Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beijing 2008 - The Summer Olympiad: Arriving in Houston-Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH)

12AUG08 Arriving in Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

I awoke when we touched down at 7:40a by the runway in front of Terminal D. As it was this early, there were no planes at the gate.

We taxied into the gate in about five minutes or so and it was time to gather my stuff and disembarked.

This was quite a trip. At this moment, it was 8:45p on Tuesday in Beijing, People's Republic of China. I had been traveling since Monday morning at 5:05a Beijing local time, that is 6:05p on Sunday night in Houston. You figure out how long that is :-).

Beijing 2008 - The Summer Olympiad: Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall, Baltimore, MD (BWI) to Houston-Intercontinental., Houston TX (IAH)

CO1727 12AUG08 Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall, Baltimore, MD (BWI) to Houston-Intercontinental., Houston TX (IAH) 5:40a 7:50a 735 N??609

Flight Time: 2:56
Seat Map

I boarded and took my seat after finding a pillow and asking the flight attendant to find a blanket for me. The passengers got settled in rather quickly and one customer got a last minute upgrade and then the doors closed at 5:36a. This aircraft has 8 First class leather seats in a 2-2 configuration. Economy class has 106 cloth seats in a 3-3 configuration.

Four minutes later, we pushed back and the safety demo commenced manually as this aircraft has no entertainment system.

Our taxi out started at 5:45a and by 5:48a, the Captain told the flight attendants to be seated. It was 5:50a when we took to runway 28 and into the dawn.

I looked outside a bit and saw that there was already traffic on one of the major highways below in both directions; good grief. I actually fell asleep for a few minutes and awoke when the Captain on the PA and advised we were at 34,000'. He expected a smooth ride and said that we would land on schedule. The city was expecting thunderstorms later, but the current weather was 83F and partly cloudy. I still wonder about the merits of giving the weather report for your destination when you leave your origin, but maybe it is only me.

Almost about the same time, we were served breakfast of 2% milk with corn flakes plus a banana. Beverages came a few minutes later. This was all cleaned up in a few minutes and then another beverage service followed.

I was really tired so I went to sleep. The seat I was in does not have a recline, but I slept well anyways. At one point I looked out and the sun was shining brightly and the ground was close; we were landing.

Beijing 2008 - The Summer Olympiad: Arriving in Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Baltimore, MD (BWI)

12AUG08 Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Baltimore, MD (BWI)

We touched down at 12:32a and taxied into the gate in Terminal D. On the way there, I could see a number of Southwest Airlines airplanes. It's been a while since I'd flown in this airport and a alot has changed.

Five minutes later, we blocked into the gate. The agent advised us to wait until all the bags had come to the door and then she would let us off the plane.

I noted the registration as I walked on the tarmac and mounted a set of stairs that led to the jetway. It was actually quite cool outside; much like it was in New York.

I saw a lady sleeping on a bench across from gate D7 and hoped that would not be me in a few hours. As it was already almost 1:00a and my flight departed at 5:40a, I decided to just hangout in the airport.

I looked for a power outlet and found one close to gate D10 and set up there. Soon, everyone was gone except the lady across the gate and I. A few cleaning people showed up, then left. At about 1:30a, I saw a passenger, then more passengers, apparently another flight had just arrived, I think it was a United flight.

As there is no complimentary WiFi in BWI, I signed up for Boingo's 24 hour service for $7.95. T-Mobile had it for $9.95, but I opted not to do that.

I got some work done, checked in for the flight and chatted with my buddy who had now made it home from Los Angeles, (CA) to Atlanta, GA (ATL). While I slummed it in Economy class across the Pacific, he drank Dom Pernignon in Singapore Airlines' (SQ) First Class service, but I digress. I had to fill him on my adventure so far.

I called Southwest Airlines (WN) and checked on their flights to Houston. They had one at 6:00a that stopped in New Orleans, LA (MSY) arriving in Houston-Hobby (HOU) at about 11 something. I am assuming it stopped somewhere else before it got to New Orleans.

There was a nonstop at 7:20a arriving at 9:35a. This was my backup flight. If I did not make the 5:40a, I would not wait for the next flight at 7:15a, I'd just go for the Southwest flight since the agent said it was open.

It was kind of fun watching the airport get ready for passengers. There was some activity on the ramp as well and i got to see a few workers arrive.

At 4:13a, I saw three passengers show up for the 5:40a flight. Wow, what time did they get here I wondered? I contined to work as more passengers arrived.

At about 5:15a or so, the agent called my name and I got a seat. She even apologized for it being a bad seat and I told her, I was just happy that it was a seat.