Sunday, July 27, 2008

San Francisco, CA July 2008: Departing Dallas/Forth Worth International, Dallas, TX (DFW)

It was 5:48p when I arrived at Terminal E. I paid the drive the $18 plus a tip and went upstairs using the escalator.

There was no issues getting through security, except that the lady in front of me had an expired driver's license. Apparently she needed the receipt that said she had renewed it. The lady allowed her through anyways; she was with her husband I guess.

I then checked at the gate for my boarding pass which I got and scored a middle seat. I then went to the Presidents Club, showed my credentials and gained access.

I had a banana, a bagel and two muffins and some juice and relaxed for a bit. Soon it was time to go so I headed to the gate and boarded when it was my turn.

San Francisco, CA July 2008: It is way too early to be getting up

It was 4:00a when the phone rang. I had also set the mobile to ring at 4:00a, but I awoke at 3:59a and turned it off before it did so.

I was heading to San Francisco via Houston this morning before heading back to Houston later that day.

My body ached as I dragged myself out of bed as I had only gone to sleep less than an hour earlier.

By 4:30a, I was downstairs so I could wait for the Super Shuttle van to arrive at the pre-arranged 4:45a. At 4:44a, the driver called me and advised he was running late. he figured about 20 minutes or so. I reminded him of my 6:30a departure and he said no issues I should be fine.

He called again at 5:15a and said he was pulling into the parking lot. I went outside and jumped into the van. There were four others in there as well. They all had flights on American. We made one more stop and then we were on the highway to the airport.

He asked which terminal and gate and the folks who were taking American had no idea. So I asked for the flight number and called American at 1-800-433-7300 and got the information. The lady was quite impressed by the generosity.

When we got to DFW, the airline names were written on huge boards, but unless you knew your gate, you were pretty much hosed if you were flying on American as they used almost all the terminals. And DFW is so weird that you there are different stops for different gates. There has to be a better system I thought.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dallas, TX July 2008: Arriving in Dallas-Love Field, Dallas TX (DAL)

26JUL08 Dallas-Love Field, Dallas TX (DAL)

It was 12:52p when we touched down on runway 31R. The airport seemed vacant, but that's cause we were on the American and Continental side.

We pulled off the runway and headed for the gate. I could see a boeing 767 on the left, but not sure who owned it. it seemed like a private ownership.

You can see the tower here as we pulled into the gate.

The Control Tower by the gate.

I deplaned and headed for the Baggage Claim area. There was a tiny sign pointing that way and the lady who was walking with me was not sure where to turn. I helped her along as I'd been to that airport before.

I called my friends, but they were a ways away so I decided to hang out in the Southwest terminal for a bit. I saw the following planes:

I did not think they still use Boeing 737-200s.

Eventually I went to wait outside security and in about an hour my friends showed.

Dallas, TX July 2008: Houston Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH) to Dallas-Love Field, Dallas, TX (DAL)

CO2826 26JUL08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Dallas-Love Field, Dallas TX (DAL) 12:00 noon 1:00p ERJ N??933

Flight Time: 0:40
Seat Map

As I walked down the jetway, I could see that the cabin bags that are too big for the cabin were still in the jetway. There was also a little backup at the doorway as well. I looked over at the lone female flight attendant and smiled an hello; she reciprocated. Then she got on the PA and made a welcome aboard announcement.

The Embraer Regional Jet 145 (ERJ-145) is just about 6’2” in interior height so I had to bend a little as I negotiated my way down the 1-2 configuration of 50 leather seats. I had a window seat on the two side.

The lady at the aisle let me in and noting how tall I am volunteered for me to sit at the aisle instead. I told her thanks but took the window as it was a beautiful day for flying and I wanted to see out. I got settled in, stuffing my backpack under the seat in front of me.

The Captain came on the PA at 11:50a and announced that the flying time was a quick 0:40 today, the temperature was 29C/85F and the visibility was 10 miles.

At 11:55a, the flight attendant made another announcement that this was the flight to Dallas so please ensure that this is where you wanted to go. Two minutes later the door closed and came with a notification to turn off the electronic devices especially those blackberries, strawberries and raspberries; this brought a chuckle as did the prior announcement.

It was 12:02p when the safety announcement started playing and the flight attendant did the demo. Pushback started about the same time as did an engine start. Our taxi out to the runway started at 12:06p.

It was a quick taxi and by 12:10p, we were airborne having used runway 33R-15L.

It was a nice take off and we made a hard right hand turn so I could see the entire airport in its glory. I could even see the airplane that was behind us on the runway, a Continental Boeing 757-300.

