Continental Airlines is no stranger to providing quality tours to the FlyerTalk crowd, and the Star MegaDo was no exception. By the time we got to Newark our crowd was about 100 strong. There were three different tours offered, ranging from the maintenance hangar (a 757-300 was having an engine swapped out) to the Operations tower to the catering facility at Chelsea Kitchens.
I got to go on the Chelsea Kitchens tour (a good thing, since I’ve done the other two already) and it was truly amazing. The operations is as much large-scale manufacturing – thousands of pounds of ice every day and millions of dollars of inventory moving through monthly – as it is a kitchen, but that isn’t to say that they don’t run it as a real kitchen. The operations run 24/7 every day, cooking, baking and packaging up meals for hundreds of flights per day.
Leon is one of the shift managers in the kitchens and he was kind enough to walk us through the operation, showing us everything from packaging of ice cream sundaes to the baking of thousands of fresh breakfast muffins daily. And, in case you’re curious, they do bake the rolls for the turkey puck in house every day.
Then it was off to JFK for some partying in the lounge and the not-so-long flight over to Frankfurt.
First flight of the Star Mega Do is now done and it was phenomenal. United was nice enough to up-gage the scheduled CRJ-700 to an Airbus A320 so there was plenty of room for our crowd, with a lot of empty middle seats to make everyone rather comfortable. Plus, free snack boxes for everyone on board so that we were all able to have some lunch in the middle of a ridiculously busy day.
Captain Bob Hart, who stopped by earlier in the day to hang out at the RCC with us and chat did a great job keeping the cabin informed on the couple small delays we had and also had some fun with contests and other bits of information shared over Channel 9. Among other things, we learned that the plane used 4900 of the planned 8300 pounds of fuel during the first half of the flight. I was nowhere close in my guess.
And then the seatbelt sign was off and I wandered the aisle of the plane, documenting in great detail some of the many FlyerTalk folks on the flight. Here are the pictures to prove it:
At one point in the flight I was called upon to perform some Flight Attendant-ish duties. Woohooo!
Randy Petersen, enjoying a bit of reading and some quality leg room in the exit row.
And then there was the collection of luggage and the march over to Terminal C to meet up with the Continental folks for the afternoon tours. Randy even pitched in on the luggage schlep. What a guy.
We’re now boarding the 747-400 (D-ABVR, Koln) for the flight from JFK to Frankfurt. More posts to come once we land!
Checkin for the Newark events has begun, with our own CO Insider and his trust sidekick Shannon registering participants. The group is still gathering. We’ll be touring visiting the operations tower, the maintenance facility, and Chelsea kitchens…
|GoJet CRJ-700 N153GJ Operating as United Express, my ride to Chicago, with a Continental 737 in the background|
Yeah, I’m excited to be flying on the CRJ-700 this afternoon from Newark to Chicago as the first of many flights in my StarMegaDo experience. No, I didn’t get upgraded into ExPlus. I didn’t even make it into the Economy Plus section. No Channel 9 to listen to the air traffic controllers along the way. Heck, there is barely even a window at this row. There really is very little about this that should really make me particularly happy.
And yet, here I am, happily ensconced in seat 15C and really quite pleased.
Due to work commitments I originally had to book the 7pm departure from Newark this evening. Fortunately, however, I was able to adjust that schedule and get to the airport around 1pm, plenty early for the 2:36pm flight to Chicago. I was flying standby at that point and it turns out that there was a small chance that I wouldn’t make the flight – there were more folks who wanted to go standby than seats available. But as they started boarding I heard my name called and I was handed my new boarding pass. Not much could have made me happier.
Even better, the flight departed on time and is expected to arrive early into Chicago this afternoon. That means plenty of time for me to hang out before heading out to meet the rest of the pre-party crowd for dinner.
So, yes, I’m happy to be on the CRJ-700. I never really thought I’d write that.