Sunday, July 13, 2008

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.

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