Saturday, February 23, 2008

Waco, TX: Arriving in Houston Intercontinental, TX (IAH)

23FEB08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)
We touched down at 1:31p and taxied to the gate. On our way there, I saw Delta Connection Bombardier CR9 taxiing out.

At the gate, I deplaned and boarded the waiting bus. The driver first gave information as to the stops. First Terminal A (which is where we were), then Terminal B and finally Terminal C/D/E. It was funny as we drove like two step for the Terminal A stop at gate A2. One passenger deplaned.

I got off at Terminal B, the next stop. Upstairs, I looked at the Flight Information Display as I was thinking of going to Texarkana, TX (TXK). The flight was at 5:40p though. I looked at the board and thought of visiting another city, but none seemed interesting enough and would have a flight back today.

I headed up to the Presidents Club, showed my credentials and settled in. I looked up the flights and realized that the TXK flight returns in the morning. Same thing for Del Rio, TX (DRT). I just decided to get the blog updated and do some work. Here is a cute picture of a Continental Boeing 757-200 and a Boeing 737-800 taxiing by in tandem.

The next trip for me will be to Guam (GUM) and Sydney, Australia (SYD) next week. Not sure of the routings just yet.

Waco, TX: Waco Regional Airport, Waco, TX (ACT) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

CO9554 23FEB08 Waco Regional Airport, Waco, TX (ACT) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) 1:00p 2:00p SF3 N352CJ operated by Colgan Air as Continental Connection

Flight Time: 0:46

As I boarded, I said hello to the flight attendant; she smiled and said that she thought that I was kidding when I said I'd be right back. I made my way back to the last row although I was in row 7, the Exit row.

That back row has four seats while the other 11 rows is in a 1-2 configuration with a lavatory at the right front of the airplane.

At 12:44p, the Captain came on the PA and gave his welcome. He says the current temperature is 58F in Houston with light variable winds and clear skies. It is a good day to fly he concluded.

In the meantime, the flight attendant had closed the door and now started her welcome aboard and did her safety demo in English. We pulled forward at 12:48p and headed for runway 19. As we were the only traffic, we were airborne in no time. It was really beautiful outside.

The ding came at 1:02p and two minutes later the Captain came on the PA and said we were at 9,000' and that is our cruising altitude. The beverage service had started and this time, I was served a pack of pretzel and one of peanuts; I topped it off with a ginger ale. I asked the flight attendant if she had hot drinks and she said yes. I also asked about alcoholic beverages. She said that none was loaded in Houston, which is the reason why she did not make any announcement about there being a charge for it.

At 1:19p, the Captain came on the PA and said that we were starting our descent and that the temperature in Houston was now 62F, the winds were 6mph and visibility is 10 miles. The flight attendant then prepared the cabin for landing.

Waco, TX: Arriving in Waco Regional Airport, Waco, TX (ACT)

23FEB08 Waco Regional Airport, Waco, TX (ACT)

We landed and taxied up to the main terminal. This small terminal has two gates and no jetway facilities. There is also some construction going on at the front airside of the airport.

As we pulled up, I could see a Trans States Airlines Embraer ERJ-145 at the other hard stand. The aircraft was in United colors except for the tail, so I am not sure what is happening there. Do you? Especially since it is only American Eagle and Continental Connection that serves the airport.

We all deplaned and headed for the terminal, walking around the fenced area. I told the flight attendant that I'd be right back, but I don't think she heard me or figured out what I was saying.

As soon as I got into the terminal, the agent was announcing that it is the final security call and the security area will be closed. So I had no chance to look around or go outside :-(.

I put my stuff on the security tables and cleared security again. I barely had time to see the Continental Connection and American Eagle desks.

Boarding started at 12:31p, man they want to leave early, I guess if all the passengers are ready to go, then sure. All seven of us showed our boarding passes and walked outside to the waiting airplane.

I was the last to board again.

Waco, TX: Houston, TX (IAH) to Waco, TX (ACT)

CO9502 23FEB08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Waco Regional Airport, Waco, TX (ACT) 11:45a 12:45p SF3 N352CJ operated by Colgan Air as Continental Connection

Flying Time: 0:52

As I boarded, I was greeted by the flight attendant. She was just wrapping up her announcement. She told me to sit anywhere in the back although I had row 4. It was a light load (10) and I assumed that it was due to the weight restrictions of this 1-2 leather seat configured Saab 340. It even have overhead bins.

I made my way to the back and a minute later, the door was closed at 11:34a and the flight attendant gave her manual safety demo in English. At 11:39a, we pulled forward and headed for runway 33R/15L. At 11:42a, we were airborne.