The flight attendant came on the PA and announced that due to the very, very short flight, there would be no beverages served onboard, but she was available if anyone needed her. I always think it strange that U.S. carriers don’t serve a meal on short flights when in Europe, you sometimes get a hot meal on a 0:45 flight between London and Amsterdam or Paris.

As I was really tired, I went to sleep and awoke when the Captain said we had 0:25 to go and had started our descent. He also added that it was 90F at the moment on the ground.

It was great to see the city below as we descended.

Dallas, TX July 2008: Arriving in Houston Intercontinental, Houston, TX

26JUL08 Houston Intercontinental. Houston TX (IAH)

I made my way to through security, then headed for Terminal B via the overhead train. There was no waiting as a train arrived just as I made it to the platform. It was 11:23a when I arrived in Terminal B. I checked the Flight Information display (FID) to ensure that my flight was still at gate B71. It had actually changed to gate B73, so it was flashing on the FIDs. As I had some time, I made it to the Presidents Club but I had missed breakfast, so I just had some cheese, crackers, some water and a banana. I also picked up the weekend edition of the Financial Times.

I made my way down to the gate shortly and inquired if I had received a seat as yet. As it turns out, this was not the case. I was not really worried as this flight still had a few open seats. The boarding process started at 11:45a and soon after everyone had boarded, I received a window seat assignment at the rear of the plane.

I collected my boarding pass and boarding right away.

Dallas, TX July 2008: Leaving downtown Houston, TX

Downtown Houston, TX

I did not check the times for the bus and had decided to just wing it as I went along. I figured at most I’d have to wait 40 minutes for a bus to the airport. As such, I was in luck and caught the 10:08a departure which was scheduled to arrive at the airport at 11:21a, it arrived at 11:11a. The bus after that one would have arrived at 11:51a and would have made it a very anxious morning.

As I approached Terminal D, I noticed that a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 was sitting at the hard stand. Odd, I guess yesterday’s flight had a mechanical issue.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Farnborough 2008: Videos from the Show

More videos to follow...

The Kingfisher A330 and the Airbus A380 standing around

Preparing the Kingfisher A330 for take off

The A380 moving into position for takeoff

The A380 Landing; people kept getting in my way...

The Kingfisher A330 taking off

Avro Vulcan B-2 taking off

The Dassault Falcons

Farnborough 2008: Pictures from the Show

General pictures around the Airshow

The Air India (AI) Boeing 777-300ER

The Airbus A380

The Airbus Company's Static Display

The Boeing Company's Static Display

Aerial Display of two Dassault Falcons

Kingfisher Airlines (IT) Airbus A330

The Red Arrows Aerial Display

The RAF Avro Vulcan B-2

Aerial Display of the USAF B-1B

Vintage Warbirds

Funny TSA Song

I saw this on one of my newsgroup and I think it is quite funny...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Farnborough 2008: Departing London-Heathrow International

19JUL08 Arriving in London-Heathrow International, London England (LHR)

I had decided that I'd had back home as I felt rotten as my cold continued. I had breakfast and then headed out.

It was 9:07a when I got to Terminal 4 via the Picadilly line, exactly an hour from when I boarded the train at Kings Cross St. Pancras station.

I made my way up two floors to the departure level, found the Continental counter, checked in, did the security checks then headed to the security lines.

I was through there in no time and made my way to the Holideck near gate 11. I showed my credentials and entered the Lounge. Of course, I headed straight for the tower area so I could see the planes.

I was surprised that the Singapore Airlines (SQ) A380 was not at its gate. It must be late or not operating today I thought. I watched a few more planes land before going downstairs to the Quiet Room. I am still amazed each time I see a Boeing 747-400 land as it is a spectacular site!

I got online and watched a few more planes land. Eventually the Continental Boeing 777-200ER that would hopefully take me back to Houston landed and made its way to gate 24. It was indeed about 30 minutes late in arriving. That made our departure time 11:34a as my TripAlert had said.

At about 10:45a, I began to head to the gate area. It was quite a walk. Once there, I asked the agent if the I had a seat and indeed I did thankfully.

I was looking around for my colleague's wife as I knew that she was on the flight as well. As it turns out there were only two more empty seats so she would not make it. We talked a bit and it made sense for her to try the British Airways (BA) flight at about 1:15p or so.

Boarding started about 11:10a and I boarded when it was my time. It was odd as this lady pushed right in front of me and the guy checking the passports did not see that, oh well...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Farnborough Airshow 2008: It was FAB

If you don't know, the airport code for Farnborough is FAB...

