Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 483

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 112

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 112

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /misc/20/334/450/285/9/user/web/simairline.net/messageboards/includes/bbcode.php on line 112
[phpBB Debug] PHP Notice: in file /includes/functions.php on line 3760: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /includes/bbcode.php:483)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Notice: in file /includes/functions.php on line 3762: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /includes/bbcode.php:483)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Notice: in file /includes/functions.php on line 3763: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /includes/bbcode.php:483)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Notice: in file /includes/functions.php on line 3764: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /includes/bbcode.php:483)
SimAirline.net - Message Boards • View topic - Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit

It is currently 12 Dec 2018, 12:46

All times are UTC [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 16:52 
Offline
Management/Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 21:08
Posts: 7673
Location: Warwick, England
Date: 1 August 2009
Airline: Continental Airlines
Flight No: CO5
Departure Airport: London Heathrow (Gate 409, Runway 27R)
Arrival Airport: Houston Bush Intercontinental (Gate E4, Runway 26L)
Scheduled / Actual Departure Time: 1205 / 1228
Scheduled / Actual Arrival Time: 1615 / 1649
Flight Duration: 10 hours 21 minutes
Seat: 43E
Aircraft: 777-200ER N77019

It’s that time of year again; time I leave the cold weather behind in England and stay at my Dad’s in Texas in the Sun for three weeks. The usual routine was to fly CO5 LGW-IAH, although last year CO5 moved to Heathrow and the flight out of Gatwick was reassigned to CO35. Continental is now operating solely to Heathrow, with operations to Gatwick now ceased. As such CO5 now operates from Heathrow with the 777-200ER, as it did when it flew out of Gatwick two years prior to that. A little confusing? OK, now lets move on to the trip report…

Exactly 364 days from my previous flight to Houston, and our fifth year visiting Texas in a row, we were used to the early morning awakening and long drive down to London. Thankfully Heathrow is not as far down the motorway as Gatwick, and the departure time was a civilised 1205 daytime flight.

Once we had arrived, it was good to see Continental use the tried-and-tested check-in desk as opposed to the automated services that more and more airlines are choosing to use. Although we queued up in the economy line, we could have used the EliteAccess check-in desks as our tickets were printed with Platinum status, as my Dad paid using some of his air miles. Nevertheless, we passed through passport control and did the usual: buy some breakfast and look round duty free. Unlike previous years we were actually taken in by the tax free savings and my sister bought a flashy watch. Afterwards we headed to Gate 9 which was close by to the duty free.

Boarding was delayed by about 15 minutes, although I got some good views out of the window. Each time I visit Heathrow I end up spotting an A380, and this visit did not disappoint. I sighted a Singapore Airlines A380 taxiing parallel to the runway. When boarding was called, we got on the plan quickly as we went on with other EliteAccess members. It was a shame we were turning right as opposed to left when we got on the plane. The 777 was set out in a 3-3-3 configuration, and I had the very middle seat. Coincidentally, it is the same seat number I had when I flew to Hong Kong two months earlier.

I was pleased to see that Continental had refitted the personal TV screens with widescreen, high-definition touch screens. The high-definition aspect definitely makes a difference when you are sitting that close to the screen. There was a great selection of films (around 400 in total), and many albums to choose to listen to. The touch screen did not always recognise my finger, although the ability to choose any film and pause it definitely puts the system up with Virgin’s. I think the incredible choice and high-definition aspects surpass Virgin’s on-demand system. It was a shame the films were not in high-definition, however.

Just before we pushed back I was surprised to hear an announcement over the P.A. system: ‘congratulations to a Mr Griffin in seat 12A, as he has just completed a Rubik’s Cube!’. There were a few unconvincing cheers but not the uproar the air stewardess was expecting.

We pushed back some 23 minutes behind schedule, although it was a quick taxi and the two GE-90s soon pulled us into the sky. It is good to know that the plane is being powered by the baby brother of the world’s most powerful engine.

A dinner was served quite early a long with drinks. I did not eat much of the chicken, as it was not the finest airline meal I had eaten. I filled the rest of the journey with listening to music on my iPod and the music system, and watched the second Austin Powers film. I had only just bought some new headphones before I left, and they made a major difference cutting out surrounding noise. They are not noise-cancelling headphones, but simply the large over-ear design which work perfectly for noisy plane cabins.

Our cruising altitude varied between 34,000 and 36,000 feet, although we did move up to 40,000 feet over mainland America. That is the highest I have been in a long time.

After getting in some two hours of sleep, we were nearing Texas and ice-creams and a light lunch was served. The meal consisted of a warm cheese and chicken sandwich with crisps, and it is usually the best meal on the flight. The ice-cream was good, as always with Continental. After the food was collected we started out descent from 40,000 feet down into Houston.

I was in an awkward position to see out of the windows, so I could not make out the Houston skyline or the Galleria area. The touchdown was relatively smooth and full spoilers and reversers were applied to slow the lumbering 777 down in time for the turn-off. Our pilot was very informative and told us we were parking up at gate E4, which was the gate I had departed Houston the previous year. Once we were parked (some 34 minutes late) and the doors were opened, the hot weather soon hits you in the cabin. We rushed to get into the immigration queue, as it is always a long wait.

