Wednesday, July 21, 2004

A visit to Killen and Tyler, TX/ July 17, 2004

July 21, 2004
Trip Date: July 17, 2004
Hello Everyone,
If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you wish to subscribe please send an e-mail to with the word Subscribe in the Subject line. If you wish to unsubscribe send and e-mail to with the word Unsubscribe in the Subject line.
Thanks for your comments on the Singapore trip, I really appreciate it.  At the suggestion of a co-worker, I’ve created a blog at  Please check it out and add comments if you wish.
This week, I am kind of in between some major trips and need to catch myself.  All the international flights were full, except for Sao Paolo (and that trip would be costly to do what I had planned) and most domestic destinations, so I decided to just stay local.
I thought I’d just do some local Texas airports that are still on the “To Do” list.  I remember that on August 2, 2004, Killeen, Texas would change its airport code from ILE to GRK.  There is actually a physical change of location that goes with this as well.  Since for the next two weeks, I’d be out of pocket, this was the only weekend to log Killeen, Texas (ILE).  Here is what happened.
I had mentioned this to one of my co-workers and he said if I was going, I should give him a call.  I did not finally decide until about 1:30 a.m. Friday night, so I though I’d just call him when I got up in the morning.  At about 8 a.m. on my drive to the airport (he lives close to the airport); I called him and told him of my plans and to meet me if he can.  Both the voicemail on his mobile and his home phone came on.  I guess he was still asleep.
I got to the airport taking I-45 all the way to Beltway 8 as there was no traffic that early in the morning.  Once at the Service Park parking lot, I noticed that my driver today would be the same guy that made me wait the last time at Terminal D; what luck I thought L.  Well the van came and I told him my parking space number as well as my Terminal.  I said “Terminal B-Baker” quite clearly.  Well, we left the lot and he headed towards Terminal C-Charlie, I meant to say something, but knew he’d argue so I kept quiet.  He then headed for Terminal D, stopped and indicated that I should alight.  Well, I said, I’m going to Terminal B-Bravo Sir, not D-Delta.  He shrugged and then pulled away and headed for Terminal B-Bravo; no explanation, no apology.
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)
I walked into the terminal to the long lines of passengers checking in.  As I had already checked in online, I headed to the security checkpoint, showed my documents and cleared without incident.  I did notice a passenger in leg and handcuffs being escorted by two security personnel; I could not help but wonder what were the circumstances surrounding that.
I then headed to the Presidents Club for a quick breakfast and a trip online.  While there, my phone rang and it was my co-worker.  Indeed, he was up late and was asleep when I called.  He could not meet for the Killeen flight, but would for the one to Tyler.  I told him I’d call him once I departed Killeen.
The time got away from me and I noticed that it was 9:15 a.m.  I got my stuff together and headed for the gate.  Apologizing, I handed my ID to the agent.  One other agent there told me that he had not seen me, so he unseated me, but cheerfully re-checked me in and gave me a seat assignment.
As I waited for the bus to take me to the stand, another passenger arrived.  There was also talk about an unaccompanied minor who was on his way to the gate as well.  The bus arrived and we both boarded.  As we headed for the airplane, the bus stopped, picking up a pilot and deposited him at our airplane.
CO9517/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N15732)
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH) to Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE)

We both alighted behind the pilot and mounted the steps to the plane.  The configuration is 1-2 with a total of 30 seats.  There is one flight attendant as the number of seats exceeds 19 passengers and is less than 50.  There is even a toilet on this little plane.  You can see this seat map here:
I went to my seat at 9A and noticed a passenger sitting in it.  I told her that I was assigned that seat and she moved to her assigned seat at 9B next to her mom in 9C.  Although 9A said Exit Row on my boarding pass, it was not, the Exit Row seats are really 9B and 9C as well as row 6.
As I settled in, the last passenger boarded.  He was the unaccompanied minor that the gate agents were talking about.  The flight attendant came by asking the passengers in rows 6B and C (no one in 6A) if they were all willing and able to help, they said yes and he moved on to row 9, where after some hesitation, he got the same answer.
The captain then came on the PA with his announcement and greeting.  He sounded really enthusiastic; I felt like I was going to Honolulu, Hawaii or some other exotic destination.  It was currently 75 degrees (exclamation from the passengers) and sunny, he said, cautioning that it would not be 75 when we got there.  Our flying time today would be 44 minutes from take off to touch down he said in closing.
At 9:37 a.m., we rolled forward and headed for the runway.  After handing out a half pint bottle of Ozarka water, the flight attendant did his demo, made his security checks and settled in his seat.  The cool thing about being in a smaller plane is that you get expedited to the front of the line.  So in a few minutes, we were lined up for runway 15R and took to the skies ahead of the Boeing 757s, Embraer 145s and Boeing 737s that were waiting.
After take off, we were served a packet of peanuts.  A little after that, I heard the flight attendant call button go off.  One of the passengers in the back wanted a beer, which she received for a charge of $5.00.
As we started our descent into Killeen, the Captain came on and told us that it was now 86 degrees!  You have to love Texas in the summertime.
As we were landing, I noticed the airfield off to the left.  We made a left-hand turn and then went in for a landing on runway 19, made a left onto the taxiway and taxied up to the terminal bearing a sign “Welcome Killeen.”
Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE)
I was the last to deplane and headed for the terminal building with the others.  We all waited a bit until someone came and opened the entry door.  Once in the baggage claim and car rental area, I headed for the ticket lobby following the well placed sign (I had less than twenty minutes before departure).  This was a busy little arrival area; the usual hugs and kisses, passengers picking up their bags, renting cars, etc. were going on.  The minor was greeted by a lady who looked like his mom and some of his siblings possibly.
As expected, there was no one at the counter; usually in these small airports, there is a very small team that does everything.  I counted about three and one of them looked like the station manager.  I quickly went outside to get a few pictures of the terminal ( and and then headed back in.  This was a very quick turn; we landed at 10:31 a.m. and were scheduled to leave at 10:50 a.m.
I cleared security and headed over to the podium to see the gate agent.  She told me that it did not look good and there is a strong possibility that I would not make; but I knew that before taking this journey.  The back up plan was to wait for a later American Eagle flight to Dallas/ Forth Worth and then take a connecting American Airlines (AA) flight back to Houston.
Soon she made the boarding calls and everyone was boarded including two more unaccompanied minors (it must be summer).  Two more passengers showed up and waited for her return.  Once she boarded them, she radioed to see if there was any room for one standby without bags (me).  Luckily, there was; she wrote 5A on my standby boarding card as she has no boarding card printer at the gate and told me to go and I did, thanking her as I did so.
CO9526/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N15732)
Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE) to Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