Here are some pics to tide you over.

More Photos and videos to follow...

Farnborough 2008: Ariving in Houston Intercontinental (IAH) from London Heathrow (LHR)

18JUL08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

We touched down on the far runway, 8L I think at 4:48p. It was a really smooth landing and the guy next to me and I commented on it as we turned off the runway.

We waited for a sec and then crossed the second parallel runway and made our way to gate D12 at 4:56p. I was expecting Terminal E, but I guess the gates were full over there since we are a bit tardy.

To add to our lateness, the agent could not get the jetway to the plane, so it took about 15 minutes for the doors to open.

I finally deplaned and headed for Immigration where there was no line and it was easy to get through. After a quick pass through Customs, I headed to Terminal C for the bus. Sadly, I just missed the 5:29p bus so had to wait for the 6:09p.

Farnborough 2008: Arriving in London-Gatwick International from Houston Intercontinental (IAH)

18JUL08 London-Gatwick International, London England (LGW)

We touched down at 7:16a on runway 8L. We crossed the right parallel runway, 8R and then turned right and taxied back to the terminal.

We passed a few airplanes that I'd not seen before. It's been a while since I landed in Gatwick; I think the last time was in March of this year.

I don't know who is operating this white A321.

There must be a Sheik in town.

So I did not realize that easyJet got Airbus A321. When did they get those?

Eventually, we taxied up to our gate at the Satellite terminal with a First Choice Boeing 757-200 on our left.

I deplaned and caught up with one of my colleagues. We talked all the way to the Immigration counter, where he went to the UK residents line.

We would have both used the IRIS as the line were really long, but unfortunately, it was broken. It was broken the last time I was in Gatwick in March! :-(. It was 7:36a when I got on the queue and 8:40a when I saw an Officer...

I did a quick change in the bathroom and then headed through Customs. I checked if there was a bus to Farnborough from Gatwick, but there was not. I then headed to the South Terminal and got the next possible train to Farnborough via Clapham Junction.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Farnborough 2008: Departing Downtown Houston, TX

Downtown Houston, TX

I departed work at about 1:02p and made my way to the bus stop. I realized that I did not have any change for the bus, so I had to buy a bottle of water from the coffee shop to get some change.

I walked to the stop in the blistering Houston heat; it was horrible!

1:19p arrived and no bus. So I called up Metro and was told that the bus had broken down and the next one was at 2:05p and would arrive at 3:15p. Well that sucks as so much for my airport plans - get a ticket on another airline, hang out in the Club for a bit, check e-mail, etc.

There was an apology, but does that really help? A replacement bus would have...

The bus did arrive as I finished my bottle of water. Promptly though at 3:15p, it pulled into Terminal C.

I made my way over to the E Terminal without any issues at security. I stopped for a bit outside the Club and checked e-mail and hotel information using the WiFi signal from the Club. It would have taken too long to get my card out and have it swiped, go upstairs and sit down.

After I was done, I headed for gate E18. Once there, I got a seat in BusinessFirst on the 767-400 so that was a very good thing indeed. Boarding had already started so I just showed my boarding pass and entered through the empty Elite Access lane.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My currency gadget shows an easy conversion btwn GBP and USD:

A colleague sent me this today...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Farnborough Airshow 2008

It is that time of the year again to visit a small sleepy town that comes to life once every other year for about two weeks or less for the Farnborough International Airshow.

It is the place where Boeing and Airbus show off their new toys, if they have any, and airlines spend money on airplanes.

The plan is to depart the U.S. for London, England on Thursday night and arrive first thing on Friday morning and make our way to the field. It is usually grueling as we try to stay up until about 6p or so when the show comes to a close for the last day of the Trade Days.

My first time to Farnborough back in 1995 I think it was, I had gone to the Consumer Days on Saturday and Sunday and the crowd was incredible; I vowed never to do that again if I can help it. So I am able to help it.

You can find more details about the show at

This Airshow is similar, but not to be confused with the Paris Airshow, so you can take a look at a video for that show held last June to get an idea of what will be at this show.

Here are pictures from Farnborough in 2006. You may also find other pictures here as well.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Arriving in Houston, TX (IAH) from Atlanta, GA (ATL)

13JUL08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

We touched down about 4:30p and taxied to the gate in the C Concourse, or is it Terminal at this airport? We were almost 5 hours late.

The lead flight attendant announced that the gate agent would have connecting flight information so it was necessary to contact them once we deplane.

