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Old 03-08-2003, 11:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Seattle,WA (SEA) Terminal S, and CO B gates.
Posts: 238
CO, FLL-IAH-SEA half in F

Continental 1849 FLL-IAH
Sch. Departure: 12:00 pm
Act. Departure: 11:57
Sch. Arrival: 1:50 pm
Act. Arrival: 1:51 pm
Aircraft: 737-800
Departure Gate: C1
Arrival Gate: C-41
Seat: 5D (coach)

I awoke at 9:00 am, a bit early so I could have enough time to do some last minute things. I took a shower, got dressed, walked the dog, and before I knew it, it was time to go to the airport. I had already checked in online, and was not cleared for the upgrade from FLL-IAH, but received it from IAH-SEA. I figured I would ask at the gate. We left the house around 10:45 and we were inside by 11:00. I said my goodbyes to my dad and sister. A lot of cruise line passengers were returning from the ships, and FLL was packed. The line for security was so long. Luckily, I had my gold card, which gave me access to the express security line. I just flashed the card and by passed the whole line. Security was very easy, and I didn’t beep. I arrived at gate C-1 where my 737-800 awaited.

I approached the podium to check on my upgrade. “First class is checked in full, we’ll let you know if someone doesn’t board.” I sort of expected that, since I had been watching the seat map for a few weeks and saw that it was full about 3 weeks before departure. Must be the cruise lines. Oh well, at least I had a bulkhead aisle. Boarding began promptly at 11:25 am. I boarded shortly after first class was called with the elite boarding call. This secured me a place in the overhead bin for my carry on suitcase. My gold card had saved me twice today. Boarding was smooth, and the flight was nearly full. A few seats were left open. We pushed back and taxied out for departure. We taxied out for departure and the captain came on, “We are number 8 or 9 for take-off, so it should be another 10-15 minutes, we appreciate your patience.” We waited, and it was finally out turn, right after a Continental 737-300 for EWR. The engines roared down the runway, and we lifted off.

We leveled off at 31,000 feet and the in-flight service was started. I noticed that headsets were $5. I thought they were normally $2. Since when did Continental change this? I guess my good luck was still with me, because I found a pair of head sets in the seat back pocket, perfect. That saved me $5. The meal choices in coach were a turkey sandwich or a turkey sandwich. I had the turkey sandwich. It was quite small, but I don’t expect much for a 2-hour flight. It came in a little container with, a bag of carrots, and an almond delight, enough to hold me over for my next flight in first. I also ordered a coke, and was not given the whole can. It was ok, a typical coach meal. First class was served a bacon and Swiss cheeseburger.

I watched Continental visions, but it was the same one as my flight a week ago from IAH-FLL, so I was bored with it. I tried to get some sleep. I was very pleased with my selection of 5D. Legroom in the bulkhead was more than enough, and I could stick my feet into the first class aisle way. The seat was a little cramp though, because the armrests do not lift.

The staff was so so. Some of them were just plain rude, and others were mediocre. Staff was a 6 out of 10. We started our descent into IAH and touched down at about 1:47 pm. The taxi to the gate was short and we arrived at 1:51 pm. I had to hurry, because my flight to SEA had already begun boarding at 1:50 pm.

Continental 656 IAH-SEA
Sch. Departure: 2:35 pm
Act. Departure: 2:47 pm
Sch. Arrival: 5:16 pm
Act. Arrival: 5:28 pm
Aircraft: 757-200 (BusinessFirst configuration)
Departure gate: C-44
Arrival gate: B-11
Seat: 1B (first)

My run over to C-44 took me only 2 minutes and I arrived at the gate at 1:53 pm. They had already begun boarding rows 27-34, so I just joined in the line. I walked down the jet way and to my seat. I stowed my bag in the overhead bin and sat down. I was not offered a drink right away because the F/A was serving others before me. She eventually took my pre-departure drink order, which was a coke. I was so thirsty, and she immediately offered me seconds, which I accepted. Great service! The seat next to me was not occupied, until a few moments after the last rows were called. As the woman took her seat, I saw an I.D. card in her hand that identified her as an employee for Continental. The F/A came around to lunch orders. It was either, soup and salad, or soup and sandwich. She described the sandwich as having sautéed vegetables in it. It sounded appetizing, and I had heard horror stories about the salad from my dad, so I went with the sandwich and a coke.

Well, as I waited for push back, I noticed a mechanic in the cockpit with the pilots. It looked like there was a mechanical problem. I watched for a few minutes, and it appeared that they couldn’t fix it. Three more mechanics showed up. The captain came on the P.A., and told us that they would be shutting down the airplane and restarting it. He did not tell us specifically what the problem was. They shut down the airplane for about 30 seconds, and it was so quite without all the background noise of the air conditioning and engines.

They announced that they had fixed it and we would be pushing. YAY! Take-off was uneventful and this time we didn’t have to wait to depart. I don’t know our cruising altitude, because the pilot was not very informative. The In-flight service started, and hot towels were handed out, followed by the appetizer , which was a bowl of warm cashews. These cashews were not as salty as they usually are. After I was finished, the sandwich was served. No linens handed out.

Staff on this flight was about average, probably an 8 out of 10. They were attentive, but not very friendly. I have also seen a slight decrease in the staff on CO. Anyone else think so?

The sandwich was served on one tray with a pickle, coleslaw, a small cup of some sauce, and a pecan delight. I guess when you sit in first class they upgrade your dessert from an almond delight, to a pecan delight. When the F/A put the tray on my table, I asked if they would be showing movies on the PTV, she said no. That surprised me because on the way down, SEA-IAH, they did. They also had a section in the PTV magazine from Houston-West coast. The movie was, The Truth About Charlie. It was ok, but to confusing.

I have really noticed a reduction in meal sizes, and portions. The soup was Italian wedding with meatballs and pasta. The sandwich was served on a sourdough hoagie with sautéed carrots, and zucchini. I started with the soup, which is good, but I like the old lobster bisque soup that they use to have, better. The sandwich was very tasty, especially with the sauce. I noticed that they were not serving dinner rolls to people with sandwiches, but were to people with salads. I guess another cutback. I then finished it off with the pecan delight. The meal is always tasty on Continental, but the portions are really small. I understand it’s not a restaurant, but compared to NW’s meals on the MSP/DTW routes, I would say that NW has bigger and better food, including ice cream sundaes and appetizers such as, shrimp cocktail, and tender beef, something CO doesn’t offer. If only NW showed movies… The meal was a 7 out of 10.

My tray was cleared away and I was offered more drinks. I chose a cup of tea, as I watched the movie. After getting sick of the movie, I put the footrest up, and reclined the seat all the way. I love the BF seats. I slept for about an hour, and awoke to the cookie service. I accepted a cookie with a glass of milk. The cookies were chocolate chip. We were not, however, offered seconds. Shortly after, it was time to descend. We touched down a few minutes late (I guess cause of the mechanical error) and taxied to B-11.

Overall, a 7 out of 10. I enjoy Continental, but I have really seen a lot of cutbacks.
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