Monday, February 18, 2008

Brussels, Belgium: Houston to Newark, NJ

CO40 18FEB08 Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Newark Liberty International, Newark NJ (EWR) 10:40a 3:18p 762 N??158

Flying Time: 2:32

I boarded that twin aisle, twin engine airplane and was greeted by the flight attendant. She told me to go down beyond the First Class cabin and make a left then a right to get to my window seat at the back of the airplane.

The 2-1-2 First Class cabin was already full and passengers continued to get settled in. Lots of people were already onboard; I guess Elite Access frequent flyers who had priority boarding. I made my way to the back to my seat. I placed my roller board bag in the overhead and took the back pack of electronic into the seat with me as I said hello to my seat mate. The Economy class cabin is a 2-3-2 configuration of cloth seats with individual seat monitors and overhead monitors throughout the cabin.

By 10:26a, everyone was seated and it appeared that we were ready to go. A few minutes later two more passengers showed up. The doors were closed at 11:38p and an announcement was made that cell phones were no longer allowed.

I had started talking with the passenger next to me who was quite interesting. She and her Brazilian husband had come from Rio de Janeiro (RIO) to Sao Paolo, Brazil (GRU) and had missed her flight to Newark (EWR) due to bad weather in Sao Paolo. So she got re-routed to Houston and then to Newark. She was not very happy as she wanted her husband to see New York all day today and had planned on arriving at 6:00a. Now she is delayed and was unsure of the arrival time. I tried to make light of her plight and it seemed to work a bit. Tomorrow she returns to Tokyo, Japan.

One thing that she said that was funny was that our hamburgers are much larger than theirs in Japan and even Brazil. I’ve been to Tokyo many times and had not noticed that. Next time, I will have to pay more attention. Ditto for Brazil.

The safety demo was played in English followed by Spanish. This flight continues on to Rome, Italy (FCO) with the same flight number.

We taxied out to runway 33R-15L where we held for a bit as the Captain cam on the PA and said that our wheels up time is not for twenty-three minutes. I guess that changed quickly as we did not stay very long and were at the threshold of the runway about five minutes later. He also added that the temperature in Newark was 63F; warm I thought for winter.

At 11:56p, we were airborne. We leveled out at about 4,000’ for a bit; it was interesting seeing the city from that altitude; it was also odd for a big jet like this one to fly at that altitude. I noticed that on the flight map, our arrival time was 3:23p, which is only five minutes behind schedule.

After takeoff, the lead flight attendant welcomed us on board and said that we would have a light lunch snack today. She also added that alcohol was 5 USD and correct change was appreciated. She also added that headsets were 1 USD or you can use your own.

At 12:18p, the entertainment started while the flight attendants came through the cabin with headsets for the price of 1 USD, but you are free to use your own headsets. On tap today were:

  1. Continental Presents House
  2. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium/Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
  3. Continental Family Channel 1: Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird/The Road Runner Show, Tweety’s Circus, Baby Looney Tunes
  4. King of California/Ojo Criticio
  5. Bee Movie/Tom and Jerry Tales
  6. Continental Presents CSI
  7. Comedy Programming: The New Adventure of Old Christine, Malcolm in the Middle, Everybody Hates Chris, Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, Shaun the Sheep
  8. The Entertainment Channel
  9. Airshow

For music, there were 20 channels and 10 games.

At 12:29 the Captain came on the PA with his welcome and said we were cruising at 39,000’ and all was well so he could turn off the seat belt signs. We should touch down at 3:30p subject to air traffic. He talked about the routing a bit over Atlanta up to Greensboro head for Washington D.C. and then into the New York area. He also added that it was breezy, winds were from the southwest and the clouds were at 2,500’ and temp is 66F. So now just sit back, relax and enjoy the service.

The meal service then started. At 12:40p, I was served a hot cheese burger with a salad and Caesar dressing, ketchup and a small Milky Way. Drinks followed shortly after.

I fell asleep and awoke on the descent. It was very, very bumpy and at one point, the seat belts did their job as we were airborne a bit. I could hear a few ohhhsss in the cabin. Some passengers were also making their way back to their seats as well. It did not last very long and then we were out of the clouds and all was well.

We continued out funky descent and landed without any further incident.

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