I got back on board and took seat 5A.  I did notice that 6B and C were open so I moved over there.  This is the other Exit Row.  There are actually no chair tables in this row at all.
I glanced back and there was this kid sitting at the window that looked so excited; his mom was sitting across from him.  He then commented that he had not flown in four years (holding up four fingers); he looked like he was about nine or so years old.  I remember when I was that excited, I still get that way J.  I looked out the window and I could see family members waving to their loved ones through the fence at the parking lot.
The Captain came on with his greeting and announced that it would be 90 degrees when we got back to Houston and that our cruisin’ altitude would be 17,000’ today with :35 minute flying time enroute.
The doors soon closed, the engines started and we were off to the taxiway.  The flight attendant gave his demo and safety checks and we were all set to go.  It was a quick taxi to the threshold of runway 19, where we made a right turn onto the runway, taxied the short distance to the end, made a tight right turn, straightened up, held the brakes, revved up the engines and took off like a pellet out of a slingshot.  About midway down the runway, the wheels lifted, we were off.
I was trying to see if I could spot the new airport in the distance and I think I did; the next trip in these parts will be to log it.  Once we reached our cruisin’ altitude, we were served a half pint bottle of water followed by a pack of peanuts again.  Our little flyer off to my left was delighted and so was I.
I made a trip back to the restroom and it was quite interesting.  Tip: ensure that if you are a little taller than average use the facilities on the ground J before you board these small planes.  It was even more interesting as we started our descent into Houston while I was in there.  This airplane has no running water, so wet wipes are provided.
Back at my seat, I continued writing until we buzzed past 10,000’.  We landed on the newly opened 8L and taxied to the hard stand near Terminal B. 
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)
On the taxi, I could see an Air Canada Jazz CRJ-200 ( parked at the gate over by Terminal A.  Prior to that, on landing, I saw an Antonov cargo plane ( in the cargo area.  As we taxied to our hard stand, I called my co-worker to let him know I had landed (did not have a chance to do so in ILE at all).  He was all set; he had checked in for the flight to Tyler and would meet me in the Presidents Club in a few minutes.
Houston Texas (IAH) to Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)
We pulled up to our berth, deplaned and headed for the waiting bus that took us over to Terminal B.  Once there, I checked for the departure gate for Tyler and as it turns out, it was the same as the earlier gate for Killeen, 84B.  I headed towards the Presidents Club, where I relaxed with a glass of Chardonnay accompanied by some cheese and crackers.  I made sure to take a seat where I could see the planes as they headed for the departure runway.  As I waited, a Boeing 777, 757-300 and a 767-400 passed by as well as a few ERJs, busy morning at IAH.
Soon, my phone rang, it was my co-worker, he was just clearing security.  He came in as my guest and we chatted until it was within 30 minutes of departure.  We then went down to the gate and received our boarding passes. We had 1B and C, but when we boarded the flight attendant told us to take any open seats.  Since 9B and C were open, we took those.
CO9548/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N15732)
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH) to Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)

As we got ready for our departure, World Airways MD-11 landed.  I think it arrived from somewhere in East Africa.  Soon, we departed, ontime and headed for the runway.  This time around, when we got to the runway, we had to wait a bit before we got our clearance to go.  Once we got the clearance, the take off was swift with a hard right turn flying parallel to the departing runway for it full length.  This gave us a chance to see the airport in its full glory.  It was great to see the Boeing 737-300 that was following us on the take off roll, also making a right turn.
Once we were at cruise, we were served water or another beverage of choice and peanuts.  I chatted with my co-worker for the entire journey, it was good to catch up.  Soon, it was time to land and we started our descent. 
Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)
When we landed, I noticed there was an American Eagle Saab SF3 at the gate.  It was preparing to depart (
We deplaned and entered the terminal with the other passengers.  We had about an hour on the ground, so we decided to explore a bit.  Not much to see really; this is a brand new terminal (two years old), with typical airport facilities.  Tyler is apparently the rose capital of Texas and possibly the U.S. so they airport had a big rose on it (  I was also able to take a photo of the departing American Eagle flight to Dallas/ Fort Worth (
We went inside as the heat was sweltering!  We made a quick stop by the food court, well the lone restaurant, to see what they had to offer.  We stopped short as the prices were so high for a burger.  The agent later told us that it is not for a ¼ pounder as normal, but Tyler is famous for the one pound burger; of course, the name “Pounds Field.”  There is no way I can eat a full pound of beef on a bun, so I decided against it.  So did my co-worker.
We then cleared security and waited for a seat.  This was another touch and go situation as well; it was fine earlier, by a family of five had shown up since we departed Houston and now we were booked at 28.  The agent said it was not looking to good as they were weight restricted.  We waited for word and it came in the form of good news at the last minute.  We were given the only two seats left 6A and 9A and told to board.
CO9549/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N58733)
Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (ILE) to Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

Elated and relieved, we boarded, the doors closed and we were off with seven minutes to spare.  By now, the wind direction had changed so we headed for runway 4 and took to the skies.
As we flew out, one could see the old terminal close to the end of the runway.  The control tower still remained there.  We did find out that the new terminal is only two years old.
We were served refreshments once more as we leveled out.  This flight was without incident and we landed safely at George Bush on runway 8R.
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)
We had a long taxi back and had to wait for a Boeing 737-300 to land on runway 8L.  By now, there was another Antonov on the ground.
We headed to the ramp where we all deplaned, took the bus to the terminal and headed for the Exit.  Soon, I was in my, dropped my co-worker home and then headed south towards the city.  Not bad for a few hours of fun, I thought.
None this week, but please feel free to send me a question if you have one.
Killeen, Texas
Tyler, Texas
SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection (CO*)
Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE)
Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)
Flight #    Date    Routing    Aircraft Type  Distance (miles) Aircraft Registration
CO9517 17JUL  IAH – ILE    EMB-120          159                        N15732
CO9526 17JUL  ILE – IAH    EMB-120          159                        N15732
CO9548 17JUL  IAH – TYR   EMB-120          163                        N58733
CO9549 17JUL  TYR – IAH   EMB-120          163                        N58733
Total Air Miles: 644
Copyright © 2004  Please feel free to re-distribute this newsletter.  The only caveat is that it is distributed in its entirety.  Feel free to offer feedback at or if you have any question(s) that you would like answered that relates to Commercial Aviation and or Travel.  If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe please send an e-mail to – P.O. Box 130771 – River Oaks Station, Texas USA 77219

Monday, July 12, 2004

World's Longest Flight-SQ21/June 30 - July 5, 2004

July 12, 2004
Trip Date: June 30 - July 5, 2004


Well, I’m not sure if you know, but for the longest while the three longest distance nonstop commercial airline routes in the world were Atlanta, Georgia (ATL) to Cape Town, South Africa (CPT) – 8,127 flown by South African Airlines (SA); Newark, New Jersey (EWR) to Hong Kong (HKG) – 8,047 flown by Continental Airlines (CO) and now also Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) from New York’s (JFK); Los Angeles, California (LAX) to Melbourne, Australia (MEL) – 7, 922 flown by Qantas (QF) and United Airlines (UA).

