Sunday, March 30, 2008

Heathrow Inaugural: Arriving in Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

30MAR08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

The clock on the wall read 3:33p when we landed with a bump, you could feel the airplane teeter from side to side as we slowed. It is just a little windy on the landing today. I am always amazed at how quiet the engines are though as we decelerate. The guy next to me pointed out that the map was showing our location south of the airport; so it means we are not at the airport. It was odd that it showed us south of the city (the airport is north of the city).

The lead flight attendant welcomed us to Houston and thanked us for flying the inaugural today. He also mentioned that to ensure we had our documents and feel free to call upon a flight attendant if we needed assistance.

We continued taxiing over to gate E-18, right back where I started about 31.5 hours ago.

After gathering my stuff, I deplaned and headed for the Immigration area. I was happy to see that they changed the area; now U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents use one side and Visitors use the other. I hope this means they have more Immigration officers too.

It was not crowded at all, so I was able to see an Officer rather quickly. She asked where was I coming from and I told her. She then asked why and I told her. She paused and looked at me and asked why? It is historical, I said, she laughed and stamped my documents.

It felt strange to have arrived nonstop from Heathrow to Houston. I had not done that before (neither had anyone else until this day) and the closest I've been to that is taking British Airways flights over Washington Dulles (IAD), Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) and Detroit/Metro Wayne (DTW).

Earlier today though, British Airways was scheduled to fly the same route as BA195 departing at 10:30a from Terminal 5 and arriving at Terminal D at 2:40p on a Boeing 777-200ER. Due to Terminal 5 issues, the flight departed at 2:40p and arrived at 4:11p, this means CO5 is the first flight to provide nonstop service from London-Heathrow on March 30, 2008.

British Airways also had a second flight BA197 which was following us across the Atlantic scheduled to depart at 1:15p and arrive at 5:30p also on a Boeing 777-200. The actual times were a 5:30p departure and a 6:28p arrival.

It is a great weekend in aviation history, I am happy that I was able to partake in it. I hope you enjoyed the coverage.

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