Deplaning was easy, no one seemed to be in a hurry, which was quite funny. We headed out and checked on the flight information displays. All the flights to and from Atlanta, GA were delayed. Oddly enough, the 1:10p departure had also arrived at about the same time as our flight did.

Our plane was due to do a flight to Miami, FL (MIA) which was showing about a 0:45 minute delay.

We then headed to the parking shuttle bus stop and headed out.

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta GA (ATL) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

CO1587 13JUL08 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta GA (ATL) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) 10:45a 11:53a 735 N??649

Flight Time:
Seat Map

I greeted the two flight attendants at the door and made my way past the two rows of 2-2 leather seats in First Class to the rows of 3-3- configuration in Economy class. As I was really tired, I snagged two pillows from the overhead as I made my way to my seat.

I found a place for my bag and then settled in, getting up twice to allow the window seat and middle seat passengers to pass. The guy in the middle was having issues finding a place for his bag and actually had to check it as there was no more room. There were also other bag space issues as the space came to a premium.

I looked through the window on the left and saw a massive storm building; I was hoping that we would get out of here before that engulfed the airport. The lady at the window and I commented on it.

It was a minute past departure time and the Captain came on the PA and announced that the airport had a ground stop due to the storm coming in and we had to wait until it cleared up. He thinks it would be 30-45 minutes. Bummer, I thought. As I was really tired, I fell asleep right away.

Later, I awoke and heard the Captain say that we were going to leave the gate and head out to the taxiways, but we would still have to wait. I think it was like 12:20p now.

[My traveling companion later told me that there was a lady who wanted to go to McDonald's to get something to eat, but no one was allowed off the plane. In situations like these, everyone has to stay put as no one knows when it will be time to go. You let one person off the plane and ATC rings back and say you have to go now and you can't then you may be delayed longer. Also, one person gets to go to McDonald's, then another wants to go to Starbucks, etc. I'm also told that some passengers had asked for drinks and were served in the back galley, which is fair as the wait was a bit long]

I fell asleep again and I kept waking up to announcements. One said that we were #10 for departure but the west departures were curtailed and another said we were #4 and the departures were curtailed again. Finally, we were #1 and the departures were curtailed again. Each time, passengers were allowed to use their cell phones and also the restroom. I know that at one time water and juice were offered. I was so out of it though…

It was interesting to hear some of the conversations when I was awake, almost all the phone calls blamed the airline. I guess the big storm sitting at the airport had nothing to do with our wait. I'm not sure why an airline would want to disrupt their tight schedule and keep passengers on a plane longer than they need to, especially with fuel so high these days. Do you?

Eventually, it was out time to take to the runway at 3:34p local time, nearly 5 hours since we boarded the plane.

The climb out was a little rough as there was turbulence from the storm. On our left you could see the gray clouds full of moisture. It was impressive to see, but was quite annoying as it was the culprit for our delay.

After takeoff, we were given a beverage service with one pack of peanuts each. I thought that the flight information had said Light Snack, but I guess I was mistaken as I think that was for the original flight we wanted to take at about 2:30p. Luckily I had some crackers and cheese in my bag, so I supplemented the meal.

With 50 minutes of flying to go, the Captain came on the PA and announced that the current weather in Houston was 95F, the winds were calm and visibility of 10 miles. We were also at 36,000’. He apologized for the delay and advised that he had asked for and received an alternate Northerly routing to avoid the storms. This accounted for an extra 15 minutes of flying though. He said we would arrive at about 4:50p or so.

I was surprised that there was only one drink service for the entire flight, but I guess they probably ran out of drinks as they were serving stuff in the galley during the lengthy delay.

The seatbelt sign came on at 4:06p local time, so that meant we were heading in.

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Airplanes in Hartsfield (ATL)

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Arriving at Hartsfield (ATL)

13JUL08 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta GA (ATL)

It was about 8:45a when we arrived at the airport. It was not too crowded and we had no issues checking in at the airport kiosk and received our stand by boarding passes. Security was not an issue either and soon we were on the trains to Concourse D.

The trains in this airport are weird as they don’t tell you which airlines serve which terminal neither audibly or visually. I think you have to wait for the doors to open to see which airlines are at which terminal and then the doors are only open for a short time. But I digress.

We arrived at Concourse D in a few minutes and headed up the long escalator to the departure level. I did notice two guys all sweaty and panting on the left escalator. It seems like they ran from the main terminal building. I hope they caught their flight.

