Monday, May 12, 2008

Montego Bay May 2008: Arriving in Houston, TX (IAH) from Killeen, TX (GRK)

12MAY08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

We landed so smoothly that I did not even realize it. In a few minutes the flight attendant announced that it was 6:06a and welcome to Houston, etc. The lady next to me turned and said that she could not understand the flight attendant as she could not tell if she was talking Spanish or English. Indeed, she was heavily accented, but I understood her. I told the lady that she just has to listen carefully. I think she was still mad about not getting a blanket during the flight.

We had a short taxi into the gate passing two Northwest Airlines (NW) Airbus A319s, one in the old colors and the other in the new colors.

At the hard stand, we all disembarked into a waiting bus that was headed for all terminals the driver announced. It seemed like it was taking forever, but I eventually arrived at Terminal C at 6:21a.

After a quick stop in the Presidents Club for a banana, some muffins and the morning newspapers (The Financial Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal), I headed for the bus stop to catch the 6:35a to downtown Houston.

Montego Bay May 2008: Killeen, TX (GRK) to Houston, TX (IAH)

CO9579 12MAY08 Killeen Ft. Hood Regional, Killeen Texas (GRK) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) 5:15a 5:22a SF3 N198CJ operated by Colgan Air dba Continental Connection Flying Time: 0:37
Seat Map

It was a long walk down the jetway to the waiting Saab 340. It was nice to be able to walk right onto the plane as I was a bit chilly out. I greeted the lone flight attendant as I did so.

This aircraft has 34 leather seats in a 1-2 configuration with a lavatory just behind the cockpit on the right. It has really tin overhead bins, so usually you have to gate check your bags as I was requested to do and I complied.

I got settled and in a bit the flight came by and was telling a passenger in the Exit row that he would have to stow his backpack somewhere other than at his feet. The guy was really tall and was kind of folded up at the seat. She moved his bag to an open seat behind him.

The Captain came on the PA and welcomed us onboard, stated the 0:37 flying time and added that as a fuel conservation measure, the engine run ups would be done with us on board. He says that in the past they would have done that prior to us arriving. He then explained what would happen and that it was all normal so no need to worry if the airplane sounds and feels funny.

I looked off to my right and saw the American Eagle Bombardier CRJ-700 (N523AE) at the gate with the gate pulled away. The Continental Express Embraer ERJ-135 on which I flew in last night was on the other side at another gate.

It was 5:02a, when the flight attendant closed the door. A minute later, the right engine started as did the manual safety demo. The pilot was going through the checks he had mentioned earlier. At 5:06a, the left engine started as he had to wait for the jetway to be pulled back clear of the aircraft left wing.

At 5:13a, after watching the propeller do its routine and the lights going on and off once or twice, we pulled forward and headed out to the runway. The Captain came on the PA as we neared the end of the runway and said we were #1 for departure, “duh,” I tough smiling to myself. In three minutes time, we were airborne and headed for Houston, TX in the cold and dark morning skies.

The lady next to me had a short conversation with the flight attendant as she came by with juices.

I actually though that she want to have something hot as I saw the flight attendant shake her head in the negative. I took the last cup of Apple juice as the flight attendant left.

The lady turned to me and said, “how come they don’t have any blankets?” I told her I did not know, but agreed to myself that there should be blankets and pillows especially on this flight. The aircraft was not cold, but your body temperature does fall when you sleep and of course everyone is different. She then shifted around so she could be more comfortable.

I finished my juice and went off to sleep leaving the empty cup on my computer. When I awoke later, I saw that the cup was no longer there as the flight attendant had picked it up while I slept.

A few minutes later, the Captain came on the PA and announced that we had 15 minutes left of flying and we had started our descent. He also added that the local temperature was 60F and clear. I guess a cold front had moved in over the weekend. I slumped off to sleep once more. I agree, I could do with a blanket and a pillow.

Montego Bay May 2008: Departing Killeen, TX (GRK) for Houston, TX (IAH)

12MAY08 Killeen Ft. Hood Regional, Killeen Texas (GRK)

I parked the car in the same slot that I picked it up only a few hours before. The airport was very quiet and looked deserted except for a two trucks that were parked in front.

I made my way to the check-in counter and checked myself in using the lone no bags kiosk. I got my standby boarding pass and then just milled around for a bit, dropping off the car rental key in the process.

I then took a few pictures noting that there were customers waiting for Delta and American to open for check-in. The American flight was at 7:00a and there were people queuing up at 4:00a which I think is bizarre as this airport is so small and it is only a 70-seater. It was good to see Delta here as the last time I was here they had no flights. It looks like they have two a day now.

I also saw a display that noted that the Continental Express flight was operated by Colgan which is not exactly correct.

I also looked around the airport some more noting the FIDS as well as the decor.

I was keeping an eye upstairs as I know that this airport usually don’t open the TSA counter until about 4:30a or so. Soon they did and I went upstairs. I did stop and take a picture of the American Eagle Bombardier CRJ-700 at the gate.

As I went through security, the agent looked through my stuff twice. My mom had given me a carrot pudding foil and it had triggered the X-ray machine. Eventually, the lady found it and let me go. Not before chastising me for not putting all my liquids into the plastic bag.

The agent arrived at the gate at 4:48p and signed into her computer.

A boarding announcement was made at 4:50a. Everyone got up and headed for the open door; it looked like a full load this morning.

After everyone had boarded except one later arriving passenger, the agent gave me a seat assignment by writing the seat number on my existing standby boarding pass. I boarded immediately.

Montego Bay May 2008: Leaving Killeen, TX (GRK)

12MAY08 Killeen Texas

It was 3:00a, when my phone alarmed. It seems like I had just gone to bed because I had les than three hours ago. I snoozed for a few minutes, took a shower, woke my mom, chatted for a bit and then headed out.

It was actually quite chilly (I later found out it was 57F), brrrr…I navigated my way out of the suburbs and onto the highway arriving at the airport at 4:08p.