Back on February 3 of this year, Singapore Airlines (SQ) changed that by flying nonstop using an Airbus A340-500 from LAX to Singapore (SIN) – 8,758 miles. Until June 28, 2004, this routing was the record, then, Singapore Airlines flew from Singapore to Newark and broke their own record by flying 9,524 nonstop miles to now hold the record for the longest distance commercial airline flight in the world. They also have the record for the longest flight as well on the same route.

I have flown the LAX to MEL route on United, the Hong Kong to Newark route on Continental, wanted to do the LAX to Singapore route but could not make it work, so I decided to waste no time and go for the new Newark to Singapore route. Here is what happened beginning on June 30, 2004.

I departed work on Wednesday at about noon and headed for the post office. I had received a package slip from the post office which stated that I had a package waiting and wanted to get it before I headed for the airport. I also needed to pay my rent since I would not be around when it became due.

Of course, there was a line there and the wait lasted about 10 minutes, but it seemed like a few hours for some reason. I guess when you are in a rush; everything seems to take so long.

Soon, all that was over and I was on my way to the airport. I-45 was crowded as usual, so I headed for I-10 and then to I-59, to the Hardy Toll Road, paid my $1.25 toll and was at the airport by 12:50 p.m. All these years and I’ve never bought the EZ-Pass. I parked and then a bus showed up soon. In about 10 minutes, I was at Terminal C.

Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

I had to make a decision whether to take the 1:15 p.m. nonstop to Newark airport that was very overbooked or take the direct flight with the one-stop in Huntsville, Alabama (HSV). A friend was checking on the flights for me and with the information he gave me, I decided to head for Huntsville. Besides, it was too late to make it to gate E-2 anyway.

I cleared security and then headed for the monorail that runs between Terminals C and B. In about a minute or so, one arrived and within another ninety seconds, I was in Terminal B. It was now 1:10 p.m. I verified that I was still leaving from B77 and headed there. At the same moment, I heard an announcement that it was the final call for Huntsville. I guess they wanted to leave early as there was a rain storm brewing. As a matter of fact, it had already started raining a little.

At the gate, I was told just to take any open seat as the boarding pass printer was broken; I had checked in online, but had not received a seat assignment just yet. Myself and two other standbys walked down the jetway with the agent.

CO2084/30JUN04 operated by ExpessJet Airlines, Inc. dba Continental Express
Embraer Regional Jet 145 (N15948)
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH) to Huntsville International, Huntsville Alabama (HSV) [new airport for me!]

As the Exit Row seats were all taken, I settled into 10C. We pushed back about 1:25 p.m. and headed for the runway. It was a quick taxi and there were not many airplanes waiting. We straightened up for runway 33R-15L and were airborne in no time. Man, these ERJs are very quick!

As we climbed out, I could see Taca’s Airbus A320 arriving on a perpendicular runway. Off in the distance was downtown Houston. One could clearly see US59 heading into the city with no traffic either way. We had a slow climb out, but eventually cleared 10,000’. Our service today would be mini pretzels and beverage of choice.

At 33,000’ the Captain came on with an update. As there were a few thunderstorms, we had to deviate from our routing a bit to avoid them. They were huge as you could see them just outside the window. At this point, we had about 56 minutes remaining in our flight; we had been airborne for about 40 minutes now. I busied myself with updating this report and tried to catch up on e-mails.

Soon, we commenced our descent into Huntsville, as we landed on runway 18L-36R; I saw what looked like a Delta Connection CRJ-700 waiting at the threshold of the runway ( As we landed, a driving rain started. We taxied up to the gate and everyone disembarked.

Huntsville International, Huntsville Alabama (HSV)

I went over to the gate and the agent printed me a boarding pass for the next segment. As I walked around the airport, I noticed they had a sign that said there was complimentary wireless access available. I powered up and took advantage of it and sent some e-mails I had crafted on the flight over. Thanks Huntsville.

I also noticed a painting of a single engine old prop plane that looked like a DC-3, a Cargolux Boeing 747-300 and an Air France Concorde in landing configuration. The artist had done the painting in 1990 ( As I looked at the registration of the Concorde, I noticed that it was G-BOAA, which if I am not mistaken is that of a British Airways Concorde. I laughed to myself and went back to my computer and waited for my e-mail to finish downloading. Check out this link to see what I mean:

It was time to board, so I did. I boarded last so that I could take an open seat if necessary. It was fine, so I took my assigned seat a few rows in front of the Exit Row.

CO2084/30JUN04 operated by ExpessJet Airlines, Inc. dba Continental Express
Embraer Regional Jet 145 (N15948)
Huntsville International, Huntsville Alabama (HSV) to Newark Liberty International, Newark New Jersey (EWR)

There was actually a crew change here, but the flight number and aircraft remained the same. The departing crew would fly the Houston-bound flight back. It had stopped raining by now and we were ready for pushback. We headed for the runway and were off in no time.

The Captain came on the PA with about 1:22 to go and gave his welcome message. We were at 27,000’ and had now been airborne for about 35 minutes.

We were being served pretzels and a beverage of choice at this point. Soon after the service, the Captain came on again and said that Newark had bad weather so we would be circling for a while. About 20 minutes after, we stopped circling but ended up circling again in another area closer to the airport. By the time it was all over, we had circled for about 45 minutes due to weather delays and traffic at the airport. I took the opportunity to sleep a bit.

We then started our descent eventually turning right close to the Tappan Zee Bridge and headed down the Hudson, then turning right again for the runway. It was good to see New York City off in the distance albeit a little hazy. Directly below were the Continental Airlines Arena and then the Giants Stadium.

