting down the engines.
There were three Aer Lingus aircraft on the ground (an A320 at Gate 6 serving as flight EI384 to LHR, an A330-200 at Gate 7 getting ready for departure to Boston as flight EI133 and an A330-300 at Gate 9 which had earlier arrived from New York/JFK – flight EI110). There was an Onmi Air International 757 in the middle of the airfield also.
There were Servisair staff lining the sides of the aircraft as we arrived preparing to prepare the aircraft for a speedy on-time departure. This flight would later depart on-time at 13:20 IST as flight CO67. There was a slight queue at immigration in the non-EU passport line – the EU passport line had none. The officer at the desk smiled when he saw where I was from. It turned out he lives just 2 miles from me in the next parish over. Small world indeed. After claiming my bags I met my uncle who would drive me home. By this time the new Limerick Tunnel had opened bypassing the need to go through the city so this cut about 20 minutes off the journey from the airport to my house where I was being dropped off in less than an hour.
Thanks for reading!
Check out my previous trips:
46. Aer Lingus EI125 SNN-ORD (Direct - Few Pics) (by AmricanShamrok May 9 2008 in Trip Reports)
47. Aer Lingus EI124 ORD-SNN (pics) (by AmricanShamrok May 30 2008 in Trip Reports)
48./49. Aer Lingus First: Avod To Chicago (ORD) [pics] (by AmricanShamrok Aug 25 2008 in Trip Reports)
50./51. Aer Lingus EI124 ORD-DUB-SNN [with Pics] (by AmricanShamrok Nov 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
52./53. A Continental Experience: Transatlantic & Beyond - Pics (by AmricanShamrok Aug 13 2009 in Trip Reports)
54./55. AF (& WX) ‹‹Voyageur›› ORD-CDG-SNN (lots Of Pics) (by AmricanShamrok Sep 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
56./57. Aer Lingus Domestic (SNN-DUB-SNN) On The A330+pics (by AmricanShamrok Feb 13 2010 in Trip Reports)
58./59. London Baby! (SNN-LGW-SNN) With Ryanair+pics (by AmricanShamrok Mar 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
60./61. US Customs In Shannon, Ireland + CO To ORD (pics!) (by AmricanShamrok Aug 19 2010 in Trip Reports)
62./63. Delay With Continental: ORD-EWR-SNN (With Pics!)