Saturday, March 08, 2008

The DL 777-200LR: Arriving in Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

08MAR08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

We taxied into the gate at Terminal A and then disembarked. It took a few minutes for this to happen as we were at the back of the plane.

Eventually, we got off and headed for the pickup area where my colleague's friend was picking us up. It is always interesting when you arrive on a late flight and it is virtually empty. The mornings are such the opposite though.

All in all a good trip, although I missed the 777-200LR, but better luck next time I guess.

The DL 777-200LR: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Dallas TX (DFW) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

AA1367 08MAR08 Dallas/Ft. Worth International, Dallas TX (DFW) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) 7:15p 8:25p M80 N?????

Flight Time: 0:41
Seat Map

I greeted the flight attendant on entry and she said hello back. This aircraft has a 2-2 leather seat configuration in First and 2-3 cloth seats in Economy. We quickly made our way back to our seats and got settled.

I placed my jacket in a small space I saw in the overhead and almost immediately after I sat down the guy under that row got up and pulled his jacket out, refolded it and placed it over mine. I thought it was quite funny as he re-took his seat.

Once we were all seated and ready to go, the Captain came on the PA to say that there would be a slight 5-10 minutes delay as they were waiting for last minute bags. He said it was 60F and we would cruise at 31,000' for the 0:41 flight. At 7:27p, we pushed back while the flight attendants did the demo manually. The hum of the number 1 engine commenced followed by that of the #2 engine next to our heads. From these seats, you really feel like you are flying.

We commenced our taxi out to the runway and at 7:36p, we lined up along the runway and were airborne shortly thereafter.

Very soon after takeoff, there was a beverage service offered which started from the back of the plane forward. I had some apple juice and my colleague had some ginger ale.

At 31,000’ about 7:49p, the Captain came on the PA and said that we are at our cruising altitude for a few minuted and would start our descent soon. He said the weather was partly cloudy and the winds were out of the east at 10mph with a temperature of 58F. He expected us to land at 8:25p. He then added that is his hello and good by in the same message as the flight is so short.

We than cruised for another two minutes then commenced our descend at about 120 miles out of Houston.

The trash was taken up and I dosed off for a few minutes and awoke when the rear wheels touched the runway at Houston Intercontinental.

The DL 777-200LR: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Dallas TX (DFW)

08MAR08 Dallas/Forth Worth International, Dallas TX (DFW)

We disembarked and headed for terminal A via the SkyLink train. I also checked the flight information display and the last Continental flight to Houston Intercontinental was at 6:15p; it was 6:19p.

We followed the signs and headed for the Skylink upstairs. An American Airlines pilot also pointed us the way as he overheard us talking about getting to Terminal.

The Skylink is one fast monorail, it is quite crazy actually. It moves very quickly and slows down really fast. As we went by, I noticed that there was snow on the rooftops; good grief, when did that happen?

At Terminal A, which took forever to get to, we disembarked and went downstairs. Our gate, A10, was close to the end of the terminal, but it was not too far a walk at all.

At the gate, we saw our names on the standby list. We were 8 and 9 of 11; not bad I thought. I checked for Internet access and it was a pay system operated by T-Mobile. I have no credentials for the American Airlines Admiral Club, so I had to settle for the seats by the gate. I also found a plug to continue charging my computer.

We got a seat a about 6:50p which was cool and for which we were thankful; this was a middle and the window seat in row 32. This is the last "window" seat on the MD-80.

Once it was time for our Group to board we did so; relieved that we had received seats.

The DL 777-200LR: Los Angeles International, Los Angeles CA (LAX) to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Dallas TX (DFW)

AA2448 08MAR08 Los Angeles International, Los Angeles CA (LAX) to Dallas/Forth Worth International, Dallas TX (DFW) 1:25p 6:25p 763 "364"

Flight Time: 2:24
Seat Map

I boarded the airplane and greeted the flight attendant at the door. She smiled and ushered me forward through the 2-2-2 Business Class cabin. I had to back up as there was a flight attendant coming towards me. She smiled as I made way for her.

As she cleared the way, I started again down the aisle to my seat entering the 2-3-2 configuration in Economy Class. The seats are cloth, except for the movable headrests that are leather. There are also have overhead and bulkhead monitors around the cabin.

We settled into our seats with the middle seat open. There were plenty of other open seats as we took a cursory look around the cabin.