Newark Liberty International, Newark New Jersey (EWR)

As I landed, I could see the Singapore Airlines (SQ) A340-500 waiting at the gate ( It was being catered at the moment. There was also a Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS) Boeing 747-400 at gate 65. In addition to the last British Airways (BA) Boeing 777-200 destined for London, England. Moments later, another British Airways Boeing 777-200 arrived. This would be the day flight the next morning to London and finally, an Air India Boeing 747-400 and a Swiss Airbus A330. Oh, off in the distance, by Terminal A, was a Hooters Air Boeing 757-200. You can see them all here:

My flight made its way to gate 115A where I disembarked. I headed for the gate 75 area so that I could shoot some closer shots of the A340-500 in Terminal B. After taking a bunch of photos, I headed to the Presidents Club near that gate. I had to send some e-mails and make some last minute transactions before I headed out. At about 9:05 p.m., I left and headed for Terminal B.

As the weather was good and I did not feel like walking up the stairs to the AirTrain, I decided to just walk to Terminal B. As I arrived in Terminal B, there was no line for the flight. They had two sections for check-in that matched the two classes of service on the flight (Raffles and Executive Economy). I stood on the Executive Economy line, and was called over to the Raffles section when a space became available.

As I was being checked in, I noticed a sheet of paper on the desk that offered the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse before security or the Star Alliance Lounge after security and near the gate as choices for a Lounge; I was wondering what they were going to do for a lounge and there you have it.

The agent checked me in and advised that it was a bit touch and go today as the flight was overbooked, adding that the next day looked much better. As it turned out, this was the return flight for many of the passengers who had come over on the inaugural two days ago.

I cleared security which was quite a chore. The TSA agent was only allowing three customers at a time to approach the machines, not sure why. Meanwhile, the line was building behind us. Eventually, it was my turn. I cleared and then headed for the gate area. I need to charge my batteries so I searched for a plug and was able to find one not too far from the gate. This as quite a chore for some reason.
At about 10:40 p.m., I was paged by the agent in charge. He had a seat for me in Executive Economy Class; this was the last available seat. There were still a few seats available in Raffles Class, I later found out. I made a quick stop in the men’s room and then boarded the flight.

Airbus A340-500 (9V-SGB)
Newark Liberty International, Newark New Jersey (EWR) to Singapore Changi International, Singapore (SIN)

As I boarded, I could see that the configuration in Raffles Class was 2-2-2 and in the split Executive Economy cabin (Raffles is a split cabin as well), it was 2-3-2 tapering to 2-2-2 in the last two rows. You can see the configuration at

Singapore Airlines’ Web site has this to say about Raffles Class:

The Raffles (business) Class cabin has 64 of SIA’s renowned SpaceBeds. Arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration, the seats have a generous pitch of 64 inches, bed width of 26 inches, bed length of 78 inches, adjustable head rest, leg rest and lumbar support, a 10.4 inch personal video monitor, AC power supply outlet and a DVD port.

The interior colors were very soothing, making me feel immediately at home as I walked to my middle seat close to the back of the plane. There is ample leg room (37 inches seat pitch), butt room (Singapore Airlines says they have the widest Economy seat (20 inches) in the world) and feet and leg room. Each seat has its own laptop power outlet (accepts Australian, European (except UK), US and Japanese plugs) and its own in-seat 9 inch video monitor with Audio and Video On Demand entertainment. This included 60 movies, 83 TV programs, 205 CDs, 12 Audio Channels, 33 Nintendo Games, 20 PC Games and 3 Multi-player games! The only other airline that I’ve flown with such an extensive programming is Emirates (EK) from London/ Gatwick (LGW) to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (DXB) on their A340-500 with 500 channels and also video on demand.

I settled in, said hello to my seat mates and delved in the reading material. Once everyone was boarded, the flight attendants came by with hot towels; these are white wash rag-sized towels complete with the Singapore Airlines logo. I was convinced then that this flight would be exceptional. I told the lady (returning home from a business trip) sitting to my left to slap me if I start getting too excited. She then turned to the guy on my right (a freshman Engineering college student from Northwestern University who was returning home for the summer) and said jokingly; “Will you be my witness?” Yes, this was going to be a good flight.

Menus (with pictures of red whole and cut apples on the cover) and amenity kits (containing a pair of light bluish gray socks, toothbrush and toothpaste) were handed out just before the safety video commenced; both nice touches.

In terms of food, here is what we had on tap for our journey:


Tasty Beginnings
Ham with mesclun salad and mustard sauce, chicken

The Main Event

A choice of:
Chicken in natural jus with potato puree, sauerkraut with bacon and pear (Exclusively created by Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill, New York)
Braised fillet of fish with spicy hoisin sauce, seasonal vegetables and steamed rice

The Cheese Corner
Cheese and crackers

Sweet Overtones
Ice Cream bar

From The Bakery
Roll and butter

Choice Brews
Chinese tea


Light Bites
An assortment of snacks will be offered

Choice Brews
Chinese tea


A Tantalising Note
Fresh fruits with champagne syrup

Tasty Beginnings
Fruit yoghurt

The Main Event
A choice of:
Ah Yat’s braised beef brisket in live spice with Chinese greens and egg noodles (Exclusively created by Mr. Yeung Koon Hat, Hong Kong)
Cheese omelette with chicken sausage, grilled tomato and potatoes

From The Bakery
Assorted breakfast rolls, butter and fruit preserve

Choice Brews
Chinese tea

Typically, you name it; you can perhaps get it on board, including of course a Singapore Sling.

The safety video commenced and as it continued, we commenced the push back at three minutes shy of 11 p.m. The taxi to the runway was short and we were airborne at 10 after the hour. Our flying time was booked at 17:50 tonight; yes we had a crazy tailwind most of the way. Also, we would not go over the North Pole, but head north to Boston, then across the Atlantic Ocean, head for England, then across Europe then the Middle East and head south over Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, cross the Bay of Bengal and then onto Singapore (

Of course immediately after takeoff, I started to play with the entertainment system. The system was actually activated while on the ground. Here is an overview:

There are six main sections:

Wisemen (SQ’s trademark) Audio & Video

Video and Audio on Demand Movies and TV Shows; movie trailers are also included
There were 60 choices including:

The Replacements
Independence Day
The Full Monty
Agent Cody Banks 2
Starsky & Hutch
50 First Dates
Anita & Me
Walking Tall
Man on Fire
News & Info

Live Text News

Satellite news in various categories; this is a text service that is up to the minute
Flight Path
Destination Info
What’s the Buzz

A number of Nintendo, Multiplayer, PC Games and Brain Teasers
Learn A language

A cool application that teaches you words in other languages, based on the language you speak
Just for Kids

Games, Video and Audio on Demand for the Kids


Has information on how to use the in-seat phone as well as a list of country codes

A survey on what you think of the flight (thumbs up for me!)

