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Old 12-15-2001, 07:26 PM   #1
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Update one, posting from the South President's Club here at rainy IAH.

As predicted, neither the Continental nor the America West check-in agents at AUS were able to check me in or put me on the list for an upgrade on my final HP segment.

Check in was smooth, although there was some difficulty with the Continental system which prevented the agent from printing the tracking tag for my checked bag. I graciously offered to just carry the bag on the plane with me (in addition to my laptop case) so she wouldn't have to hand-write a tag. She seemed grateful to avoid that particular step.

I'd arrived at AUS with a merely comfortable amount of time before my first flight, so I only had about 15 minutes to spend at the AUS P-Club. I enjoyed a glass of cabernet and tried unsuccessfully to "get into" the Tom Clancy novel (The Bear and the Dragon) which I've brought for this trip.

The flight to Houston boarded about five minutes late, but left on time. I was only one of six pax in the 16 available first class seats on the 737. I'm hoping my other two segments tonight are equally empty. I napped for the duration of the flight, which was quick and arrived early as expected, despite the rainy weather.

Houston is bustling for a Saturday evening pre-holidays. There's no Chase Continental MasterCard booth, so it looks like I'll be unable to snag one of those fly CO baseball caps like dbaker's got. Maybe tomorrow.

For now, I think I'll go grab another glass of wine and take a second shot at this Clancy novel before my flight to PHX.

Cheers
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Old 12-15-2001, 07:26 PM   #2
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Update one, posting from the South President's Club here at rainy IAH.

As predicted, neither the Continental nor the America West check-in agents at AUS were able to check me in or put me on the list for an upgrade on my final HP segment.

Check in was smooth, although there was some difficulty with the Continental system which prevented the agent from printing the tracking tag for my checked bag. I graciously offered to just carry the bag on the plane with me (in addition to my laptop case) so she wouldn't have to hand-write a tag. She seemed grateful to avoid that particular step.

I'd arrived at AUS with a merely comfortable amount of time before my first flight, so I only had about 15 minutes to spend at the AUS P-Club. I enjoyed a glass of cabernet and tried unsuccessfully to "get into" the Tom Clancy novel (The Bear and the Dragon) which I've brought for this trip.

The flight to Houston boarded about five minutes late, but left on time. I was only one of six pax in the 16 available first class seats on the 737. I'm hoping my other two segments tonight are equally empty. I napped for the duration of the flight, which was quick and arrived early as expected, despite the rainy weather.

Houston is bustling for a Saturday evening pre-holidays. There's no Chase Continental MasterCard booth, so it looks like I'll be unable to snag one of those fly CO baseball caps like dbaker's got. Maybe tomorrow.

For now, I think I'll go grab another glass of wine and take a second shot at this Clancy novel before my flight to PHX.

Cheers
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Old 12-16-2001, 02:32 AM   #3
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The flight from IAH to PHX also boarded late. In my typical anxious way, I left the south president's club with an ample 25 minutes to spare before the 8:09 scheduled departure time of the PHX segment. I scurried down to gate C-31 only to find that boarding hadn't even begun for the flight. No worries, though, I found a comfortable corner to park and blissfully watched the
variety of travellers and people as they flowed past. I'm not sure what's so compelling about people watching, but I find it quite enjoyable.

I was first onto the plane, and again spared the frustration of being randomly selected for an in-depth security screening. I settled into seat 2E and watched as the rest of the plane boarded. Once again, first class was quite empty. Only three of fourteen seats were occupied when we finally pushed back. I wish I'd taken the initiative to get the attractive blonde I saw upgraded as my gold companion. I wouldn't have minded a seatmate and conversation companion during the flight to PHX.

As soon as we were in the air, I fired up my laptop and queued up some MP3s with winamp. I dozed on and off during the flight enjoying the music and
relaxing to the dull buzz of the MD-80.

The cabin crew on the PHX segment were absolutely delightful. Attentive, courteous, and jovial. The flight was fun from takeoff until the smooth touchdown.

