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Old 07-08-2003, 12:08 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: AUS
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2 out of 2, my first Elite trip. (AUS-RDU 7/7/03)

2 out of 2, or, my first Elite flight

A report of my trip to Raleigh-Durham on Monday July 7th.

The evening before the trip I tried Continental's new online check-in system. It's feel odds to get your boarding pass printed out, but then again, the first time that I did an E-Ticket, it felt similarly odd. The system nicely mentioned that it had put me on stand-by for FC upgrades. I got sequence numbers 1 and 2 for my 2 legs. I guess I was the first to check in!

Dbaker showed me how to use Amex's itn.net in advanced mode to get info on how many available seats there were in each fareclass. According to that info, he put my upgrade chances on respectively 30% and 2%. We'll see!

The travel day arrived. I packed all my stuff in my carry-on, so that I didn't have to check any luggage. Security checkpoint went smooth. Maybe it was my taking off my shoes without anyone asking, but this must've been the first time in years that I didn't get flagged for a close-up frisk (which is ALWAYS done by ugly men, and never by hot chicks, by the way).

Arriving at the gate for my 5:04pm flight to IAH, I found that the arriving plane had 30 minutes delay (which was later extended to an hour!). After at first relaxing and getting a nice Shiner at the bar, I got nervous on making my connection in IAH. I only had an hour lay-over and with the hour delay, I would arrive at the moment that my connection would leave the gate. Since have of the plane was standing in line at the gate counter, I took my chances and boarded.

For the first time in my life, I heard those wonderful words "Mr. Janssen, you can move to the First Class cabin". Yay! Continental loyalty finally paying off. What's more, I went from row 7 to row 2, which brought me closer to the door so I could make a run for the next flight. To make things worse, I didn't even know my gate number, since the online boarding pass was printed so early that they didn't know yet.

The plane landed at 7pm sharp, with my connection leaving at 7:05pm. The first gate agent told me the plane had already left and was about to tell me what next-morning flight she had booked me on, when the second gate agent said: "Raleigh? Yeah, run fast to gate C20" (which was only 2 gates away). I made a run for it, and was welcomed by the gate agent with a boarding pass displayed those wonderful 2 characters "1B".

Two out of two on my first Elite flight this year! Not bad.

At first there was a little confusion, when I sat down a flight attendant came up to me and said: "Oh you're in 1B too? I thought you had missed this flight.", holding in her hand another boarding pass stub sporting "1B". She walked off, but never came back. I wonder who else got disappointed :)

So instead of missing flight and having to stay the night in Houston, I actually was able to use my laptop, -lots of legroom in 1B-, and type this tripreport and go through all the Powerpoint presentations. And have a decent meal, too. Now, when I arrive at the hotel, I can just go to sleep right away.

I signed up for Hertz #1 Gold club last week, through some promo from Continental Airlines. Unfortunately, all kinds of things went wrong and I didn't get to see my name on the LED displays outside and I had to go in and stand in line. But I go a car (a Corrolla, but a very nice one), and drove to the Holiday Inn nearby. Right now I'm posting this through an 802.11 connection (unencrypted, but I have company VPN) at the Holiday Inn.
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