After checking out the system, I initially settled on “Agent Cody Banks 2” and fast forwarded it to the part where I had left off on my last flight. Don’t you just love Video On Demand? As it turns out, I never actually watched any movie in its entirety as there was just too much stuff to do all flight long.

As the service started, the flight attendants came by with an offering of champagne and orange juice, water or whatever you wanted. Most others took the champagne offering and so did I. I had to place the glass on my chair table as it was too small for the cup holder. The cup holder is really designed for the normal sized cups. Soon after that, dinner with more drinks was served from the front of the cabin backwards (breakfast was served from the rear forward).

One thing about sitting in the middle seat is that you get served by whom ever gets to either side first, so there is a plus to sitting in the middle seat after all.

Dinner was quite delicious. As stated, there was a choice of chicken or fish, so I had the fish ( I complemented it all with some white wine which was poured into an accompanying glass with the Executive Economy logo (an “e”) on the bottom (another nice touch).

The new seat has a pretty decent recline (8 inches), a foot rest, head wings to keep your head from drooping when asleep and a leg rest. As I started to use the new seat, I noticed an ergonomic oddity: in order to plug in your computer, you have to feel for the insertion position of the plug; after a few futile minutes, I gave up, got on my knees (my seatmate on the left was away in the back socializing), figured it out and plugged in my computer. There is a chart that talks about it, but how hard could it be to plug in your computer, I thought J. The plus is that you don’t need an adapter, just your normal plug from home. The flight attendants as well as the literature did advise that you should remove your computer’s batteries before plugging in, not sure why this was a stipulation. Apart from this idiosyncrasy, these seats are awesome and here is why.

The person in front of you can recline and you can still get out of your seat without too much fuss
You can recline and not interrupt the person’s dinner behind you
No matter how far you or the person in front of you reclines, you can still watch the big in seat video screen as it tilts really well.
While you can see what others who are sitting in front of you are watching, you cannot see what the persons next to you are watching, unless you purposely lean over.
The leg rest and footrest combination works very well and are both adjustable
I can still use my computer when the person in front of me reclines, even with my feet on the foot rest. I cannot do this on any other carrier I’ve flown, and I’ve flown many with footrests.
The overhead light is soft and fades on and off, so it does not disturb the passengers around you
It has a coat hook and a compartment for knick knacks
And one subjective reason; the colors are soothing

After dinner, I headed to the lounge area in the back to check it out. It is an area just behind the last row on the left with about three or so windows. There is a place to place your drinks or eats and you can just stand there and talk. There is also a walkway to get from one side of the plane to the next without walking through the galley. Further back just in front of the galley was the snack area. There was a fruit basket, snacks galore, juices and if you wanted alcohol, all you had to do was ask. The crew is just superb. There are also areas next to the exit doors that are out of the way of the crew which can be used for standing and stretching.

There were a few other passengers standing in the “hang out area”; a guy who had flown over on the inaugural flight on 28 June. He had brought his daughter over for summer camp and was now returning. His wife would make the return trip to pick her up. There was also another lady who was returning home and thought that the trip’s timing would work for her. She was timing her arrival with her husband’s arrival from his business trip on the p.m. of 2 July.

We all chatted for maybe about 2 hours or so as we watched the sun rise over the North Atlantic Ocean. It was a beautiful thing. I had always wanted to experience that, but since I always need to be sleeping as I cross the Atlantic (need to be up when I arrived in Europe), I never did.

I made sure I put my order in for Duty Free as if you bought the 1/400th scale model of the A340-500, you get a complimentary signed certificate from the Captain saying you took the world’s longest flight, so of course I did!

This “hang out area” is a great idea and quite worth it I think. At one point it was full; there are no seats, but it promotes conversation. All they need now is some music and a disco ball J.

With about 13.5 hours to go, I said “see ya later” to my new friends and headed to my seat for a nap. We had been flying for fours hours and it did not seem that way. Before napping, I waded through the channels and found that they had the best of the Commodores CD. I dialed that in and went to sleep. Five hours later, I awoke; I got some fluid and then took another hour worth of sleep. I am sure I will take another nap before we get there.

As we passed over Lahore, Pakistan you could see the city lights below. By now the rest of the world was seeing daylight and we were into night once again. For this journey, we started at night, flew into the morning, seeing the sun rise, then flew all day, saw the sun set and will see the sun rise again when we arrive in Singapore at 4:55 a.m. or so local time. Wow, is an understatement. Picture this: since I departed Newark, you’ve gone to bed, woken up, had breakfast, gone to work, then head home and at that point I arrive in Singapore. As I write this we have 5:14 to go and we are just north of Delhi, India on a southerly heading.

One thing to note is that the flight attendants were very good about being by all the time with water and juice. This coupled with the snacks in the back (they also brought them through the cabin) made the flight so much nicer.

I had made another trip back to the “hang out area” and met some more new people; one guy who came over on Singapore’s one-stop flight via Frankfurt on the 28th, just wanted to go back on this new flight. He had left Singapore on 27 June. Another guy from Ohio was returning home to Malaysia for a visit and decided to connect in Singapore as opposed to Dubai (DXB) using Malaysia Airlines (MH) so that he could take the long flight. Still another guy who was also going to Malaysia after having worked in New York for a major electronics manufacturer was along for the longest flight claim as well. See, there are other strange people in the world J.

We ate and chatted for another hour or so and then I returned to my seat. I came back a few minutes later as I finally read the menu and noticed that I could get a Singapore Sling, so of course I ordered one, well two, as they are quite good. I will have to ensure that I get the official thing when I get to Singapore at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel ( While having my Sling and some roasted peanuts, I chatted for a bit again in the “hang out area.” Then I retired to my seat once again.

I was looking through the electronic catalog on the entertainment system and saw that they had “Pleasantville” with Tobey McGuire and Reese Witherspoon. It was fun to watch this movie with these two young actors before they became big time stars. I never finished it as I fell asleep about 45 minutes or so into it, just when they started to change Pleasantville due to their presence.

I awoke as there was movement in the cabin and the lights were on. It was three hours to go so we were given hot towels in preparation for breakfast. At that moment though, I was not stressed at all; I had eaten, slept, socialized, watched some TV and was in a generally good mood along with the rest of the passengers. There is something to be said about this more space thing I think.