We headed for the Presidents Club where we showed our credentials and were granted access. Eventually, we found two comfy seats in the crowded lounge across from a couple. I searched for an electric outlet, but to no avail. It is weird that they actually have workstation at the windows and no electrical outlets. I did see one or two on the floor, but they were really in the walkway, so not really usable.

I eventually had a bagel with 50% fat free cream cheese and some mini muffins, while my travel companion had some juice and coffee. The coffee was not good, so we went to use a Starbucks free coffee coupon at the Starbucks across from Gate 8A, our departure gate. I thought that no outside food was allowed, but the agent advised that drinks were fine.

Once at the Starbucks, I showed her the card and she said they don’t accept it. I inquired why and she said she was joking. She then tried to upsell me to other beverages and eats, which I declined. She then poured me a steaming hot cup of coffee to the brim and directed me to the condiments section.

I returned to the Club and presented the coffee to my traveling companion. I did notice some Delta Connection CRJs (200s and 700s) outside the window with a flurry of activities. There was also a few airTran Boeing 737-700s with winglets as well as some Boeing 717s.

It was soon time to head to the gate. As we departed the Club, I checked and saw that we were given seats; lucky aisles across.

At the gate, I inquired for our boarding passes and after waiting a bit, received the. Boarding had already commenced, so we just waited for our row to be called and then boarded the Boeing 737-500 with winglets.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Arriving at Hartsfield (ATL) from Houston, TX (IAH)

11JUL08 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta GA (ATL)

We touched down smoothly and taxied into the gate arriving ontime at 10:04p. after what seemed like forever, I made it out of the place and re-joined my traveling companion who had scored the last minute upgrade.

We walked to the middle of Concourse D, then down the escalators and got a train that was just about to leave, five stops later, we arrived at Baggage Claim and took another escalator upstairs to the street level.

We found some kiosks for the MARTA system and realized that there was an additional $0.50 fee plus the $1.75 cost for the one way ride. We went to the desk to find out if we could avoid the fee, but there is no way to do this. It was odd as it was 10:30p and the lights went out at her booth. She then told us that we could no longer use a credit card as they were turned off automatically at 10:30p. We could get tickets, but had to use cash, so we went to the kiosks.

There we paid the $2.25 to get our cards, swiped them and entered the turnstile. Upstairs there was a waiting train to take us to our destination in about an hour.

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta GA (ATL)

CO1720 11JUL08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta GA (ATL) to 7:00p 10:08p 735 N??620

Flight Time: 1:39
Seat Map

I said hello to the two flight attendants in the galley and made my way through the 8-seat First Class cabin. It is configured in a 2-2 configuration with leather seats. Economy class is in a 2-2 configuration.

I found my way to my aisle seat and settled in after saying hello to the two ladies who were obviously traveling together.

At 6:59p, the doors closed and then the manual safety demo started. Pushback commenced soon after. This aircraft has no entertainment system, but not to worry, I had the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal from the Presidents Club, plus a book, "The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches & Proposals" so I had plenty of things to keep me occupied. Not to mention my computer.

It was a short taxi out and we were airborne in no time.

A beverage service started shortly after take off which included a packet of peanuts. The crackers from the Presidents Club sure came in handy.

I pretty much fell asleep after the meal and awoke when we were landing; so much for all that reading material. Being at an aisle seat, i could not tell what was going on outside, so it was just as well I slept. i had gone to bed really late the night before, so I really needed that nap.

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Departing Houston, TX (IAH)

11JUL08 Houston Intercontinental., Houston TX (IAH)

We arrived at Terminal E at about 5:45p. We cleared security without issues and made our way to the Presidents Club. I showed my credentials and received admittance along with my guest.

Once in the Club, we relaxed for a bit, checked e-mail, had some beverages as well as read the newspapers, except they were out of USA Today :(. We also had some snacks of bread sticks, crackers and cheese.

It was soon time to get to the gate so we did.

Once there, we were given boarding passes; one window and an aisle. My companion went to the ATM and when he got back, he scored the last seat in First Class, lucky. We then boarded.

Atlanta, GA July 2008: Leaving downtown Houston, TX

A friend of mine was having a house warming party and it was necessary that I attend. I have a cold and is feeling really crappy, but I pressed on.

It was about 5:00p, when my traveling companion picked me up from in front of our building downtown. The traffic was light on the way to the airport, so we got there in no time and without any delays.