I love being smaller planes as you get such views of the earth below; take a look at what I mean:

It took forever for the 10,000’ ding which came at 11:53a. By this time, the flight attendant was serving drinks and peanuts. I asked for apple juice and got the whole can. The lady across from me one row up was having some carrots, crackers and cheese, I assume from the airport Lounge. I checked and I did have some crackers as well since the peanuts were too hard to eat.

After serving everyone, the flight attendant advised that it was O.K. to use your electronic devices and gave the welcome on board saying her name and advising that if there is anything she can do to help, not to hesitate to ask.

We have 0:37 minutes to go says the Captain at 11:57a advising us to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.

At 12:31p our descent into the Waco area started about 40 miles out from the field. The Captain said it was 58F down there and a little windy. He said we may have bumps on landing and will be landing in about 14 minutes and saying thanks and advising the flight attendant to prepare for arrival.

The flight attendant then advised that she would come clean up stuff; you can use your cell phones once we land and we should put away our electronic stuff.

As we approached the field, you could see it in the hazy distance as well as other structures.

At 12:23p, we touched down. It was a beautiful sight to see on landing on this clear day which was perfect for flying.

Waco, TX: Arriving at the airport in Houston, TX (IAH)

23FEB08 Houston-Intercontinental Airport, Huston TX (IAH)

I headed straight for security as my phone rang; it was my aunt, I had called her earlier and left a message. I talked with her as I quickened my step, placing her on hold as I made it through security. I turned right as I cleared security and then in a few moments after printing my boarding passes at the nearby kiosk realized that I had gone the wrong direction. I turned around and headed in the opposite direction towards gate 33.

Once there I carefully ran down the stairs arriving at 11:19a at the door of the waiting bus. We left the stand at 11:22a and headed first for Terminal B at gate 67 and then for Terminal A at gate A2. On our way to Terminal B, the driver asked if there was anyone for Waco on board. I held up my hand as well as shouted “Yes” over the noise of the engine. She said something over the radio and continued driving.

Once at Terminal B, she asked for my name, it was now 11:24a. At 11:28a, we arrived at Terminal A’s gate A2. She called me forward telling me to go up the jetway and over to gate A1 where they are waiting for me. I thanked her and sprinted up the jetway to the locked door. I clicked on the exit button and nothing. I then turned the handle and it turned in my hand as an agent was opening it from the other side.

I raced over to gate A1 where there were two agents talking, on holding a boarding pass aloft. He asked me my name, I concurred and he slid my boarding pass through the gate reader and gave it to me, plus a return boarding pass with a seat assignment on it. He then directed me down the jetway as I said thank you and followed his direction.

I got to the end and a guy stopped me and told me to wait; he was trying to find a bus for me. The view was cool, there were Saab 340s on the tarmac in Continental Connection colors and off on runway 8R there was a Continental Express ERJ-145 landing. There were also buses all over the place. I could see A2 where I had arrived across the way.

My view was disturbed by him telling me to follow him as he called over a bus.

Waco, TX: Getting to the airport

23FEB08 Houston, TX

My goal was to catch the 9:07a or so bus so I can easily connect to the 9:58a to the airport. My backup is the 9:22a which cuts it close, but still makes it. With that in mind, I left the house with ample time to make the 9:07a happen. As I neared the bus stop, I realized that I was missing my ID so I had to return home to get it.

On my way back to the bus stop, the bus passed by. The wait for the next one was not too long and I passed the time by catching up with family on the mobile. The next bus arrived earlier than expected and dropped me downtown with more than enough time to catch the 102 semi-express to the airport. It says it is an Express bus, but the word Express indicates no stops and this bus stops several times during its one hour journey to the airport.

I waited about 30 minutes before the bus arrived late at 10:10a. Its scheduled arrival time at the airport is 10:51a; I am not sure it will make it. Not an issue as the flight is at 11:45a and I am already checked in. it’s just that this may cut into my valuable Lounge time since the bus arrives in Terminal C and the flight departs from Terminal A. I don’t think there is a Lounge in Terminal A at the moment that I can use.

At 11:06a, the bus arrived at the airport. I’ll have to hustle now in order to get some Lounge time in and still take that shuttle over to Terminal A.

This weekend's journey

I am thinking Waco, TX (ACT) as I've not logged that airport just yet. I also thought of Bismark or Fargo, North Dakota, but the flights don't look so good and it is too cold. Although weather don't really deter me from traveling anyways.