Breakfast was orange juice, yoghurt, a choice of an omelet or beef noodles (I opted for that), a muffin and a fruit salad with a roll (

After all that was over, they announced Duty Free sales. I continued to watch the entertainment system as well as listening to music, reading, talking to my seat mates and writing this story.

At about 200 miles out of Singapore, the Captain said his good morning, announced that Singapore was 28 degrees Celsius and that our arrival was set at 5 a.m. He signed off with saying thank you for taking the historic nonstop flight to Singapore. I was just too giddy with excitement.

At 4:29 a.m. local, we started our descent, touching down at 4:55 a.m. on Friday morning (having lost Thursday, July 1, 2004). Never lost a day heading East before, but there is always a first time. You see, we never crossed the International Date Line. The landing had a little bounce, but a perfect end to what was indeed a perfect flight.

Singapore Changi International, Singapore (SIN) – 2 July 2004

Once we got to the gate (it was still dark out), I grabbed my stuff, said goodbye to my seat mates and headed for the Exit door. I paused to take a photo of both cabins ( and also to watch some ladies who were in Executive Economy try out the Raffles Class seats (

In the jetway, I had a chance to talk with one of the Captains that flew us over (there were four flight crew members on board, they take turns flying in groups of two). He told me that the winds over the Atlantic were favorable (I did notice that we had quite the tail wind almost all the way), so they decided to take the shortest route; much to my dismay ( This is the second time I’ve attempted to go over the poles and did not make it; I will try yet a third time. The first was doing Hong Kong to Newark; we came the regular way by going from Hong Kong to Tokyo, then skirting the Russian Coast, crossing the Bearing Straight into Alaska, crossing Northern Canada and then coming down into the Newark area.

After stopping to check my e-mail at the free Internet kiosks all over the Terminal, I followed the signs to the Transit Hotel (Ambassador Transit Hotel) and on inquiring, found out that it was not practical. This hotel works if you want to stay in the transit area, not if you want to get into the city and do anything. The primary reason why it did not work for me this time is that the rates are based on a 6-hour stay; I have about a 17-hour stay, so by the time you do the two 6-hour rates, plus the hourly rate, it is more expensive than a hotel in the city even when you add transportation (

I had not booked a hotel prior to my arrival as I was not sure of what I would be doing once I got here. In addition, I knew the flight was not looking too good, so I decided to play it by ear. I did take a look at a few and the best rate was the Swissotel for 120 SGD (

With the new found hotel price knowledge, I entered the country and then cleared customs without any incidents (last time I was here, my passport was within 6 months of expiring and I heard about it J). I headed to the Hotel Reservations desk where the agent showed me a long list of hotels and rates. The price range was from about 60 to 650 SGD (The Raffles Hotel), the exchange rate is about 1.72 to the USD. After the agent made a few calls to the hotels, I settled on the Peninsular Excelsior as it had rooms available and would be able to make one available by 8 a.m. or so.

There was a 10 SGD deposit (but no charge for the service) and as I had no local currency, I went to a nearby ATM. While there, I did notice that it was now pouring rain outside, I hope that this would not keep up all day. Once back at the hotel reservations desk, I gave the agent a fifty dollar bill, but as she had no change, I headed to the currency exchange across the hallway, where I was able to get five tens, I then returned to the desk.

I paid the 10 SGD deposit to the agent, then I reserved a space on the next shuttle to the city (the 6:40 a.m.). The cost was 7 SGD. A family of three and another single guy also got rooms at the Peninsular Excelsior and we all headed out ontime on the same shuttle.


In about 25 minutes, we were deposited at the hotel door. We all boarded the elevator and headed towards the lobby which is actually on the 6th floor.

I was first to be checked in and the check-in agent advised me that normal check in is at 2 p.m. but they would be able to accommodate me as soon as they had some rooms cleaned. Although they were fully booked last night, it would take about two hours or so to clean the rooms as guests had already checked out. [There are several early flights out of Singapore Changi to the rest of Asia, Europe and North America]. The agent at the airport had already advised me of this situation.

The only drawback with early a.m. check-in is that you cannot really get a choice room, but what the heck, I’m only here till 7 p.m. or so and I won’t be in the room for any length of time so who cares.

The desk clerk even offered me a welcome drink (fruit punch) while I waited, noting that the bar only opened at 8 a.m. She said I could wait around here, leave my bags and come back. I opted to wait there as I really had nothing better to do.

The unique thing about this hotel is its pool. It has one glass side.

As I waited, I noticed that they paged two guests and I was not called. When I inquired, I was told that they had requested smoking rooms and there were no non-smoking rooms cleaned as yet. I told her that I’d like to go and smell the smoking room and see if it would suffice (I was just tired of waiting). At that moment, she checked her computer again and found a room with two beds that had just come available. She asked me if I wanted that one and of course I said yes. She then informed me that she had upgraded me to a better room. Well, I’m in luck I guess.

I finished up my writing and then headed for the room. The room did not look like an upgraded room to me at all, I wondered what the regular room would have looked like…

I took the time to just relax a bit, after all, I had just flown half way across the world in 17:50 minutes… I got myself together after a bit and headed downstairs. It was time to see a bit of Singapore.

I started to walk toward Chinatown; stopping to check out the MRT (subway). They did not have any special day passes, you just had to pay as you go. I started to walk some more and saw a sign for the Singapore Museum. After paying 2 SGD for the entrance fee, I walked in; I was in time for a show about the History of Singapore. This was quite good as I had no idea of this topic. I sat down in the theatre and watched in awe for about 50 minutes in all; there were two films. By the way, I was the only one in the theatre, and yes, I did nod off a few times J.

After the show, I headed out and walked down to Chinatown, walked around a bit and then took the subway to Little India. I was in search of a backpack and that took me to one of the markets in Little India; Tekka Market. This was a bunch of stalls that surround a meat/ fish market (

I continued my walk and soaked up the culture and the fragrances. Eventually I found a bag in a 10 SGD store in the Tekka Mall. I then headed back to the subway ( and headed toward Singapore’s main street, Orchard Road.

At Orchard Road, I saw a few ads ( for the new nonstop service, there were also a few in the Newark and Singapore airports. They are quite nice as you can see.

By now, I was hungry, but although I wanted some curry, my stomach dictated otherwise, so I headed for McDonalds and had a grilled chicken sandwich meal. While there I noticed a guy with a computer. He told me that McDonalds had wireless access.

After my meal, I left and headed for the subway once more. It was time to head back to the hotel as I was tired and it was getting late now.

