Sunday, March 30, 2008

Heathrow Inaugural: London-Heathrow, London England (LHR) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

CO5 30MAR08 London-Heathrow International, London England (LHR) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) 11:15a 3:22p 777 N77019

Flight Time: 9:52

I started to walk down the long jetway and was greeted by a throng of people. There were two ladies handing out souvenir gifts for the inaugural. It was Clotted Cream Fudge in a silver box that read on one side:

Now serving
Inaugural flights
March 30, 2008
Continental Airlines

After collecting my box, I was flagged for additional security. After all that I then boarded the airplane through the second door from the front.

I was greeted by the flight attendant who waved me down the first aisle of this twin aisle 285-seater jet with its 50 BusinessFirst and 235 Economy seats.

I found my bulkhead aisle seat and decided to sit in the row behind it as I am not a fan of bulkhead seats unless I have no other choice. At 6' 1", I prefer to stretch my legs out all the way under the seat in front of and I also hate having to lift up that TV monitor, plus the chair tables are usually odd in the bulkhead and even if you wanted to the armrest cannot be lifted.

For entertainment today, we have the audio/video on demand touch screen system with the choices below. There is also a regular power plug just below the seat, there are two for each cluster of three seats. It is interesting to note that the entertainment choices are identical to those in the BusinessFirst cabin.:

  • Movies (339 including August Rush, Bee Movie, Batman Returns )
  • Short programs (178 including 30 Rock, The Class, Everybody Hates Chris, House)
  • Music (213; classical, country, jazz, pop, R&B/urban, rock and world))
  • Games (26; arcade, board/puzzle, educational, gaming and kids)
  • Flight map

There was a bit of seat shuffle at the end, but it all quited down and we had about six open middle seats all in my area of the airplane.

We had to wait a bit for our departure as we were waiting for bags of connecting passengers. It was not until 11:51a that we pushed away from the gate. The safety video played and then the cabin was prepared for departure.

The taxi out was delayed additionally as Terminal 4 is on the left side of runway 27L, so we had to wait for landing aircraft in order to cross the active runway. On our way over to the takeoff runway, I saw the A380 from Singapore Airlines pushing back. As well as Korean Airlines' Boeing 747-400 Cargo, Kuwait Airways Boeing 777, United's Boeing 777 and just a bunch of other airplanes.

Finally, it was our time and we took to the skies at 12:18p. The inaugural flight to Houston was finally airborne.

After takeoff, the lead flight gave an overview of the service stating that we would have a lunch service first and then an inflight snack later, plus an arrival snack. Coupons or cash could be used for beer, wine or margaritas at a cost of 5 USD or 3 GBP in Economy class. Movie headseats were complimentary.

Peanuts and beverages were served at 1:00p.

Shortly after, there was a choice of Chicken Vesuvio with rice or beef lasagna at 1:33p; I chose the chicken which was served with a roll, butter, crackers cheese, a salad and a apple type dessert.

I fell asleep after the meal while watching a short comedy with two New Zealanders who were being discriminated against as everyone thought they were from Australia.

I awoke with 3:22 to go to an ice cream and drink service. I was parched so this was right timing.

Landing documents were handed out with 2:49 to go as I worked on my computer as I had in-seat power. I was even able to charge my phone as well.

With 1:15 to go and me now entrenched in the movie "Juno" the arrival snack was served. It was a warm turkey and chicken sandwich plus chips and a chocolate bar.

The arrival video started at 2:42p; initially you could hear it on the PA, but then it went silent and you could only see the video.

We prepared for landing and I kind of sat around as I did not take out my book before all was settled. It was a beautiful day out although just a tad bumpy while coming on for a landing. I wonder how many spotters are out there watching this historic flight come in for a landing?

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