Before pushback, the lead flight attendant or maybe it was the Captain said welcome and advised that the weather in Dallas was 48F/9C.

We pushed back at 1:24p as the safety video started on the overhead monitors. We taxied out along runway 25R which is closed and then went across to 25L and started the roll immediately. At 1:43p, we were airborne.

After takeoff, I heard a ding as we passed 10,000’; it was time to start using my computer now. I felt below my seat and there was a power port; two for these three seats actually. You do need an adapter though that is similar to the one you plug into your cigarette lighter. I had my adapter, but I did not have the cigarette lighter portion so I could not use it.

At 1:53p, headsets were offered for 2 USD; you can also use your own to enjoy the inflight entertainment. I bought one and also asked for a blanket at the same time which she happily brought to me. As she did not have any change, she said she would return with it and also asked me to remind her later in case she did not.

On the overhead monitors, there were some ads as well as shorts of entertainment features from CBS.

At 2:03p, when we were at our cruising altitude of 39,000’ over Palm Springs, the Captain came on the PA and said that our route of flight would take us north of Phoenix, Arizona, south of Denver, Colorado and then on into Dallas. He continued, adding that our arrival time would be 6p, 15 minutes early. He said it would be bumpy for the next 20-30 minutes, so he would keep the seatbelt signs on and that we should stay in our seats. For the kids on board, he said that this airplane cost $120M brand new, the outside air temperature is -63F, the engines produce 60,000lbs of thrust at 8,000 horse power with a temperature of 640F. He also gave the local weather in Dallas and closed by saying to be nice to the flight attendants as they have a tough job as it is; we are going to be early as the landing time is 6p. it got pretty bumpy after his speech.

There was a program on the overhead about the guy who owns the Maltese Falcon yacht that cost a fortune; wow! “Valley Boy” by Tom Perkins is a book he wrote, he was also on the HP Board of Directors. I later realized it was “60 Minutes.”

The flight attendant made an announcement that there is a “Buy on Board” service of Asian Chicken wrap sandwich with Sesame Oriental dressing (orange, carrots, red bell pepper, cabbage, water chestnuts, romaine, almonds, cream cheese) for 5 USD three musketeers trail mix, chocolate chip cookie, potato chips for 3 USD plus a test version of Lipton green tea for 3 USD and alcoholic drinks for 5 USD they accept American Express plus all major credit cards.

Then The New Adventures of old Christine followed by David Letterman show. It looks like all the programs are from CBS.

We were quite hungry, so we had one sandwich each plus some crisps and some white wine (Pacific Vista pinot grigio 2005 California).

Other CBS programs played on on the monitor overhead including "The Late Late Show; "eventually, I fell asleep as I was so tired.

I awoke and heard the pilot say that we had 45 minutes to go, I cleaned up my area and then went back to sleep. I awoke to the gentle touch of the wheels landing on the runway in DFW.

The DL 777-200LR: In Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

So after getting bumped, it was time to get off the natural high and find a way home. I had my passport, buy my colleague had lost his documents on a recent trip and has no documents for international travel. Thus connecting via another country was out of the question today.

We journeyed back to the Presidents Club so we can figure this out. It was now 11:35a and there was a flight at 12:05p. We quickly listed for it and got checked in very quickly. It was all to no avail as there were no open seats and once again we were bumped; good effort though.

The next one was at 2:45p and then again at 4:45p. After that it was a red eye at 12:10a or a 3:45p to Newark, NJ (EWR) which would mean a hotel night or a 8:55p which would arrive at 5:47a and then we could connect to Houston on the 7:30a. All this sounded tiring so we started to look for other options.

I checked via Seattle, WA (SEA); San Diego, CA (SAN); Ontario, CA (ONT); John Wayne, CA (SNA) and San Francisco, CA (SAN), but everything was either full, bad timing or not enough time to make it.

I then checked American Airlines (AA) to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW) and they had room on a 1:25p to DFW, but to IAH was a bit full; overbooked actually. It was now 12:25p and we would still need to buy tickets and walk two terminals over. All that before 12:55p the latest.

We decided to give it a try anyways since there were no other options until the Continental flight at 2:45p. Besides they (AA) had a 2:00p 757 to DFW as well that we could try for and then take American Eagle from DFW to Houston-Hobby, TX (HOU).

