Friday, August 22, 2008

Toulouse, France August 2008: Arriving in Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Roissy France (CDG)

CO10 22AUG08 Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris France (CDG) 6:40p 11:05a+1 Day 777 N??016

Flight Time: 8:46
Seat Map

We walked down the jetway and the flight attendant greeted us and directed me to cross the galley and make my way to my Economy Class aisle seat. This aircraft is configured with 50 BusinessFirst seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 235 seats in Economy class in a 3-3-3 configuration.

I made my way to my seat which was the bulkhead so I had to find a place for my bag. This took a little while, but I found a bin that was empty although closed. As I sat and waited, I noticed two mechanics at separate times walking through the cabin checking on the slide at the left door and wondered why that was being done at this point. Passengers also continued to board the aircraft. I got settled in and waited as the 6:40p departure time came and went. At 6:42p, the Captain came on the PA, welcomed us on board and delivered some not so good news. He announced that the mechanics had to service the aircraft and was ensuring that there was enough oil for the engines.

Bummer, the last thing we need today is a delay of any kind and guess what we have. He continued saying that it should not take too long adding that the local temperature in Paris when we arrive will be 16C/51F with partly cloudy skies.

It was 7:02p when he came on once again and announced that it was necessary to start the right engine to ensure that there was enough oil in, good grief I thought as I watched our arrival time grow later on the overhead screens. If we don’t get out of here in the next ten minutes, we can kiss our 12:35p connecting flight goodbye. Two minutes later, the engine started and in three minutes it was switched off. The Captain then came on the PA and said all was well, we just had to do some paperwork and then we can go.

The doors closed at 7:21p and we pushed back three minutes later. But 7:47p, we were airborne and were showing an arrival time of 11:43a. We’re pretty much screwed now. We have to take the flight to Toulouse instead if we can’t pull this off.

After takeoff, the lead flight attendant came on the PA and announced that we would have a dinner service followed by a mid flight service and then a breakfast just before landing.
I did notice that this was an aircraft with the Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD) so I started to play around with it. It also had power at my seat which was a plus.

On tap for today were:
  • Movies – new releases (35), action/thriller (80), classics (36), comedy (53), drama (75), family (49), world cinema (45)
  • Short programs – comedy (22), drama (16), entertainment (21), family (30), global TV (25), HBO on Demand (22), lifestyle (18)
  • Music – classical (12), country (20), jazz (18), pop (81), r&b/urban (32), rock (25), world (24)
  • Games – arcade (6), board/puzzle (13), educational (1), gaming (2), kids (4)
  • Flight map
Drinks and pretzels came at about 8:20p. in about twenty minutes they returned to clean up the thrash.

Chicken with pasta, beef or vegetarian were the choices.

After eating, I fell asleep with 7:14 to go and awoke with 2:20 to go. I could not sleep anymore so I started to update the blog and some stuff I'm writing.

Breakfast arrived at 1:20 and drinks at 1:09 then the arrival video was shown, no documentation is required for entering France we were told.

After the thrash was cleared there was a second round of drinks offered. I watched the end of Narnia:Prince Caspian and then started an episode of "Everybody Hates Chris." The system was turned off before I could finish though.

The Captain came on the PA and said that the temp was 61F/16C in Paris as we passed London and made our way across the English Channel with 0:32 to go. He thanked us and said he looked forward to seeing us in the near future and that we should be on the ground at 11:46a and should be at the gate just before noon. The local time is 11:16a in Paris. So much for Kiev, we will never make that 12:35p connecting flight now.

We then prepared for landing and commenced the descent.

Toulouse, France August 2008: Arriving in Houston-Intercontinental for Paris-Charles de Gaulle

Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

I was dropped off at Terminal E and then made my way to the ticket office to get the tickets. By the time the others joined me, it was all done and we were ready to go.

We went to the Presidents Club where I tried to get to the Internet, but apparently the wireless signal was down. This is very annoying, but what can one do. After a while, one of my travel companions got a signal, but still it did not work for me. Eventually, it was time to go, so we did. Just before we left the Club, I looked out the window and saw our plane at the gate.

At the gate, the others got their BusinessFirst class upgrade while I waited for an Economy class seat. Apparently, the flight was heavily booked so I waited for a bit. After a while, I got a seat, but was told to wait a bit just in case that changed.

Across the way, the flight to Amsterdam was departing at 7:10p, this was my backup flight. At about 6:15p, the agent told me to board as it should be fine, so I did. The others were waiting for me to board in case we all had to ditch Paris as the connecting city.

Toulouse, France August 2008: Departing downtown Houston, TX

We had no issues getting to the airport at all. It was really smooth sailing on the HOV lane and we at the airport in no time. As we were pressed for time, we had planned on my going to get the tickets while the others found a place to park.

Toulouse or Kiev

So not sure what it will be this weekend, but leaning towards Kiev, Ukraine (KBP). Will know more later. I have not been to both, but Kiev would be the more exciting destination I believe.

Global Entry

Well, I signed up yesterday, quite a tedious process too. Ensure that you have your passport, driver's license, residency history, employment history and countries visited in the last five years handy.

Now I wait to hear if I am approved and then I have to visit a center at one of the airports for an in person interview documents in hand.