Friday, May 30, 2008

Port of Spain May 2008: Arriving in Piarco International, Port of Spain, Trinidad (POS)

Piarco International, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago (POS)

We landed quietly at 7:22p and taxied up to the seemingly deserted terminal. We were the only airplane in the entire airport.

There was a burst of clapping as we touched down; typical for flights to the Caribbean. There was also raucous talking going on with a group of passengers and the flight attendant had to make an announcement to be quiet as they were scaring the children. It was quite funny.

I deplaned thanking the flight attendants as I left and headed for the Immigration area. After a long wait; the agents were just slow, I cleared and headed for the Customs area. I had spotted my friend waiting for me so I waived to him.

So, I was outside and greeted him and then waited for Lee to arrive at 8:10p or so.

Lee: Port of Spain May 2008 - Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Port of Spain, Piarco Trinidad (POS)

DL387 30May08 Atlanta Hartsfield International, Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Piarco International, Piarco Trinidad (POS) 2:55p 7:43p 738

Seat 2D, Business Class

Flight Time:
Seat Map

I have finally arrived back into Atlanta after a crazy routing. Since I am a revenue passenger, I have to look at ticket costs very close before deciding on a crazy trip. This trip ended up being
  1. Newark, NJ (EWR) to Atlanta, GA (ATL)
  2. Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Port of Spain, Trinidad (POS)
  3. Port of Spain, Trinidad (POS) to Atlanta, GA (ATL)
  4. Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Newark, NJ (EWR)
as this was a very cheap flight – 1/3 the price of a normal ticket actually. I then bought a one way ATL-EWR ticket to reposition for the flight so this morning I got up at 5:30am to see EWR for 40 minutes on the ATL-EWR-ATL turn.

When I landed in Atlanta I got word from Kerwin that he ended up getting on the non-stop Houston, TX (IAH) to POS flight and will actually be in about 30 minutes before me. I am glad that after what seemed like months of trying to pin him down to definite plans to meet me on another international journey that he decided to do it.

As a revenue passenger, I do not get nearly as many opportunities to fly internationally for a weekend and when I do, it is great to have a friend that can meet me in exotic destinations.

I get to the gate of the POS flight and check in with the agent to find out if they have cleared standby upgrades. I am immediately presented with a boarding pass for 3D in the business cabin. Delta does an upgraded business service to non Business Elite destinations that includes a multi course meal, printed menu and upgraded wines.

I board the flight at 30 minutes before departure. About half way through boarding my seatmate arrives in 3C. Through small talk I find out she lives in the same town as me and is actually less than 5 minutes from my house.

We are late pushing back from the gate due to a large number of mis-connects. Two bags have to be removed from the flight as the people did not make the plane. Also, the duty free delivery did not show up by the time they closed the door for the first time. They had to reopen the door and we had four more people board during this second wind.

One of the two flight attendants comes around with champagne and mimosas for pre-departure drinks. After pushback, the same flight attendant comes around to get meal orders. The flight attendant stops by my seat first and after addressing me by name, I order the fillet.

We take off on runway 9L and have an extremely long takeoff roll. 2,200 miles in a fully loaded Boeing 737-800 takes quite a bit of gas. After our slow climb to cruising altitude, the movie and dinner service starts. I was a little shocked to see our meal delivered in one course as typically with business destinations there is a 2 course presentation: 1st course is the salad and the 2nd course is the main meal. I had a white Sauvignon Blanc wine to start, and then a French Bordeaux and a domestic Shiraz red wine with the main meal.

After the meal and movie was over, I decided to go talk to the New York JFK-based flight crew working in business class. I found out they will not be our return crew as the plane leaves with them on Saturday morning to JFK.

The crew only has a 10 hour layover instead of the extra day I thought they had as I did not realize that Delta had started JFK to POS already. We trade travel stories for a little while and one of the flight attendant decides to give me a bottle of the French Bordeaux that I loved so much as a “thank you” present for flying with Delta so much. I oversee the flight manifest for the business cabin and see that I am only 1 of 2 revenue passengers up front and the only medallion.

Port of Spain May 2008: Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Piarco International, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago (POS)

CO418 30MAY08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Piarco International, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago (POS) 1:05p 7:33p N??273 738 with winglets

Flight Time: 4:58
Seat Map

I boarded this 2-2 leather seat cabin with its 20 First class cabin and 132 Economy class cloth seats. I took my First class seat at the window opening the windows as I did so.