The Phoenix airport was deserted. Cleaning crew outnumbered travellers by about three to one. After I'd finally made my way to the gate, I was quite relieved to see the scrolling LED sign at the gate happily proclaiming "Upgrades Available". No worries for getting bumped up to first class. In fact, there were only two of us in the first class cabin for the flight.

I was seated in 1A, across from the cabin crew jump seat, so I spent much of the flight chatting with the two FAs across from me. They were both frustrated at new policies from America West that require them to read through a script/questionairre for all exit row passengers. They said that they were getting ppor reactions, especially the part where they have to ask if the passenger speaks and understands English.

I dozed again for this flight, but not as much. I spent much of the time just staring out the window at the illuminated terrain below. It was a peaceful flight with the cabin so empty and dark.

Touchdown 10 minutes early (on America West!) at Sacramento, a $28 cab ride, and here I am at the Hilton Garden Inn. My wake up call will pull me out of bed in six hours for the return trip tomorrow.
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Old 12-16-2001, 02:32 AM   #4
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The flight from IAH to PHX also boarded late. In my typical anxious way, I left the south president's club with an ample 25 minutes to spare before the 8:09 scheduled departure time of the PHX segment. I scurried down to gate C-31 only to find that boarding hadn't even begun for the flight. No worries, though, I found a comfortable corner to park and blissfully watched the
variety of travellers and people as they flowed past. I'm not sure what's so compelling about people watching, but I find it quite enjoyable.

I was first onto the plane, and again spared the frustration of being randomly selected for an in-depth security screening. I settled into seat 2E and watched as the rest of the plane boarded. Once again, first class was quite empty. Only three of fourteen seats were occupied when we finally pushed back. I wish I'd taken the initiative to get the attractive blonde I saw upgraded as my gold companion. I wouldn't have minded a seatmate and conversation companion during the flight to PHX.

As soon as we were in the air, I fired up my laptop and queued up some MP3s with winamp. I dozed on and off during the flight enjoying the music and
relaxing to the dull buzz of the MD-80.

The cabin crew on the PHX segment were absolutely delightful. Attentive, courteous, and jovial. The flight was fun from takeoff until the smooth touchdown.

The Phoenix airport was deserted. Cleaning crew outnumbered travellers by about three to one. After I'd finally made my way to the gate, I was quite relieved to see the scrolling LED sign at the gate happily proclaiming "Upgrades Available". No worries for getting bumped up to first class. In fact, there were only two of us in the first class cabin for the flight.

I was seated in 1A, across from the cabin crew jump seat, so I spent much of the flight chatting with the two FAs across from me. They were both frustrated at new policies from America West that require them to read through a script/questionairre for all exit row passengers. They said that they were getting ppor reactions, especially the part where they have to ask if the passenger speaks and understands English.

I dozed again for this flight, but not as much. I spent much of the time just staring out the window at the illuminated terrain below. It was a peaceful flight with the cabin so empty and dark.

Touchdown 10 minutes early (on America West!) at Sacramento, a $28 cab ride, and here I am at the Hilton Garden Inn. My wake up call will pull me out of bed in six hours for the return trip tomorrow.
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Old 12-17-2001, 05:39 PM   #5
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Not much to report from the return trip. I awoke early, not feeling particularly rested, and hopped a cab from the hotel back to the airport. It cost me $30 each way (~10 miles) which was more than I'd anticipated spending for ground transportation. For $60 I could have just rented a car, I bet, and gotten some exploring in on Saturday night.

I checked in about 1.5 hours before takeoff and managed to get an upgrade to first class for that first HP segment to PHX. First class was completely full, too, so I'm glad I got to the airport early. There was one event that was a bit unnerving. As I sat there in 1B waiting for pushback, the cockpit warning system called out to all who were within earshot for the pilot to "PULL UP! PULL UP!" All the pax who were onboard at the time exchanged nervous smiles.

The flight seemed quicker this time for some reason, and it was nice that it was light out and sunny as I got to see the terrain and Sacramento proper as we leveled off from takeoff. I chatted with my aisle-mate on his upcoming trip to MSY in January which would be his first visit to the city. I recommended breakfast at Brennan's, naturally.
We arrived roughly on-time at PHX and I spent my hour's layover wandering around and looking at stuff. The airport was much busier than it had been the night before. Bought a magazine, parked myself in a chair out among the weekender holiday travellers, and wished that PHX had a President's Club.