We parked and took the shuttle bus to Terminal E, our departure terminal.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mumbai, India (BOM) July 2008: Arriving in Abu Dhabi, UAE (AUH) from Mumbai, India (BOM)

05JUN08 Abu Dhabi International

We touched down safely with quite the noise from the engines as we slowed down and pulled off the runway. It seemed like forever until we pulled into the gate. Only less than 24 hours ago, we had departed Dubai.

I gathered my stuff together and bade my seat mate goodbye. It is amazing how people would not allow us to get off the plane. Eventually, I had to just say excuse me and step into the aisle.

Outside, I regrouped with my colleague and we made our way to the Transit counter for Etihad (EY). I spoke to an agent there who checked us in for EY11 to London-Heathrow and advised that the flight was still looking O.K. with a few seats left in two classes. He then said to come back at 1:45a; an hour before departure which is when the flight closes. I did notice that the flight to New York-JFK, EY101 was delayed to 2:45a from 2:05a. That’s good as it is one of our backup, although it may not be so good.

The British airways (BA) flight at 2:10a on 6 July 2008 is our backup, so this cut it close and petty much kills our backup flight chance. The numbers on this flight was similar as well the last time I checked which was a few hours ago. I could not find any BA agents to check for an updated status however.

We made a trip to the restroom while we waited. It is odd to have had to wait to use the toilet. The restroom also doubles as a place to wash your feet before prayers so there was a guy whose job it was to squeegee the floors after usage. I had to wait for him to do so as the one that came free was really wet.

Once done, I rejoined my colleague and we went in search of an electrical outlet and a lounge. We checked with one of the lounges and they will take an American Express card for admittance, but the billing address must be from the Middle East; well that rules us out. Otherwise the charge is 25 USD for admittance chargeable to the card. We departed on that news and continued our search for an outlet. We found one inside one of two cafés and sat down only to find out that it did not work at all. My colleague had a pastry, I looked at flight options, etc., then we left to find a place that was cooler as it felt like we were outside.

Time dragged by really slowly unfortunately, but eventually it was 1:30a and time to check on the EY flight to London-Heathrow. We waited for a few minutes and were told to come back in ten minutes. We did and were unable to talk with anyone for some time. Finally at 2:15a, we spoke to an agent who advised that the flight was full and we did not make it.

Crap, I thought…I asked about the flights to Manchester and JFK, but they were also full and in addition, the flight from Delhi had just landed with sixty passengers who had to be prepared for the flight. I then asked about the flight to Brussels which was leaving at 2:50a and was advised that there were seats available. On checking with the ticketing folks, I was advised that my ticket for Heathrow was not valid for Brussels.

I asked the agent what he can do to assist and he asked for our JFK ticket s. we handed those over and he said, to hang on until they checked in all those people and he will see what gives. I got on my computer again finding a new place to plug in and using the complimentary wireless. I made flight arrangements from JFK to Houston via a flight at 10:50a from New York-La Guardia (LGA) as the next Houston-bound flight from JFK would be at 1:29p and did not look so good. We would figure out how to make our way to LaGuardia depending on our arrival time, which I was estimating to be about 9:30a or so. Flight choices out of Newark, NJ (EWR) were not looking as good. It was ironic that we were possibly heading to the New York area as I’d avoided the flights into that area as I knew the flights loads were not pleasant.

The lines at the counter were dwindling fast as customers were checked in and then rushed off to the gate area for security checks, etc. It was 3:05a when we were called forward and given two Economy class seats after a few upgrades were made between two cabins to accommodate us.

We thanked and followed the agent to the gate where we made it through the security checks and were on the plane in no time; my colleague leaving some of his stuff behind and an agent bringing it to him.

Mumbai, India (BOM) July 2008: Leaving Chhatrapati Shivaji International, Mumbai India (BOM) for Abu Dhabi, UAE (AUH)

05JUL08 Chhatrapati Shivaji International, Mumbai India (BOM)

We arrived at the airport at 8:05p after the almost one hour drive that should have taken only twenty minutes. The traffic was disgusting and it was just not moving at times.

The signs into the airport indicated that we should use C & D for the Jet Airways (9W) flight, so the cab driver dropped s off at that location. There were huge crowds at each of the entrances to the airport terminal. We waded through them as they were for the most part families seeing their loved ones off. We then showed our tickets and were told to go to entrance B, aargh. We did so, then showed our tickets again were granted entry to the terminal.

We looked for the Jet Airways (9W) signs and after finding them made our to the check-in counter. It was a bit of a wait to get checked in, but we finally did and were given two middle seats at different parts of the airplane.

We then made our way to Immigration and security checkpoints. It was getting late, so we were being ushered to the gate each step of the way. It did not help any that our gate was the last one in the terminal.