I was offered a pre-departure drink as I became comfortable. Soon, the door closed and then the safety video started on the overhead monitors. Push back also commenced at the same time a few minutes earlier then the scheduled departure time.

Takeoff was almost immediate at this time of the day. I did see a Frontier (F9) Airbus A319 taxiing by just before we made it onto the runway and was airborne in no time.

The takeoff was cool as it was an unusually clear day and I could see downtown Houston clearly. We kind of hang there for a bit as we made our way towards Galveston, TX. The visibility was awesome. Soon, we made it to the Galveston coast and was over the Gulf of Mexico heading south for Port of Spain.

After takeoff an announcement was made welcoming us onboard and encouraging us to participate in the OnePass program. Also, beer wine and mixed drinks were 5 USD in Economy class, but headsets were complimentary for the movie “PS: I Love You.”

A flight attendant came by and took our dinner orders; we had a choice of Halibut, pasta or beef and veal medallion. I chose the Halibut.

A welcome aboard from the Captain was made at 1:40p cruising at 37,000’ seat belt signs were turned off. Repeated flying time as 4:58 arriving 1 minutes ahead of schedule at 7:22p; there is a one hour time change as Port of Spain is an hour ahead and then temperature is 91F with scattered clouds. Sit back and relax and we will update the conditions as we get closer.

Hot towel service followed. I heard a crash and apparently one of the flight attendants had dropped a can of soda which created quite a mess unfortunately.

It was interesting to see the oil rigs as we crossed the Gulf of Mexico. They just kept going on and on for ever.

Table cloths were laid soon after as the movie ‘PS: I love You” commenced on the overhead monitors.

Dinner arrived and was delectably delightful. First a tray with a salad and an appetizer of shrimp and crab meat and a choice of a warm roll. The Halibut came next with red rice, asparagus and red peppers. This stuff is really good and I ate it all!

Ice cream sundae was offered after dinner; good grief, I though I’m full. That did not stop me from indulging of course. I chose cherries and strawberries from the slew of toppings she offered. I continued to sip my wines; the 2006 Uma Shiraz from Mendoza Argentina and the Chardonnay.

When we got to the West coast of Florida at 3:50p local time, the Captain told us and said that we were passing directly over Fort Myers ; advising that there are thunderstorms coming up ahead and we may have to turn n the seat belt signs.

I was really tired so I went to sleep. I did not awake until we had already started our descent. I did notice a form on the table. It was my Immigration form. I filled it out just as we were landing. It was beautiful outside although it was pitch black.

Port of Spain May 2008: Leaving Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

I cleared the light security and headed for the Presidents Club where I got a quick snack of cheese and crackers, picked up some newspapers and then headed for E21.

Once there, I waited patiently until the agent was done changing seats for a couple who wanted to sit together. I then got an aisle seat in the first row and asked if there was a window available. Sure enough there was and it was assigned to me.

I thanked the agents and then boarded the waiting wingleted Boeing 737-800.

Port of Spain May 2008: Leaving Downtown Houston, TX

Downtown Houston, TX

I was fortunate. A colleague of mine had sent out a “come wish me happy birthday and have some donuts e-mail,” so my colleagues came over and wished me a good day. This was really nice…one of them indicated that she was going to Alaska on a 3:45p flight and if I wanted a ride, I could have one. Well, I never turn down a ride, so I said yes.

I then made a reservation for the nonstop 1:05p flight to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (POS) hoping that if I get to the airport ontime, I’ll just take it. Otherwise, it would be the under capacity by one and fluctuating 4:18p flight or the Air Canada’s 5:10p departure to Lester B. Pearson International in Toronto, Ontario Canada (YYZ) on the CRJ-700.

We departed the office promptly at noon and were picked up downstairs in about 7 minutes. As traffic was light, we arrived at Terminal E at about 12:25p; fantastic, now I can catch the 1:05p flight. Although I am a little disappointed about not heading to Toronto and then down on Caribbean Airlines (BW). I am such a glutton for punishment. It is a good thing that I will be able to take their Boeing 737-800 on my trip to Tobago tomorrow and then a Dash-3 on the way back; so that takes care of the entire fleet ;-).