It appears that all immigration halls are the same design across the country, as it was identical to the halls in JFK. The queue for US citizens was much longer than the one for non-US citizens, although they appeared to be passing through much quicker. I think the border agents wanted to ask a lot more questions to foreigners trying to enter the country. We were stuck in the worse queue possible as there was a man who was being asked a lot of questions. The woman at the front of queue was impatient as she saw people at the back of other queues pass through before her. The man finally passed after a good 20 minute wait, and it was another 10 or 15 minutes before we passed through and onto American soil.

Thankfully our bags were waiting for us, although it would appear that the EliteAccess ‘Priority’ sticker made little difference as it must have been going round the carousel for the past half hour. Nevertheless, we moved through into the familiar arrivals hall and met up with my Dad and step-mum.

Overall, the 4824 mile journey was long, and the service from Continental was good. The food definitely needs improving, although it was nice to get back on the triple-seven after a two year hiatus from flying one. The EliteAccess definitely makes a difference and it was nice to be back in Texas.

_______________________________________________________________
Date: 22 August 2009
Airline: Continental Airlines
Flight No: CO4
Departure Airport: Houston Bush Intercontinental (Gate E4, Runway 08R)
Arrival Airport: London Heathrow (Runway 26R)
Scheduled / Actual Departure Time: 1825 / 1926
Scheduled / Actual Arrival Time: 0935 / 1007
Flight Duration: 8 hours 41 minutes
Seat: 33J
Aircraft: 777-200ER N78001 "Gordon M. Bethune"

Three weeks after we arrived in Houston we drove back to George Bush Intercontinental after having a great time in Texas. We were flying CO4 on the 777-200ER at the reasonable time of 1825.

My Dad helped us through the EliteAccess queue, and we were bitterly disappointed to hear that we could have had been upgraded if we had checked-in 24 hours earlier. BusinessFirst will have to wait until next year! My sister’s bag was over the 23kg limit, although we did not have to pay a fine due to checking in with Elite status. My Dad said goodbye to my sister and I, and we were soon through the passport security and baggage checks. The advantage of flying CO out of its hub is that a lot of the terminal area is devoted to Continental and there are many EliteAccess queues to speed up the process.

Unlike the flight to Houston we did not have hours to kill looking round shops (thankfully!), so we headed straight for the gate. The seating area was already full when we arrived at the gate, and we were sharing seating with gate E3, which was flying to Guatemala City. It was the same gate (E4) which we departed from last year to Gatwick, although this year the Heathrow flight had moved from across the concourse to replace the Gatwick flight. This was the third consecutive time I have flown into/out of gate E4. An announcement was made saying the flight to Guatemala City had changed gates, so this freed up a lot of spare seats, so much so that we were taking up two gates.

There were a lot people walking behind the glass and out of gate E3, and I cannot work out why they were doing this. Arrivals walk underneath the departure level, so I can only presume these people were transferring from another flight or changing gates. Can anyone else work out why?

A call came to make sure that everyone had had their passports checked before they boarded, and had handed in their green immigration cards if they had one. Thankfully we had done this earlier so we did not have to stand at the back of the massive queue.

EliteAccess and BusinessFirst passengers were invited to board first, so we cut in front of the growing queue to get passports verified and walked onto the plane. N78001 was the first 777 delivered to Continental back in 1998, and as such it is one of only two to be named; our plane had “Gordon M. Bethune” on either side of the nose. Having flown the second newest 777 on the way over (N77019), and the oldest (some nine years older), I can honesty say that there is no noticeable difference between the two.

When we boarded the air stewardess directed us down the wrong aisle for some reason, although I soon found my seat on the aisle nearest the window, in the rear economy section. I was one row behind the exit row seating, and was hoping to move in front if no one was sitting there, although the seats were occupied later. Unfortunately I had three babies within two rows of me, so I was not looking forward to getting sleep. One baby looked to be weeks, even days old, although it did not cry as most babies do.

Unsurprisingly, people were late getting on the plane as the queue back at the gate died down, and we were past the scheduled departure time. The captain said that some passengers had been removed, and their bags were being taken off the plane. We thought we were nearing takeoff when the captain then informed us that they passengers were getting back on the plane, and as such the delay would be an hour long. One hour and one minute passed, and then we pushed back with everyone on board.

After we taxied onto the runway there was a prolonged pause until the captain unleashed the power of the GE-90s. The takeoff roll gave one last look over Houston for another year, and we turned south out of Houston Bush and then ultimately north-east to 33,000 feet towards England. Night came quickly and food was served soon after.

When dinner was served the food looked to be packaged differently. I assume it is from another catering company, and I have to admit it was better than other meals I have eaten. Chicken and pasta was my choice, and it was served with a salad and a chocolate brownie. I ate more than I did on the way over, which is a surprise.

As we passed between New York and Toronto the captain said he would be turning on the seat belt sign due to the turbulence caused by storms in the Atlantic. There was not as much turbulence as had been expected, so the signs were soon turned off.