We finally made it there as we passed the 11:35p Airbus A320 Eithad (EY) flight to Abu Dhabi (AUH) at the gate next to our flight. It was painted in a blue livery and looked rather cool.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Mumbai, India (BOM): In Dubai on our way to Mumbai

We just arrived in Dubai, UAE (DXB) after taking the 8p BA flight from IAH to London-Heathrow. Then taking the 12:40p BA flight to DXB arriving at 10:35p.

We are now on CX684 to Mumbai and will arrive at 4:55a...

Mumbai, India (BOM) July 2008: Arriving in Dubai International, Dubai UAE (DXB) from London-Heathrow International, London England (LHR)

04JUL08 Dubai International, Dubai UAE (DXB)

The touchdown was sweet in the darkness of the airport. We taxied into the terminal which took a while. We were hoping that we got a gate this time around as the last time, we got to Dubai, it took forever to get to the terminal.

So taking the later BA flight and connecting over London caused us to arrive at 10:30p as opposed to 6:45p on the nonstop flight from Houston...About a four hour time savings. Not to mention that those folks are on their way to Mumbai already.

We deplaned and followed the signs to the Connection Desk.

We made our way to the congested Connections area. We stopped at the first area we saw and there was no sign of Cathay Pacific Airways (CX). eventually, i caught the attention of an agent and he told us to go to the next Connections section.

There was a huge crowd around the CX desk, but we stood on the queue and waited as time ticked by. The good thing was that our flight did not depart until 12:30a. It was weird the culture in that part of the world has people standing really close to you. So this guy was almost on top of me and I was so uncomfortable that I told him to step back. Eventually, he did.

It was now our turn and after a few minutes, we got a window and an aisle seat. We then cleared the security area and made our way down to the departure level.

Our gate was at the end of the terminal so we got a good taste of the airport. There were people everywhere, sleeping all around the terminal. We were happy that that would not be us on this trip. We walked past a few Lounges and wondered if our credentials would work. But, we had no time to check it out as we were on a mission to our gate.

Eventually, we got there and although they were accepting customers in the gate area, they were going nowhere. So, we just relaxed and sat down as I tried to find an electric outlet. I sat for a while and realized there was free WiFi in the airport. Cool!

I took the chance to check some more hotels and also sent and checked e-mail. Soon, we entered the gate area and made our way down to the waiting bus. This process took some time as the flight was full.

Once on the bus it took us a while to make it out to the plane. It was cool as we approached; it was an Airbus A330 and a Boeing 777-300. I had forgotten which one we were on, but eventually, we pulled up to the middle door of the giant Boeing 777-300!

Mumbai, India (BOM) July 2008: London-Heathrow International, London England (LHR) to Dubai International, Dubai UAE (DXB)

BA107 04JUL08 London Heathrow International to Dubai International, Dubai United Arab Emirates (DXB) 12:40p 10:30p 777 G-ZZZA

Flight Time: 6:15
Seat Map - There is no seat map for this aircraft, but the World Traveller Plus cabin for this aircraft is much smaller than the seat map shown here. I think rows 23-25 are missing. The Economy Class cabin is the same size though, so I think that perhaps there is an extra row in Club World.

We went down the walkway and it was then that I realized that we were heading for a bus to take us to the plane. We made it on the bus and then we waited for a few passengers to arrive. By about 12:25p, we left and headed for the plane. Eventually, I could see a 777 in the distance with the registration G-ZZZA on it. Immediately, I felt sleepy :-).

There is something about approaching a 777 from the ground. It is a big plane. The bus stopped at the stairs and we all disembarked and then went up the unbelievably tall stairs and were greeted by a Cabin Crew member and the Cabin Service Director (CSD).

They told me to take the right aisle and my colleague to take the left aisle. My colleague got to his seat first as we walked through the Club World Class (2-4-2 with some seats facing backwards) and World Traveler Plus (2-4-2), then World Traveler with its 3-3-3 configuration.

There was a guy sitting in my colleague's seat and then he moved over to mine. Once I got to my seat, I asked to see his boarding pass and he was on the other aisle near the window across from my colleague so he moved.

We then got settled in. This aircraft is a little different as it has fewer World Traveller Plus seats and there are two extra lavs behind World Traveller Plus and none in the rear of the airplane. I also don't think that this airplane has any crew rest bunks in it either.

We pushed back soon after waiting for a while. I can only guess that someone was behind us. I did notice that the headsets in World Traveller are different than those in World Traveller Plus; they are thinner and also the amenity kit is in a different color plastics, but has the same toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and blindfolds and ear plugs.