The flight to IAH felt long. I alternated between napping and reading (I finally managed to get into the swing of this Clancy novel and chewed through a solid 100 pages or so during the segment). A cold plate snack was served, pasta salad/chicken with two shrimp. It was a bit on the bland side, and the chicken just didn't work well cold, but I ate it all. In retrospect, I wish I'd grabbed a Pizza Hut personal pizza at PHX as I'd considered before boarding. One piece of interest, the cockpit door on the 737 had received the highly-touted "reinforcement" retrofitting, so I snapped a picture of it for the gallery.

Only ~40 minutes between flights at IAH, so I barely had time to talk the chase person out of a Continental baseball cap on my way to catch the flight to AUS. IAH seemed to be backed up from earlier weather delays, but my flight was unaffected. We were in the air within 10 minutes of the scheduled time and of course managed to land on time due to the extremely forgiving padding Continental bakes into their IAH<-->AUS flight schedules.

So, exactly 24 hours after leaving AUS I returned a bit wrinkled and unshven, but otherwise having enjoyed the brief mileage run. Total banked miles: 4,312, Total cost: $235 Airfare, $60 Taxi, $82 Hotel.
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Old 12-17-2001, 05:39 PM   #6
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Not much to report from the return trip. I awoke early, not feeling particularly rested, and hopped a cab from the hotel back to the airport. It cost me $30 each way (~10 miles) which was more than I'd anticipated spending for ground transportation. For $60 I could have just rented a car, I bet, and gotten some exploring in on Saturday night.

I checked in about 1.5 hours before takeoff and managed to get an upgrade to first class for that first HP segment to PHX. First class was completely full, too, so I'm glad I got to the airport early. There was one event that was a bit unnerving. As I sat there in 1B waiting for pushback, the cockpit warning system called out to all who were within earshot for the pilot to "PULL UP! PULL UP!" All the pax who were onboard at the time exchanged nervous smiles.

The flight seemed quicker this time for some reason, and it was nice that it was light out and sunny as I got to see the terrain and Sacramento proper as we leveled off from takeoff. I chatted with my aisle-mate on his upcoming trip to MSY in January which would be his first visit to the city. I recommended breakfast at Brennan's, naturally.
We arrived roughly on-time at PHX and I spent my hour's layover wandering around and looking at stuff. The airport was much busier than it had been the night before. Bought a magazine, parked myself in a chair out among the weekender holiday travellers, and wished that PHX had a President's Club.

The flight to IAH felt long. I alternated between napping and reading (I finally managed to get into the swing of this Clancy novel and chewed through a solid 100 pages or so during the segment). A cold plate snack was served, pasta salad/chicken with two shrimp. It was a bit on the bland side, and the chicken just didn't work well cold, but I ate it all. In retrospect, I wish I'd grabbed a Pizza Hut personal pizza at PHX as I'd considered before boarding. One piece of interest, the cockpit door on the 737 had received the highly-touted "reinforcement" retrofitting, so I snapped a picture of it for the gallery.

Only ~40 minutes between flights at IAH, so I barely had time to talk the chase person out of a Continental baseball cap on my way to catch the flight to AUS. IAH seemed to be backed up from earlier weather delays, but my flight was unaffected. We were in the air within 10 minutes of the scheduled time and of course managed to land on time due to the extremely forgiving padding Continental bakes into their IAH<-->AUS flight schedules.

So, exactly 24 hours after leaving AUS I returned a bit wrinkled and unshven, but otherwise having enjoyed the brief mileage run. Total banked miles: 4,312, Total cost: $235 Airfare, $60 Taxi, $82 Hotel.
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Old 12-18-2001, 12:03 AM   #7
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Pictures have been uploaded to the gallery (which is now available for use by ALL ITYT members):

A reinforced cockpit door, like you've read about

The airports I passed through
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Old 12-18-2001, 12:03 AM   #8
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Pictures have been uploaded to the gallery (which is now available for use by ALL ITYT members):

A reinforced cockpit door, like you've read about

The airports I passed through
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