Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All about Airlines: Part II - Hell Freezes Over: I can't complain (much) about Continental Airlines!

I haven't flown Continental in many years, and even then it was one of those "must I??" situations. However, they provide direct flights from SFO to Cleveland and on a recent trip to Columbus, this was much better than flying American with a 3-hour layover in Dallas. Even driving from Cleveland to C-bus, our travel time was shorter.

Check-in online was straight forward. No upgrades were available and the flight was packed, but overall no real issues. Baggage drop-off in SFO was fast (as in hardly any line - yeah!) but here comes my one major complaint: $18-20 a bag. No free checked bags. It seems it is $18 online if you pay before you get to the airport, $20 at the airport. This of course leads to all those people trying to stuff their wheelies into the overhead bins on the airplane so be warned - you'd better be able to get your stuff under the seat in front of you, be part of the elite first boarding groups or able to take down other people who are trying to steal your overhead space.

Flight attendants were pleasant and the staff we encountered were overall NOT surly. Shocking, isn't it? The planes were pretty clean (unlike SOME airlines - I'm talking about you United!) and one of our planes had DirectTV at each seat. Seats are average - nothing special there.

Here is the kicker: food. On our 4-5 hour flights, we were given real food. For free. I'm not making this stuff up, I swear. Breakfast was cereal and raisins and a muffin, lunch was a turkey hotdog in a croissant (gobble-gobble in a blanket?) with some salad and a Kit-Kat (which I ate first). I know this sounds lame, but I forgot food and was starving and that turkey hotdog was totally awesome at that moment.

Congrats to Continental Airlines for exceeding my (low) expectations for an airline!!

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