Monday, September 08, 2008

Orange County September 2008: Arriving in John Wayne International, Orange County CA (SNA) from Houtston-Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH)

08SEP08 John Wayne International, Orange County CA (SNA)

We touched down with a thud and taxied into the gate. It's been a while since I'd flown in this airport and not too much had changed.

It was fantastic to see all the private airplanes including a few G3s. Not sure I'd see that many private airplanes in a long while.

The flight attendant made an announcement to close the windows and open the vents so the airplane would keep cool and almost immediately almost everyone closed their blinds making the airplane dark and hiding my view of the outside world.

It was 5:25p when we made it to the gate, 0:44 late. I disembarked and made my way to the arrivals where our ride was waiting.

Orange County September 2008: Houtston-Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH) to John Wayne International, Orange County CA (SNA)

CO1821 8SEP08 Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to John Wayne International, Orange County CA (SNA) 3:05p 4:41p 73G N??775

Flight Time: 3:01
Seat Map

It was slow going as we all got onboard. All the 12 First class leather seats were already occupied on this single aisle Boeing 737-700 with winglets.

I continued to my aisle seat in the 3-3 configured Economy class. I did not have any issues finding a place for my bag, but it was filling up fast. I opened the window shades as the cabin was quite dark and dreary and also a bit warm. Soon, the other two passengers in the window and aisle arrived so I made way for them to get settled in.

An announcement was made that we should close the shades and open our air vents so the cabin could cool down. Almost everyone complied, so the cabin got even darker.

At about 3:42p, the Captain came on the pa and announced our flying time of 3:01 and advised that it would be bumpy on the takeoff.

At 3:48p, an announcement was made that those without seats should take any open seat to avoid any further delay of the flight. Those standing quickly took their seats. At 3:50p, the door closed and four minutes later the safety video started as we pushed back and then headed out to the runway.

I had no idea which one we took as all the windows were still closed. It was not until 4:12p, that we were finally airborne. I actually took a cat nap just as we started down the runway.

When I awoke, the movie had already started and there was a drink cart next to me. We were served two packs of peanuts followed by beverages of choice. Beer, wine, alcoholic drinks or margaritas were 5 USD or a continental currency worth the same.

I did not recognize the movie, so I looked up the move and it was “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” with Amy Adams and Frances McDormand. There were also 12 music channels, but I had no headset to listen to any of them and did not feel like paying $1 for one. The music channels were:
  1. Movie Sound Track
  2. Now & Then
  3. Ambient Groove
  4. Latin Fiesta
  5. Continental Lounge
  6. The Classics
  7. The Hit Factory
  8. Jazz Beat
  9. Movie Sound Track

  10. Country Roads
  11. Live Broadway

The handset actually went to channel 22.

A second drink service passed me heading forward at about 5:59p local time in Houston. By now the movie was over and a Behind the Scenes program was on about the making of “Horton hears a who!. By this time at 6:17p, the drink cart arrived.

At 6:31p local (4:31p West coast time), the Captain said that there was some weather ahead and we would get to it in about 10 minutes, as it will be bumpy, he advised us to use the restroom if we needed to at this point. We would land at 5:18p he said.

By now there were music videos being shown on the overhead monitors. Soon the promised turbulence started and by now there was some CNN Sports on the monitor. We still had about 34 minutes to go before we made it to John Wayne.

At 4:49p we started our descent and the captain came on the PA and said that in about 27 minutes at 5:17p, we would be on the ground at SNA. The winds were 17knots with clouds at 1,600’ and a temperature of 76F. it was his pleasure to have us on board hope we have a great day come back and fly with us again. The flight attendant then said that this concludes our beverage service.

Some CNN video played on about a place called La Haine and then one continued called Global Trends about Berlin. This was followed by the sitcom, “My Wife and Kids” with Damian Wayans and Tisha Campbell-Martin.

We then cleared 10,000' and prepared for our descent.

Orange County September 2008: Arriving at Houtston-Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH) from downtown Houston, TX

Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

It was 2:01p when the parking lot bus pulled into Terminal C. I noticed the new 500 bus service waiting to my left. This is the new Metro bus service that costs $15 each way. I went over to the driver and asked him where would I pay for the service. He motioned me to go inside and look by the Super Shuttle sign.

Sure enough, inside there was a Metro Direct sign right under the Super Shuttle sign. The place was devoid of people, so I said hello into the open door. A lady came out with food over her hands, apparently it was lunch time as I noticed some others within the room eating as well.

I asked how do I get a Metro card and how much was the bus and she said that it was $15 and I would get a Metro card. I said, well I really just wanted a Metro card for the cheaper $1.00 bus and she said hold on. She then went in the back and came back with another lady who was whispering that they are not supposed to sell a Metro card if the traveler Is not taking the #500. The first lady then said to me that she can issue a Metro card, but the minimum she would put on it is $15. I said thank you and left.

This is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard as there is no other place in the airport where you can buy a Metro card so you can use the #102. It is ridiculous that they are doing this just so they can promote the #500. I think I’ll have a talk with the Metro CEO about my experience. Only two weeks ago, I had to give two visitors $1 each as they had no change to get on the bus and no place at the airport to bus a Q card. The Q card allows you get a free transfer otherwise you have to pay $1 each time you board the bus or rail.

Annoyed, I went upstairs, cleared security and made my way to my gate. I stopped in the presidents club briefly, picked up a copy of the Financial Times, some crackers, checked e-mail, then headed for the gate at about 2:45p; boarding should have started at 2:30p.

When I got there, I noticed that there was no airplane and heard the tail end of the announcement mentioning that the airplane was in another location and a tug had gone to retrieve it. The departure time still showed at 3:05p, which was laughable at best.

I started to head back towards the Club, where if I sat close enough to it, I could use the WiFi, then I saw my boss with whom I’m traveling sitting at the gate so I joined him.

The airplane showed up at about 3:00p and at that point, we were showing a departure time of 3:10p. boarding of First Class customers started at about 3:15p and at that point we were posting a 3:40p departure.

My row was called at about 3:25p so I boarded.

Orange County September 2008: Leaving downtown Houston

Downtown Houston

It was 1:25p when I left my house and headed for the highway. Traffic was light so getting onto I-45 from downtown then to I-10 and finally to US59 was not an issue. It was 1:51p when I pulled into the airport parking lot

Orange County September 2008: A work trip

I'm off to Orange County for work...