Friday, September 26, 2008

San Francisco, CA September 2008: Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to San Francisco, CA (SFO)

CO307 26SEP08 Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to San Francisco International, San Francisco CA (SFO) 5:50p 8:09p 739ER N??421

Flight Time: 3:43
Seat Map

It was slow boarding as passengers tried to find space for their bags. With such a large aircraft I found it strange that it was taking so long to accomplish this task. But apparently people take a lot of crap on board.

I found my row, just after finding a place for my bag in the overhead compartment. I was at the window and had to ask the guy and the young girl next to me to let me in. Apparently, my standing there and pointing to my seat was not enough. The guy commented that I was late; I told him it happens and tomorrow will be his time, taking my seat in the process.

It was not until I sat down that I realized that this was a Boeing 737-900ER. It has five rows of 2-2 leather seating in First class with a lavatory separating the Economy cabin with its 3-3 cloth seat configuration.

I settled in after a few seat changes and ended up with a window with the middle seat empty; yes, more room for this almost 3 hours flight.

It was 5:49p, when we pushed back at which time the flights did the manual demo as this aircraft is not yet equipped with any entertainment system. we then started our taxi out to the runway.

At 6:01p, we had made it to the runway and the left engine was started. Once that was accomplished, we made our way to runway 33L/15R, took our position behind an Embrear ERJ-145 from Continental Express and took to the air at 6:05p after the Captain telling the flight attendants to take their seats two minutes earlier.

After takeoff, the lead flight attendant welcomed us onboard and advises that there would be a beverage and meal service. There was no mention of the lack of entertainment on this aircraft.

I eagerly tried the power outlet, but was disappointed as it had no power at all. My battery life said 3:34 so at least I had some juice in it. Before closing, she re-iterated that the flying time was 3:43 and that we should sit back and relax and enjoy the flight to San Francisco.

The flight attendants passed and headed to the front of the plae with the beverage cart at about 6:35p.

At 6:31p, the captain welcomed us at 34,000' advising us that although he had turned off the seatbelt signs, we should keep our seatbelts fastened when seated. He re-iterated the 3:43 flying time and advised that we would be 20 minutes early arriving at 7:50p. He also advised us to re-set our watch as it was 4:33p in San Francisco at this time. The weather in San Fran was the winds were 20 mph and the temperature is 68F with scattered clouds. He added that he would update us later of our arrival as we neared the airport; concluding with "once again, welcome on board."

The meals came through and I spotted pizza, which is not really my favorite on planes, but we will see.

At 6:47p, the Stefano steak & cheese hot pizza arrived with a salad plus pepper cream dressing and a KitKat milk wafer bar.

By now the drink cart had caught up and I ordered some ginger ale as well as some water. The couple sitting aisle across in my row, held each other's hands and prayed before the meal.

The pizza was surprisingly good and I ended up having it all. I just did not have the KitKat bar. Thrash pickup followed shortly after at 7:08p.

I had to use the lavatory and noticed that they had really nice LEDs. Once I closed the door, they are supposed to brighten but they did not. When I was done, I asked one of the flight attendants what happened and she advised me that the lights were not working as they should.

As there was no entertainment, I started to watch a film had downloaded from the BBC this past weekend. A second drink service came when I was about 1/2 way through the program called "The Real Hustle."

It was 7:58p, when the seatbelt signs came on as the Captain said that we are approaching some choppy air. I felt asleep soon after.

At 9:25p (Houston time), the Captain came on the PA and said that we were 15 minutes from touchdown; he also noted that it was 57F; wow, that's cold! The flight attendants came through the cabin and collect the trash soon after the announcement.

The final descent started at 9:35p; we then had to prepare the cabin for landing. Welcome to San Fran says the flight attendant making the address.

San Francisco, CA September 2008: Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

Houston-Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

We arrived at Terminal C at 5:25p. I hurried inside, cleared security as there was literally no one around, checked the board to ensure that my gate had not changed, then headed towards gate C34. My other colleagues took another entrance and headed for Terminal B.

I made a quick stop in the Presidents Club, had a beverage, saying hello to the bartender who used to work in Terminal E's Club then had some crackers and cheese and then looked for a newspaper. There were none, so I headed out to the gate.

I got to the gate at 5:35p, collected my boarding pass for a window seat and boarded right away as there was no one else around.

San Francisco, CA September 2008: Downtown Houston, TX

There was not much traffic leaving the city, but as we got onto the HOV lane on US59, the traffic started to build on the regular road. I was glad that we had taken the HOV lane today.

We got to the parking facility and I advised the lady that I was running late, but still we had to wait about 10 minutes for a shuttle. Once it came, it took us directly to Terminal C. As I did not know from which gate I was departing, we called Continental. It was funny as since the bus was noisy, the automated system had a bit of trouble. Eventually, one of my colleagues got through just as I did and advised it was C34.

San Francisco, CA September 2008

This weekend I'm heading out to San Francisco to hang with some friends for an extended weekend. I've been meaning

to do this and finally I am. This is a simple trip, straight out there and back, nothing extra. Let's hope it all hold out.