After quite a wait, it was our turn to take off and we took to the skies. A short time after takeoff, we were served beverage of choice and pretzel nuggets; this is the same thing as the last flight.

The main meal followed with a choice of lamb with rice or Chicken Tarragon with potatoes and vegetables. I opted for the chicken that came with a bottle of water, bread, chocolate, summer fruit trifle raspberry and red currants salad with rough oat crackers.

With 5:22 to go, the Captain came on the PA and said that we were at 36,000’ and making good progress towards Dubai. As you would expect it is hazy, temp is low 30sC and with about 40 minutes to he will update us on the arrival time, etc. We are currently scheduled to be touching down at 10:30p. at this point we were over southern Germany.

The CSD announced that the movies should start momentarily says the Cabin Service Director.

For today, our entertainment was:

  1. Son of Rambo
  2. Street Kings
  3. The Oxford Murders
  4. Smart people
  5. Drillbit Taylor
  6. 21
  7. Shine a Light
  8. The Spiderwick Chronicles
  9. Cartoon Network
  10. Family Comedy
  11. Sport
  12. Explore: Brits Abroad

The second round of movies were:

  1. The Game Plan
  2. The Other Boleyn girl
  3. Batman Begins
  4. Toy Story 2
  5. The Bucket List
  6. Jumper
  7. The Big sleep
  8. The water Horse: Legend of the Deep
  9. Sky flyers
  10. US Comedy
  11. Schemes and Scams
  12. Drama: Out of This World

My headphone was scratchy in my seat, so I had to use the one for the middle seat, which was kind of weird as if I moved too much, it got disconnected.

I fell asleep with about 5 hours to go and awoke at 1:13 left.

For Audio

  1. High Life
  2. BBC Comedy
  3. Mark Lamarr’s Musical Journey
  4. BBC On Air
  5. BBC Backstage
  6. BBC Live in concert
  7. BBC Classical Performance
  8. Classical World
  9. Opera
  10. Side Projects
  11. Leading Ladies
  12. Heavy Metal
  13. Pianio Man
  14. Country
  15. Jazz
  16. Well Being

Then there are Games

  1. Backgammon
  2. Blackjack
  3. Chinese Solitaire
  4. Crossword
  5. Daw Poker
  6. Gold Digger
  7. Hangman
  8. Keno
  9. Slots
  10. Solitaire Snap2
  11. Tic-tac-toe
  12. Trivia
  13. Zero G
  14. Kid’s Game
  15. Twins Café
  16. Noisy Farm

The meal was a slice of pineapple, lemonade, dessert (chocolate Tiffin brownie) and two sandwiches (cheese and tomato plus chicken & rocket) with a history of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich who died in 1792.

So like clockwork, at 40 minutes before landing at 9:57p. The Captain came on the PA and said that it was 33C light winds from the Southwest the time in DXB is 3 hours ahead and just coming up to two minutes to 10. In about twenty minutes time the seat belt signs will go on, so now is the time to freshen up if you need to.

We got the cabin ready and made our way into Dubai.

Mumbai, India (BOM) July 2008: Arriving in London-Heathrow International, London England (LHR)

We touched down after making nice approach into Heathrow. As we landed on the runway close to Terminal 4 (runway 27L), it did not take too long to get to the terminal.

I saw the Singapore Airlines (SQ) Airbus A380 at the gate as well as a Saudi Arabia (SV) Boeing 777-200, a Virgin Atlantic (VS) Boeing 747-400, an Iberia (IB) Airbus A320 landing, a plethora of American Airlines (AA) planes and the Etihad (EY) Airbus A340-600 across the way heading out to Abu Dhabi (AUH); oh well.

I also saw an Enbraer ERJ-45 from bmi (BD) landing, a Virgin Atlantic Airways' Boeing 747-400 landing.

This BA Boeing 747-400 was parked at the gate in Terminal 4.

we disembarked and cleared Immigration with ease. I did not use the IRIS system as my colleague was with me and there was no line anyways.

The BA counter was just outside of the Arrivals are so we checked in there. The process was easy and we were given seats right away as the flight was open. No upgrades, but we had the middle seat empty in World Traveller.

We then went upstairs and cleared security and re-entered the terminal. We headed towards the Holideck and was granted entry after showing our credentials.

We headed straight for the tower and watched more airplanes land.

When it was time to go, we headed for gate 1C, showing our boarding passes, then taking the long walk down to the waiting bus.