Friday, June 13, 2008

Bucharest, Romania June 2008: Houston, Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH) to Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS)

CO46 13JUN08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS) 7:10p 11:50a +1 day 764 N??060

Flight Time: 9:03 maybe 9:10 to 9:15
Seat Map

We boarded after talking a bit with the boarding agent; the agent at the door greeted us and ushered me to the right aisle and my travel companion to the left. I arrived at our seat row first. I stowed my backpack in the overhead, which is really tight as I was using the inner overheads which are actually smaller than the ones on the windows. I noticed that rows 44KL and 45KL were reserved for flight attendant crew rest.

I made a quick trip to the restroom and then came back to my seat and settled in. The lead flight attendant made an announcement about the flying time and welcomed us on board. I did not hear the flying time though.

I could see the Emirates (EK) Boeing 777-200LR ahead of us on the parallel runway. I took some shots from my vantage point in the opposite aisle. There was a little boy at the window who was pretty psyched about seeing all the planes outside as well.

It was soon our turn and we took to the runway. After what seemed like forever, we took to the runway at 7:34p and were airborne in minutes. It was really very loud as we were sitting only three rows from the back of the plane.

I tried to use my individual monitor and it did not work. Each time I pressed the Mode button, it would go to Audio and not to Movie and INT. I told the flight attendant about and I think she had it rebooted but it still did not work. I could listen to all the audio I wanted though L. I decided to read the magazines I acquired from the Presidents Club starting with Ebony.

Pretzels were handed out and then beverages were offered. We were actually served from the back of the plane.

When we leveled off at 31,000’, the Capt. Came on the PA and said that he expects us to land at :40 past the hour and arrive at the gate at :50. The weather should be the same as forecasted; thanks for joining us, enjoy the flight

Chicken with rice or vegetarian were our choices; so I guess they were out of beef. I asked and the flight attendant said he gave the last one out a few rows up. The chicken came with rice, carrots and peas, plus a roll a brownie and a salad. It was all good and I ate heartily.

More offers for drinks came shortly after.

I had pretty much given up on the entertainment system, but asked another flight attendant to reboot the three seats. He did and the system started again. I pressed the Mode button and voila, the system died and was now stuck in Audio mode. I went to the middle one and use the arrow keys to navigate and that worked. Later when a flight attendant passed by, I told her about it again and advised to take a note of it, so it can be fixed later. She then re-booted my system once more and I commenced to use the arrow keys to navigate.

In terms of video entertainment:

  1. Continental Presents House
  2. The Spiderwick Chronicles/Behind the Scenes
  3. Continental Family Channel 1: The Last Mimzy/Batman of the Future, Loonatics Unleashed
  4. Fool’s Gold/Ojo Critico
  5. Penelope/My Gym partner’s a Monkey
  6. Continental Presents CSI
  7. Comedy Programming: The Big bang Theory; Chico and the Man; The Game ; Everybody Hates Chris; Welcome Back, Kotter; The King of Queens
  8. The Entertainment Channel
  9. Airshow

In terms of Music selections:

  1. Opera
  2. Now & Then
  3. Ambient Groove
  4. Latin Fiesta
  5. Continental Lounge
  6. The Classics
  7. The Hit Factory
  8. Jazz Beat
  9. Continental Talk
  10. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  11. Country Roads
  12. Live Broadway
  13. Club Continental
  14. B&B Groove
  15. World Music
  16. B Tween
  17. Hindi Music
  18. Japanese Favorites
  19. Chinese Pop
  20. Shalom

For games, we had:

  1. Chess
  2. Poker
  3. Solitaire
  4. Invasion
  5. Elephant Memory
  6. Bzzz
  7. Blackjack
  8. Crave Crunch
  9. Caveman
  10. Hangman

I pretty much fell asleep soon after and when I awoke later, most people were still asleep, I had no idea where we were so I went back to sleep. With about 1:56 to go and heading for central Ireland, I awoke to breakfast; a croissant with strawberry jam as well as a bowl of fruits (cantaloupe and grapes).

During breakfast a video was shown of arriving in Schipol and also what to see in Amsterdam. It was first in English and then in Dutch.

There was an announcement made twice for a passenger and my thought was that he was perhaps asleep; oh well. We soon started our descent in Amsterdam. The Captain came on the PA and announce partly cloudy skies winds at 5mph from the west and the temperature was 14C which is about 57F and we will be landing in 30 minutes and thank you for joining us. The seatbelt signs then came on.

I decided to move to one of the now empty rows that was being used for crew rest as they were now open and available. It was now 11:17a local time.

I noticed that we were in a holding pattern; a pretty wide one as well since our right hand turn took forever. Eventually, we were cleared to land and we made our way into Schipol passing the coast of the North Sea and descending past the beautiful golf courses and wind machines below.

Bucharest, Romania June 2008: Arriving in Houston, Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH)

Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

Sadly, as I figured he went to Terminal C first, so I just bailed as I don’t really have time to waste today. It was now 5:37p and ever minute is counting today.

I quickly headed for Terminal E where I met my colleague and picked up the tickets for the journey. I checked and we had been assigned Economy class seats which is what I figured would be the case.

I did notice that our gate had changed from E20 to C14, so I headed to the Presidents Club close to that gate and waited over crackers and some wine.

At 6:32p, we left and headed for gate C14.

Bucharest, Romania June 2008: Leaving downtown Houston

Leaving downtown Houston

I departed the office just about 5:00p. Traffic was light, so getting to the airport was not an issue and I arrived at the Fast Park parking lot at 5:21p. Seven minutes later, I was in the shuttle headed for Terminal E.

It was funny as this lady on the bus had no idea which terminal she should go to. This always fascinates me how people don’t really pay attention to any details when they travel. She was going to Atlanta, GA (ATL), so the driver told her that she has to go to Terminal C since that is Continental’s main terminal.

I am pretty sure that he wont go to Terminal E first as if he does, he then have to leave the airport and come back in just to get back to the other terminals. This is such a dumb design and when they built Terminal E, they closed the “U” Turn they had set up. Rightly so as that turn was crap and traffic was backed for a bit usually. I am still miffed as to why they never constructed a better method of getting from Terminal E to C without leaving the airport.

Bucharest, Romania June 2008: During the day

During the day

I was talking to a friend about alternate destinations in case the flight to Bucharest is full. I had already chosen Stuttgart as a possibility, but he suggested Bergen, Norway (BGO) as he had been there before and had a good time. The flight times worked as well since it leaves at 3:00p and I could get back to London-Gatwick by 7:45a, in time for the 9:30a flight to Houston. I just need to get the tickets now.

off to Bucharest, Romania (OTP)

I'm a little behind with updates, but will try to catch up this weekend.

For this weekend, it will be Bucharest, Romania (OTP). Looking at going via Amsterdam and then returning via Paris so I can fly Air France's A318. If that does not work, then it is to London-Heathrow or possibly to JFK on Delta Air Lines (DL).