We went downstairs and got our tickets and at 12:55p quickly headed for Terminal 4. Once there we looked for a lead agent and then headed to the First Class check-in area as everywhere else had customers who were checking in for flights later than ours that day.

The agent was very sweet and tried to check us in and it worked! One snag, which I knew would happen anyways is that we were tagged for secondary screening :-(. We raced upstairs and showed our credentials and went through the screening without any major incidents.

We then ran to the gate at the end of the concourse of course. The agent there then cleared us to two aisle seats with the middle open.

The DL 777-200LR: In pictures in Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

Delta Air Lines (DL) Boeing 777-200LR arrives in Los Angeles, CA (LAX) on its maiden revenue voyage from Atlanta, GA (ATL) as DL110.
Seat map - 43 lay flat Business Elite seats and 233 Economy class seats

Seat Width/Pitch: BusinessElite®: 20-26 in/44 in (51-66 cm/112 cm)
Bed Length: 76 in
Economy class: 18 in/31-33 in (46 cm/79-84 cm)
Accommodation: 276 passengers
Cruising Speed: 550 mph (880 km/h)
Range: 9,450 miles (17,500 km)
Engine: 2 GE90-110B1, wing mounted
Cargo Capacity: 5,330 cu ft (151 cu m) or 14 LD-3 containers

It has just arrived and the ramp guys are preparing to tow her in.

The guys just came off the flight and are debriefing; they seem really pleased and excited about being on the inaugural.

Here is a link to a picture taken from the other side.

The DL 777-200LR: Arriving in Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

08MAR08 Los Angeles International, Los Angeles CA (LAX)

We landed without incident and started the taxi to the gate. I turned my phone on and there was a message from my friend who had started his journey in Birmingham, Al (BHM). It read

“Misconnected due to snow and a go around. Can't make la now."

Oh crap I thought that is not good at all. Snow in Birmingham, AL?

I got up and took my stuff and even forgot my jacket and another passenger tossed it to me. I guess I got carried away with helping the lady with the big bag that was coming from Ecuador, oh well.

As I waited for our third colleague to off the flight, I called my friend and he relayed the message to me in full. Good grief I thought. He arrived just in time to see the aircraft with taxi lights flashing and getting ready to push back from the gate.

Once my friend joined us, we all headed for Terminal 5 via the tunnel that leads from Terminal 6. I found an agent at the gate and he checked us in. It was just 9:30a, so we all went up to the Delta Crown Room and relaxed for a bit.

Unfortunately, as I am a Presidents Club member, I have to pay for Internet access when using the Crown Room. Only Crown Room Club members are given a coupon for complimentary Internet. As a result I did not get a chance to send any updates or check schedules, etc.

We left when we saw the airplane land on 25L. It was good to see it, but it caught me off guard so no pictures.

We went down to the gate to see it and it was awesome. Unfortunately, it was full and we were too far down the standby list (29 and 30 of 41), so we did not get on. Six people did though!

There were 38 persons waiting for a seat on the

The DL 777-200LR: Houston, TX (IAH) to Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

CO459 08MAR08 Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Los Angeles, California (LAX) 738 w/winglets N??218

Seat Map

Flying Time: 3:19

I said good morning to the flight attendant as we boarded and she reciprocated. This aircraft has 16 leather First Class seats with 141 cloth seats in Economy class. There are overhead monitors throughout the cabin and this aircraft does not have power in any of the seats. Some of the Continental 737-800s do have power at the First class seats and in select rows in Economy class. I made my way to my seat and settled in without any issues. I had to help the lady next to me to put her heavy bag in the overhead. She even acknowledged that it is heavy.

The cabin was rather dark as many of the windows were closed and I’ve noticed that passengers are scared to open the windows if they are closed when they enter the airplane. Usually in the summertime, the cleaning crew closed the windows as it keeps the cabin cool; but it is cold outside so I am not sure why the windows were closed this morning.

The Captain gave his welcome at 6:59a and advised our flying time was 3:19. The main cabin door closed just about 7:10a and then we waited in silence. At 7:19a, the Captain advised that we were waiting for late bags. At 7:22a, we pushed back and the safety announcement started in English.

As the window shades were closed all around me, I had no idea which way we went and what we were passing. I had hoped to get a glimpse of the Lufthansa aircraft, but that was not going to occur today at all.

At 7:31a, the #2 engine was started as we taxied out to the runway. At 7:35a, we commenced our takeoff roll and was airborne shortly after.