Back at the hotel, I relaxed for a bit and then got ready and departed at about 7:30 p.m. I headed for the subway once more, paying the 2.75 SGD fare for the 30 minutes or so ride. You actually have to switch trains to get there from the city. It is very convenient though and highly recommended.

Singapore Changi International, Singapore (SIN)

At the airport station, I disembarked and I headed upstairs to the Terminal. We were in Terminal 2 (Singapore Airlines’ terminal) and I was departing from Terminal 1. I took the train over and was there in about 2 minutes. I headed for the Qantas check-in counter to check in for QF9 to London. As I checked in, the agent told me that it did not look good at all; there were already 8 standbys on the list; later found out there were 13 in all.

I had an alternate routing, well a few; via Paris (CDG) or Frankfurt (FRA) all on Qantas. I also though of Air France (AF) over Paris or Lufthansa (LH) over Frankfurt, but they both left from Terminal 2 and that just was not going to work. There was even KLM (KL) over Amsterdam (AMS), I also had two British Airway (BA) flights to London (LHR) as backup as well. But everything was either full or weight restricted. Finally, if all else failed, there was a 5:40 a.m. flight the next day on Qantas to London. There were other options such as Emirates (EK) over Dubai (they had two flights) or lastly, Northwest Airlines (NW) to Tokyo at 6 a.m., but I was hoping that I would not have to get to that; besides I had no tickets for the latter options. Qantas or BA to London was pretty much it.

I waited until 10 p.m. to be called for a seat. When I was not called, I rushed over to the KLM counter, but I was too late, they had already closed that flight. Boy, I hope that I get on that Qantas flight. At 10:15 p.m. I was cleared for the flight; hooray!!!

I collected my boarding pass and headed for the immigration line and then towards the gate area. I wanted to send a quick e-mail, but there was no time. I quickly changed my remaining Singapore dollars and then headed to the plane.

Boeing 747-400 (VH-OJS)
Singapore Changi International, Singapore (SIN) to London/ Heathrow, London England (LHR)

As I boarded, I noticed that the flight attendant uniforms looked different from the last time I flew on Qantas. I later found out that they had just changed them last September. As an airline enthusiast, you just notice these things, I guess.

I made my way down the aisle to my middle seat close to the back of the airplane; this is a big plane. I said hello to my seat mates and took my place. The configuration here is a 3-4-3 tapering to 2-4-2. You can see the configuration here at and the Upper Deck at You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.

My seat mate at the window was from Indonesia and a lawyer who was on his way to London for a business trip. This was his first time. On my right, the young lady was returning from a 10-day trip to Australia and had started her trip in Melbourne, the origination of QF9. She was in transit in Singapore for about 1.5 hours where she said she had checked her e-mail and was happy that she could have done so. Her total journey time is 22:50!

Then the flight attendants did the safety demonstrations. It was now time for pushback, so we did and headed for the runway. Oh, our flying time today was going to be 12:35; another long flight ahead of me in less than 24 hours.

We headed for the runway and started the takeoff roll. This was an incredible takeoff. We were very heavy and you could tell. We kept going and going and going. Eventually, we lifted off at the end of the runway as I could see the fences just outside of the window.

Just after takeoff, the flight attendants came through with headsets and then an amenity kit. The kit had a toothbrush, a pair of socks, and a blindfold in a zippered pouch with a neck strap.

The entertainment system was turned on about 20 minutes after departure. Here is an overview of what we had in store via our individual in seat video screens:

Q movies & tv


Man on Fire
Jersey Girl
Laws of Attraction
The Prince and Me
The Girl Next Door
Starsky & Hutch
The Cat in the Hat



Lifestyle and Travel
Nick on Q

Mr. Bean

Q radio

16 channels
Q games

10 games
Q flightpath

Map of our flight path
Q news & weather

all the seat controls
languages (English, French and Japanese are the choices)

I settled on watching “The Cat in the Hat” with Mike Myers. This was quite a colorful movie; real color, not language. Soon, the crew came through with drinks. I opted for some white wine. Apparently, the menus were only given out in Melbourne which is where the flight originated as I did notice one in my seat back pocket.

Here is what the menu said we would have on this segment:


Green Leaf Salad with Cucumber and Tomato

Choice of
Salmon with Fennel Sauce
Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini with Tomato Chilli Sauce

Apple Strudel


I opted for the Salmon with Fennel Sauce and was not disappointed at all, I opted for some white wine in the real glass that was provided.

After dinner, we were handed a plastic pouch labeled “Snack on Q.” It contained a bottle of water, an apple, a Mars bar, a small pack of Mentos and a pack of Oreos chocolate chip cookies. The flight attendant said that since we would not be fed for about another 8 hours, this packet would be our snack.

I continued watching the movie, but I knew that would not last long, since I was already sleeping before our take off, and true enough, I was asleep in no time.

I awoke up with about 5:22 to go, stretched and went to find the Duty Free sales. I wanted to get a model airplane and a Qantas bear. They only had 1/200th scale airplanes and as I did not have any place to carry it, I only opted for the bear. I also took the opportunity to chat with the flight attendants to pass some time. Later, I went back to my seat and watched some more TV. I ended up watching “Man on Fire” with Denzel Washington. This was actually based on a true story. I caught it with about 45 minutes or so to, so I have to watch it once again.

With three hours to go, we were served breakfast; a choice of:

a Continental breakfast with

Orange juice
Yoghurt with strawberry Purée
Raisin Brioche
Fresh Fruit Platter

Or Hot Breakfast with

Orange Juice
Fresh Fruit Salad
Raisin Brioche
Scrambled Egg with French Toast


Although I hate mushrooms, I chose the hot breakfast, skipping he mushrooms.

Looking out the window, it was clear that we would be experiencing the rising sun until we got to London. This all started two and a half hours ago as we approached Southern Russia from the Middle East. Amazing, we were chasing the dawn.

After 11:13 flying time, we had just about 1:34 to go and halfway between Poznan, Poland and Berlin Germany at 38,000’; ground speed 530 mph. I busied myself with writing this piece and watching the Comedy Channel; it was hilarious and I kept getting looks from my seat mates who eventually joined me watching that channel.

Three hundred kilometers out of London, the second officer gave the good morning call. Apparently, we had made up time and would now arrive, ontime. It was now time to get ready for landing. We were now 37 minutes to landing, just crossing the North Sea having just passed directly over Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The sun was still on its rise although it was pretty bright out. Local time at our destination was 4:55 a.m., at present position 5:55 a.m. Hooray for summer and early sunrise times. Thirty-two minutes out, we commenced our descent from 38,000’. It had been 12:15 flying time so far, we had 31 minutes more to go.