Although the plane was the oldest 777 in the fleet, it had been fitted with the new entertainment system. I watched the latest Star Trek film which I enjoyed hugely. I then listened to some music and then watched some of Step Brothers on my iPod Touch. Very funny film! Afterwards I tried to get some rest and sleep through the three crying babies in the cabin.

It is a good feeling when you awaken with only a couple of hours to go, so I listened to some more music until breakfast was served. Unfortunately no ice cream was given out, but the warm croissant and fruit selection made up for it. Soon we were descending 36,000 feet to London, and touched down at Heathrow after making up for lost time. The landing was smooth and didn’t require massive use of the reversers, it seemed. The taxi was relatively long (and as usual I spotted an A380) and we parked at the gate 42 minutes late, after departing over an hour late.

Immigration is nothing like it is in America, and the room we passed through was undergoing improvements. Five minutes passed and we were in the baggage collection area. Getting off the plane quickly and finding your bags waiting for you is one major benefit of having ‘Priority’ stickers on your bags. We were out the airport in no time after that.

I was expecting the return journey to be more arduous and the one hour delay didn’t help, but that fact that it was a night flight meant I slept for a lot of it and the 9 hours went by quicker than I had expected. Apart from the chicken sandwich lunch meal and ice cream Continental serve, the food needs to be made better. The overall level of service is comparable to that of last year, although Continental’s strong point is definitely in domestic travel. All in all another good trip to Houston!

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 17:30 
Offline
Pilot
User avatar

Joined: 03 May 2008, 14:08
Posts: 649
nice write up!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 22:43 
Offline
Management/Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 03 Jan 2007, 16:40
Posts: 2861
Location: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
I just love reading your trip reports. It's like I'm in it.
Quote:
Just before we pushed back I was surprised to hear an announcement over the P.A. system: ‘congratulations to a Mr Griffin in seat 12A, as he has just completed a Rubik’s Cube!’.

Where have I read this before? Airliners.net? I think someone was on your flight and posted this somewhere else.

_________________
Image
^^Courtesy of Fraser Jeffery. To SimAirline.net. It's been a blast!^^
*Click on the banner for the latest on Viewpoint, the official SimAirline.net blog*


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2009, 23:14 
Offline
Management/Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 21:08
Posts: 7673
Location: Warwick, England
Thanks for the comments guys, they mean a lot to me.

Dennis wrote:
I just love reading your trip reports. It's like I'm in it.
Quote:
Just before we pushed back I was surprised to hear an announcement over the P.A. system: ‘congratulations to a Mr Griffin in seat 12A, as he has just completed a Rubik’s Cube!’.

Where have I read this before? Airliners.net? I think someone was on your flight and posted this somewhere else.


Was it this by any chance?
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=14424&start=20

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 27 Aug 2009, 02:17 
Offline
Management
User avatar

Joined: 05 Oct 2008, 05:26
Posts: 1403
Location: Long Island, New York
Excellent write up!

_________________
Image
Thanks Fraser Jeffery for the beautiful avatar!
Check out the latest SimAirline.net news in Viewpoint


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 27 Aug 2009, 02:43 
Offline
Management/Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 03 Jan 2007, 16:40
Posts: 2861
Location: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
sanins192 wrote:
Thanks for the comments guys, they mean a lot to me.

Dennis wrote:
I just love reading your trip reports. It's like I'm in it.
Quote:
Just before we pushed back I was surprised to hear an announcement over the P.A. system: ‘congratulations to a Mr Griffin in seat 12A, as he has just completed a Rubik’s Cube!’.

Where have I read this before? Airliners.net? I think someone was on your flight and posted this somewhere else.


Was it this by any chance?
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=14424&start=20

HAHAHA, yep. That's it. :laugh:

_________________
Image
^^Courtesy of Fraser Jeffery. To SimAirline.net. It's been a blast!^^
*Click on the banner for the latest on Viewpoint, the official SimAirline.net blog*


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 27 Aug 2009, 02:59 
Offline
Pilot
User avatar

Joined: 07 Feb 2009, 19:01
Posts: 260
Location: Boston
Great write up!

_________________
Image
Huge thanks to David Malinowski for this amazing banner!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 27 Aug 2009, 05:08 
Offline
Management/Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 05 Feb 2007, 23:44
Posts: 2415
Location: Christchurch New Zealand
Great report Alex! It was very enjoying to read 8)

_________________
Image
Enigma Simulations | Texture Artist and Aircraft Designer
Click my banner to see my paints via Avsim.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 27 Aug 2009, 11:35 
Offline
Management/Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 21:08
Posts: 7673
Location: Warwick, England
Cheers guys! :D

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Continental LHR-IAH-LHR - Fifth Consecutive Houston Visit
PostPosted: 27 Aug 2009, 16:43 
Offline
Pilot
User avatar

Joined: 11 Feb 2007, 16:04
Posts: 456
Location: Atlanta, GA
Great report Alex!

_________________
Flights: 700 Hours: 3401:52 Miles: 1,468,840
* Read the latest SimAirline.net news and updates at Viewpoint *


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group