After takeoff, there was an announcement about the miles being earned for today’s flight, SkyMall catalog sales and that there would be a movie at a cost of 1 USD for headsets or you can use your own for free. Beer, wine and margarita was at a cost of 5 USD each in Economy class. There would also be a breakfast serving today. The movie is “August Rush” which was offered in English and Spanish.

A preview of the movie was done after which headsets were offered for 1 USD by a flight attendant passing through the cabin. Soon, there was an announcement made if anyone had change for 20 USD; I think I heard a flight attendant call button ring, so that was taken care of.

At 7:58a, the Captain came on the PA and advised that we were at our cruising altitude of 36,000’ and he expected a smooth ride so he would turn off the seatbelt signs. He anticipated an arrival time of 8:55a and the current weather is cloudy with a temperature of 53F. The winds were light and variable from the Southeast. He then thanked us for flying with Continental today and welcomed us onboard.

The movie started shortly after he was done with his welcome.

I heard a call for watch your elbows and arms behind me at 8:07a; it was the flight attendants with the morning’s meal; I wonder what it will be. It was Total Whole Grain cereal with a banana and 2% reduced fat milk.

This would be my third banana for the day; I guess I’ve exceeded my potassium limit for today J. There was also a Chase OnePass bonus miles offer in the breakfast container. Beverages followed shortly after this presentation.

At 8:20a, we had some rough air so the seatbelt signs went on and the flight attendant also made an announcement to that effect to stay in your seats.

The crew came through and collected the trash about 8:36a. The lady next to m offered me her banana; oh no, I said and respectfully declined it as it would have been my fourth for today!

A second drink service came through at 9:02a; I declined as I was pretty full now. I was also very sleepy so I fell asleep.

I awoke as I had to prepare for landing, which we did without incident.

The DL 777-200LR: At Houston Intercontinental

08MAR08 Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

Our gate is actually E21 in Terminal E, so we had to first clear security and then make it over to Terminal E via the overhead train. The lady who was It took me 18 minutes to clear security and by then my colleagues had used the express lane and left me behind.

As I came through security, I touched the right side of the computer, and the broken piece of plastic came off in my hand :-(. I really have to take it in before it falls apart completely, I thought; if only I could get around to it. I’m almost there now though as I’ve backed up all the files finally. The guy in front of me had a new MacBook Air and we chatted about it for a bit. He stated that he likes it and he always gets comments whenever he takes it out. I pointed t mine and advised him that it does fit in a manila envelope and he laughed, adding that it is so small, but the screen is so big; this was his only thing about it. I did already decide that I’m getting a MacBook as it will suit my purposes.

I made my way up to the platform for the train and one was just arriving. I boarded and headed for Terminal E, but first a short stop in Terminal C. As the train departed Terminal B, I saw a Korean Airlines Boeing 747-400F taxiing out to the runway. I tried to take a picture, but I think my card malfunctioned; its been doing that for a while now, so I think I either need to reformat it or get a new card.

On the way to Terminal E from C, I noticed the tail of a Lufthansa airplane at the gate in the Terminal D. This is highly unusual, so I assumed that they are having some operation issues and the flight from yesterday never departed or they had a diversion. I’ll have to check on that later once I had connection to the Internet.

I got to E and exited the train, then made my way down to the concourse level. I checked the Flight Information Displays, but did not see any signs of a delayed Lufthansa flight on the board. I then re-verified that my gate was still E21 and continued on.

I popped into the Presidents Club, picked up a Financial Times and a copy of the new issue of Entrepreneur magazine as well as a banana and three muffins then departed. I wanted to have a bagel, but there was no time as it was about 6:45a. I made my way to the gate where I met up with my colleagues. After a few minutes of waiting, I got an aisle seat about mid way down the plane. My other colleague got his seat (a window) at the back of the plane and then we all boarded. The other guy already had his seat.

The DL 777-200LR: On my way to the airport

My ride arrived at 5:46a and we all embarked on the morning’s journey. Traffic was uber light as it was so early and it was a Saturday. We arrived at the airport parking facilities in no time, got a shuttle after running to catch it and disembarked at Terminal B at 6:16a.

The DL 777-200LR: Up early

It's early and I await my colleagues to pick me up for the ride to the airport. I just got a text at 5:30a that they are on their way.