We touched down safely at 5:24 a.m. local time, and after about 10 minutes, arrived at our gate in Terminal 4.

London/ Heathrow, London England (LHR)

I made the walk out of the airplane and then headed for the immigration area, cleared and then headed to the customs area. As I walked through, I noticed a passenger being inspected by a customs officer with his suitcase open. Next to it was a pile of cigarettes; I saw no clothes in sight, interesting.

I continued my walk to the arrivals lounge and headed towards the Heathrow Express for the free ride to Terminals 1, 2 and 3. as I got down to the trains, I was in time for the first train. In about 4 minutes, I was at the Terminal 1, 2 and 3 area. I then headed for Terminal 3 to check on the Virgin Atlantic Airways’ (VS) flight to Newark, New Jersey (EWR) on Monday. I then headed to the Tube and took the Picadilly Line into London after purchasing a Weekend TravelCard.

London, England

Once in the city, I headed for my friend’s flat. He was moving that weekend, so I’d be kept busy for a bit. After the move, I got a chance to sleep a bit before going out for dinner that evening and an afternoon on the city.

On Sunday night, after a day indoors and a bit of sightseeing, I was trying to determine which routing to take back home. I was considering going to Amsterdam and taking the 9:35 a.m. flight to Houston or even Paris for the 12:55 p.m. The best option although it looked like the BusinessFirst cabin would not be available was the 9:30 a.m. departure from London/ Gatwick (LGW).

On Monday morning, I got up about 5:45 a.m. and got ready. By 6:35 a.m. I was out of the flat and headed for the Tube station. At 7:15 a.m. I arrived at Victoria Station in time for the 7:30 a.m. Gatwick Express. At 8:02 a.m. I arrived at the train station in Gatwick.

London/ Gatwick International, London England (LGW)

I headed downstairs to the Continental check-in counter, checked in, headed back upstairs, then went through security and to the Presidents Club. The view from the Club is great as you can see all the landings and takeoffs. As usual one is never disappointed when plane spotting in Gatwick even though the Spectator Gallery is temporarily closed. easyJet, flybe., Maersk, British Airways, Air France,, Britannia, Monarch, Aurigny, First Choice and Croatia Airlines are a few of the airlines that I saw during my 40 minute stay there.

In between watching takeoffs and landings, I had time to have some tea and relax a little. So, it was time for boarding. I got my stuff together and headed down to the gate. Once there, got my boarding pass and as predicted, I was in Economy class. I also saw one of my co-worker and her fiancé at the gate. They had spent the weekend in London as well.

Boeing 777-200ER (N78004)
London/ Gatwick International, London England (LGW) to Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

We all boarded and took our seats. I switched with my co-worker’s fiancé so that they could at least be aisles across. There were a few more seat switches by others who wanted to be close to their families.

This airplane is configured with a 2-2-2 configuration in the BusinessFirst Cabin and a 3-3-3 configuration in Economy class. There are individual seat monitors with music, movies and games ( I lucked out and had the middle seat empty. There were quite a few empty seats around the cabin as well.

Soon, our departure time arrived and we pushed back on schedule and then headed to the runway. It was going to be a 9:40 flying time today; quite a long one, but in the scheme of things; short J.

After takeoff, I started watching “Walking Tall” with The Rock; quite a good movie. As that continued, we were served drinks with a packet of peanuts; there is a charge for alcohol of 3 GBP or 5 USD, but beverages are complimentary. For lunch, I had a roll, crackers, chicken with potatoes, carrots, spinach, brownie and a salad.

I soon fell asleep after lunch. With about 3:30 to go, just above Bangor, Maine, we were served vanilla ice cream and beverages. I ate and then went back to sleep.

As we passed over Fredericksburg, Virginia, I glanced at the moving map display and we were at 41,000’. I’ve not flown at this altitude much, so this was a neat experience.

I scanned the channels and watched episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, Friends. With 1:30 to go, we were served an arrival snack. That consisted of a hot chicken and cheese sandwich, a scone with Cornish clotted cream and jam. There was also mayonnaise. That really hit the spot as I was so hungry by now.

We soon started our descent for Houston George Bush. We had a very smooth landing and taxied towards Terminal D. We paused momentarily for the ground staff to prepare for our arrival, then pulled into the gate a few minutes early.

Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

We disembarked and headed for the immigration area. As we were the first flight to arrive there was no crowd at all; it gets uglier as the day progresses. Within minutes, it was my turn. I presented my documents and then I was asked what I did for a living. I told the agent and then he questioned me about why I had been to Singapore and England in such short succession. I told him and he had a puzzled look on his face. He then told me to go.

I cleared customs and headed to the bus stand, pausing to wait for my co-worker and her fiancé to catch up. The Service Park bus arrived and we all boarded the bus and waited, and waited and waited. You see, one of the airport employees showed up and said he was waiting for another. So we waited and waited. Eventually I got annoyed and told the driver to go and then he got annoyed. I refused to argue with him, but I had to let him know my displeasure at having to wait without been told why we were waiting.

Eventually we left, not sure if he got who he was waiting for though. We headed to the lot, I picked up my car, paid and headed towards I-45. It had been quite a journey. So now I have to do the shortest commercial flight from West Ray to Papa Ray in the Orkney Islands. It is operated by Logan Air for British Airways.


None this week, but please feel free to send me a question if you have one.

Huntsville, Alabama
Newark, New Jersey
London, England

ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. dba Continental Express (CO)
Continental Airlines (CO)
Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Qantas (QF)

Peninsula Excelsior Hotel
5 Coleman Street
Singapore 179 805
Reservation Tel: (65) 6339 0708 or (65) 6337 8080
Reservation Fax: (65) 6339 3580


Huntsville International, Huntsville Alabama (HSV)
Newark Liberty International, Newark New Jersey (EWR)
Singapore Changi International, Singapore (SIN)
London/ Heathrow, London England (LHR)
London/ Gatwick, London England (LGW)

Flight # Date Routing Aircraft Type Distance (miles) Aircraft Registration
CO2084 30JUN IAH – HSV ERJ-145 594 N15948
CO2084 30JUN HSV – EWR ERJ-145 804 N15948
SQ21 30JUN EWR – SIN A340-500 9,524 9V-SGB
QF9 2JUL SIN – LHR B747-400 6,757 VH-OJS
CO35 5JUL LGW – IAH B777-200 4,841 N78004

Total Air Miles: 22,520