Monday, February 18, 2008

Brussels, Belgium: Arriving in Newark Liberty, Newark, NJ (EWR)

18FEB08 Newark Liberty International, Newark NJ (EWR)

As we landed, our plane had to wait for a Continental Express XRJ-145 to take off. I snapped a picture as it reached for the skies past my window.

Once that was done, we crossed the active runway, made a right turn and headed for Terminal C. As we did so, I could see a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 landing on the same runway we did followed by a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320.

Interior of the Boeing 767-200

Once we got to the gate, we made our way to the Presidents Club, had some refreshments and then relaxed for a bit. I needed to get a ticket for the Jet Airways flight, so I did so. Then it was time check-in for the flight to ensure that it had room for me. I took the short walk outside to Terminal B as the weather was perfect for such a stroll.

I approached the Jet Airways counter and was able to check-in easily and got a window seat at the Exit row. I returned to the Lounge in Terminal C as there was not one at Terminal B that I could use. Once back in Terminal C, I finished up my work and bade my colleague good bye until we meet again across the Atlantic.

I left Terminal C at about 6:20p and made my way to Terminal B via the AirTrain. I went through security in Terminal B which took a long time although the line was short. People were just moving extra slow for some reason.

Once I cleared, I looked around and noticed that L’Avion’s Boeing 757-200 flight to Paris was in the final stage of boarding. My flight was the only other flight that was leaving at that time. The board showed later departures from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

I tried to get a different seat other than the Exit row window, but to no avail a they had all been assigned.

I walked around some more and saw that the L’Avion aircraft had just pushed back and the staff was clearing away the crackers and cheese and juice they had for the passengers.

Boarding of our flight started at 6:50p with the usual those who need assistance, children, First and Premium class passengers and then Economy class by row numbers from the back forward. There was a slight backup in the jet as passengers picked up newspapers on the way in.

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.

Brussels, Belgium: Leaving Houston, TX

Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

We left the Club at 11a and made it to gate C16. At C14, there was another 767-200 leaving for New York at 11:45a. It too was delayed until 12:00 noon.

I had the agent print my boarding passes and boarded when it was my turn. There was quite the crowd, so the agent advised customers to please clear the area and wait until their row was called. As I waited, I saw World Airways’ MD-11 being towed from Terminal D to the holding area near the cargo area. I think it arrived first thing in the morning from West Africa.

Brussels, Belgium: Delayed flight

We have a one hour and five minutes on our flight. All flights to New York are delayed this morning.

Brussels, Belgium: Houston, TX

My colleague picked me up at 8:50a, about 50-20 minutes behind schedule; he got up late. Not to worry, we had plenty of time. The drive to the airport was without issues and we arrived in plenty of time.

Clearing security was not bad at all, so it all worked out. I saw a lady with a new born and a three or four year old son; wow, I totally respect that. It is a lot of work to travel with young kids.

We headed to the Presidents Club for breakfast of bagel, muffin and a banana. Our flight is delayed...

Brussels, Belgium: Off to Brussels

Well, I have to get to Brussels for work today so here I go again...